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GOP calls for minority hearing on impeachment, threatens procedural measures

Top Republicans in the House are vowing to use every procedural tool available to them to strong-arm Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee and get them to hold a minority hearing on impeachment. 

In a letter led by House dom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, the conservative members noted Republicans had previously requested a minority hearing be held before articles of impeachment were introduced. The group argued that while Democrats did not comply with their requested timeline, under current rules they are entitled to a hearing.  

“During the open hearing on December 4, 2019, Congressman [Jim] Sensenbrenner [R-Wis.], on behalf of all of the Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee, presented you with a request for a minority hearing in compliance with Clause 2(1)(1) of Rule XI. To date, you have ignored the request and failed to respond to repeated questioning on the matter,” they wrote. 

The lawmakers went on to allege the Democrats’ probe has been conducted at an “unprecedented speed,” adding that while they do not control the panel’s schedule, they feel the minority hearing should be held before the articles are voted on in the committee in coming days. 

“The House rules do not afford you the ability to deny this request. Though scheduling is left to your discretion, when considering the unprecedented speed at which the majority is moving towards impeaching a duly elected president, a delay under these circumstances is tantamount to a denial of our right to a minority hearing,” they continued. 

“Until our procedural rights as Members of the United States House of Representatives are respected, we will avail ourselves of every parliamentary tool available to us in committees and the House floor in order to highlight your inaction,” it reads.  

In addition to Biggs, 71 GOP lawmakers including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo,) signed onto the letter. 

Republicans have been highly critical of the impeachment process since it kicked off early this fall, calling it a “sham” and a process that has been shrouded in secrecy. Democrats have adamantly defended it, arguing they have pursued a thorough and fair probe into potential corruption. 

“The Democrats haven’t thrown out the rule book, they lit it on fire, and, you know, danced around it. There is no mechanism for us to be able to put on our case given Adam Schiff‘s veto of our witnesses and Jerry Nadler‘s rejection of our entitled evidentiary hearing,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told The Hill.  “This would be like a criminal trial where the prosecution put on their case, and the defense wasn’t allowed to admit evidence, unless the prosecution agreed to it.”

The House Judiciary Committee could hold a markup on the two articles of impeachment unveiled on Tuesday as soon as Wednesday evening, with some projecting a floor vote before Christmas.  

Nadler declined to comment on whether the minority hearing will take place. 

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