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Congressman Adrian Smith

Representing the 3rd District of Nebraska

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The Secret Impeachment Process

November 1, 2019
Column

One of our most serious and solemn duties as citizens of the United States is electing a President. Overturning an election by removing a duly elected President from office should be equally solemn and serious. Yet, we have seen repeated attempts to impeach President Trump thrown around since before he even took office.

Before President Trump stepped foot in the Oval Office, five Democratic Senators had already introduced a bill threatening impeachment if he did not divert his assets and use a blind trust – which he had already promised and did so when assuming office.

Not yet four months into President Trump’s term, the first Member of Congress, Rep. Al Green (D-TX) called for the President’s impeachment on the House floor. In July 2017, the first articles of impeachment were introduced. Since then, more and more Democrats have called for his impeachment. In fact, 138 of them publicly supported impeachment before the call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In May 2017, the Democrats demanded a special council to oversee a federal investigation to find evidence of President Trump involvement with Russia in the 2016 election. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named as Special Counsel, and had the authority to prosecute any crimes uncovered during his investigation and was given wide authority to investigate any Russian election interference. Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff publicly stated Special Council Mueller had found the evidence they were looking for. After two years and $32 million, Special Council Mueller submitted his report with no evidence of any such collusion.

In September, when Speaker Pelosi announced she would pursue an impeachment inquiry, she took steps to close the process as much as possible. For such drastic action as removing a sitting President, one would hope the process would be as transparent as possible. After the Trump-Zelensky call, Chairman Schiff attempted to mislead the American people by providing a fabricated account of the President’s conversation. I cosponsored a resolution to censure him for lying in committee, which was defeated by Democrats on a party-line vote. Behind closed doors, Chairman Schiff has conducted secret hearings, barring 75 percent of Members of Congress from attending. To make things worse, Chairman Schiff has been selectively leaking testimony to fit his narrative.

After over a month of refusing to have a House vote on rules for the impeachment inquiry, Speaker Pelosi finally set up a formal vote, but her resolution falls short of past House precedent. According to the resolution, the Republican minority is constrained for time in questioning witnesses and does not have the right to call witnesses to testify. In an attempt to cement Schiff’s narrative, the White House is not allowed to participate until after two rounds of hearings. The Democrat majority passed this flawed resolution on a party line vote. I voted against it and am severely disappointed in Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff.

Our system of government guarantees due process, but Speaker Pelosi has already made her verdict. Many people disagreed strongly with President Obama, though this was never reason enough to overturn his election. Attempting to remove a President without regard for fairness or due process sets a terrible precedent for the future of our country.

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