The U.S. House plans to hold its first public impeachment hearings next week in an investigation of President Donald Trump. Three U.S. diplomats who expressed alarm about Trump’s conversation with Ukraine will serve as star witnesses in next week’s hearings.
West-central Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler says the impeachment process has been secretive.
“I didn’t think that there’s enough evidence to warrant an impeachment process to begin with but that the process was really a sham that has been going on,” she says.
Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, says most Republicans have been left out of the process.
“We have been denied, as members of Congress, the ability to even see the transcripts,” says Hartzler. “The president hasn’t been provided due process of having the ability to be there or his counsel to be there to cross-examine witnesses, to subpoena and call new witnesses.”
Democrats maintain they have adopted the same procedures that were used during the impeachment inquiries of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
East-central Missouri Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, and other GOP leaders call it a Soviet-style process.
“This process that they approved is nothing more than verifying the process that they’ve done so far, which is to prohibit the president from being able to defend himself and have access to due process, which is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and guaranteed under previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings,” Luetkemeyer tells Missourinet affiliate KWIX in Moberly.
In Judiciary Committee, Trump’s lawyers will get evidence and staff reports and can question witnesses, submit evidence and give a presentation. But the committee chairman can limit the president calling or questioning witnesses if the White House does not release documents or allow witnesses to testify.
Luetkemeyer says the President has done nothing that would justify impeachment.
“I don’t believe, but if you would believe that there was a quid pro quo, there is in law, a 2014 law with subsequent directives from the National Defense Authorization Act to request and require the president to withhold or leverage foreign aid with regards to trying to stop corruption in the Ukraine. If you believe that he did this as a quid pro quo, he’s actually doing his job,” says Luetkemeyer.
Critics say Trump dangled $400 million in security aid over the head of Ukraine’s president in an attempt to help Trump win re-election next year. They say Trump abused his presidential powers by pressuring Volodymyr Zelensky into digging up dirt on likely Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden.
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