What are they hiding? Top Republicans demand secret Dem impeachment docs

· October 18, 2019  
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Collins speaks at judiciary hearing
Alex Wong | Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee’s top Republican member is demanding that top Democrats allow him see investigation information that has been kept secret from other members of Congress and the American people.

In a trio of Friday afternoon letters to the Democratic chairs of the three committees conducting the House’s impeachment investigation — Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs — House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collings, R-Ga., said that he intends to use a House rule to get access to impeachment materials that have thus far only been made available to members of those panels.

“I write to inform you of my intent to exercise my right under House Rule XI, Clause 2(e)(2)(A) to review documents and records in possession of [your committee] so that you may prepare accordingly,” the letters explain. “Please make available all records, documents, transcripts, and other materials related to or obtained in the course of the ongoing joint investigation between the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Committee on Oversight and Reform.”

According to the House rule Collins cites, “all committee records … shall be the property of the House, and each Member, Delegate, and the Resident Commissioner shall have access thereto.”

The secrecy of the three committees’ investigation has drawn an immense amount of criticism from GOP lawmakers this week.

On Monday, Judiciary Committee member Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., was kicked out of an impeachment deposition because he wasn’t a member of one of the three panels doing the investigation.

“To exclude Members of Congress from hearings confirms the American people’s suspicions: This is not a legitimate ‘impeachment inquiry’ — it is a charade,” Gaetz told Blaze Media in a statement. “Blocking Members of Congress from attending ‘impeachment’ hearings is not only unfair, it runs counter to our Democracy. The perpetrators of this impeachment hoax must be held accountable — both by the Congress, and by the American people.”

On Wednesday, Judiciary Committee member Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said on the House Floor that he tried to get access to investigation materials but was also turned away.

“Who gave that order?” Gohmert asked. “Because until a vote is held on the rules … [impeachment] goes through the Judiciary Committee.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has defended the secretive nature of the investigation, saying that congressional investigators are acting similarly to a grand jury.

In an effort to force transparency to the impeachment proceedings, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and House Rules Committee Ranking Member Tom Cole, R-Okla., introduced legislation Friday afternoon that would allow all members of Congress to view investigation materials, regardless of their committee assignments.

“Chairman Schiff wants to impeach President Trump behind closed doors and clearly has no intention of conducting a fair and open process,” Scalise said in a statement announcing the resolution. “We demand transparency. For the sake of our republic, Members of Congress must have access to proceedings with such monumental and dangerous consequences.”


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.