The Republican National Committee (RNC) said Thursday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wanted a “Soviet-style show trial,” ahead of a House of Representatives vote on rules for an “impeachment inquiry.”
The RNC’s protest came the day after Democrats on the House Rules Committee rejected every one of 17 amendments offered by Republicans, even on minor points such as allowing members of the House Intelligence Committee to yield their speaking time to one another rather than to professional, unelected committee staff.
Democrats continue to claim that they do not need to vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, but Pelosi backed down after the spectacle of holding secret hearings in the House Intelligence Committee became too embarrassing.
However, the proposed rules continue to allow closed-door meetings. In addition, they depart significantly from the precedents established in previous presidential impeachment inquiries. Rather than being conducted in the House Judiciary Committee, the investigation will primarily be handled by the Intelligence Committee under Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and several other committees will turn prior oversight investigations into impeachment inquiries. In past inquiries, the White House was represented by counsel during the investigations; in this case, it will only be represented at the Judiciary Committee, once evidence has already been presented in the other committees in the absence of counsel. And whereas the minority party has been able to challenge witnesses called by the majority in the past, the majority holds sole veto power in the Intelligence Committee under the rules proposed by Democrats.
These and other flaws have united Republicans in opposition to the proposed impeachment inquiry resolution, in both Housees of Congress. RNC spokesperson Liz Harrington wrote in an op-ed at Fox News on Thursday:
“Democrats, Pelosi said, are voting to affirm ‘the ongoing, existing investigation.’ In other words, the idea is to give a stamp of approval to Schiff’s Commissariat for Justice, which has been marked by no transparency and no due process, where elected Republican House members must be chaperoned by unelected Democratic staff members if they want to look at the evidence.
“Who will be running the show (trial)? Bucking precedent, the reins will remain in Adam Schiff’s hands. The same Adam Schiff who lied about evidence of Trump-Russia collusion for more than two years, lied about what President Trump said on the phone call with the president of Ukraine, and lied about his committee meeting with the ‘whistleblower.’
This resolution proves Democrats are making up the rules as they go along. First step: manufacture a scandal, collude with a registered Democrat in the CIA, and leak to allies in the media to whip up hysteria around a phone call.
Democrats are making a mockery of the Constitution. An endeavor as monumental as overturning the will of the American people deserves deference to longstanding rules and procedures.
Democrats have justified the weak protections for the president in the impeachment inquiry by likening it to a grand jury investigation, where the defense has few rights. However, Republicans have pointed out that a grand jury is a secret proceeding, while the Democrats have leaked information selectively to the media throughout the inquiry. And a grand jury’s procedures are not controlled by those members of the tribunal with a stake in the outcome.