‘We may be all scrubbed up and lookin’ pretty for impeachment, but this is not an impeachment…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The opening of a new, hastily organized impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee drew sharp contrasts with the polished and well-rehearsed evidence-gathering led by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in the House Intelligence Committee.
Schiff’s public hearings followed weeks of pre-screening witnesses and were staged to help Democrats sell their predetermined case for impeachment to the public, based on the prior testimony collected in secretive, closed-door sessions.
Coming only two days after Congress returned from its Thanksgiving break, Wednesday’s Judiciary hearing, led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, struck a less formal—but no less contentious—tone.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking GOP minority member, said Nadler had put forth no plan for the hearings, which were being held in a new conference room in the Longworth Office Building.
The room, which normally houses the Ways and Means Committee, is also where Schiff held his hearings, Politico reported in a story relaying Nadler’s private preparations.
“This may be a new time, a new place, and we may be all scrubbed up and lookin’ pretty for impeachment, but this is not an impeachment,” he said. “This is just a simple railroad job.”
Collins said Nadler had refused to communicate with him during the break and had only notified committee members on Monday about the panel of law-school professors set to present their opinions.
“We didn’t even find your names out until less than 48 hours ago,” Collins told the panel during his opening statement.
“I don’t know what we’re playing hide the ball on,” he continued. “It’s pretty easy [to guess] what you’re gonna say.”
Collins also said he understood why President Donald Trump declined the offer to send legal representation to the “sham” hearings, which had no fact witnesses scheduled and presented no opportunities for cross-examination.
“No offense to the law professors—the president has nothing to ask you,” Collins said. “You’re not going to provide anything he can’t read.”
The freewheeling Southern congressman’s off-the-cuff colloquialisms were met in equal measure by Nadler’s clear discomfort and uncertainty with parliamentary rules of order while presiding over the hearings.
He appeared peeved as Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., requested clarity on how the proceedings would be conducted and Collins filed a motion to compel Schiff to testify, which Democrats promptly tabled.
Biggs told Fox News that he expected the proceedings to be “feisty.”
Nadler has focused considerable resources on issuing subopoenas to probe Trump’s finances and other possible avenues for impeachment since taking the committee gavel in January.
He boldly declared that impeachment was already underway only a day after Trump’s controversial July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president.
However, he was largely sidelined during the investigatory phase, amid rampant speculation that his botched efforts had put him out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s good graces.
Collins mocked the singular ambition of Nadler and his fellow party members in their relentless pursuit of a vendetta against Trump.
“The chairman has talked about impeachment since last year when he was elected chairman,” Collins said.
He also used Nadler’s own words criticizing similar procedures during the 1998 impeachment of former President Bill Clinton to point out the Democrats’ hypocrisy.
“I guess 20 years makes a difference,” Collins said.
But unlike the Clinton hearings and the Nixon hearings of the 1970s, Collins said the current effort was unique in that it lacked both concrete evidence and bipartisan consensus to support the charges.
“This impeachment is not really about facts… but they’re already drafting articles. Don’t be fooled,” Collins said.
“If you wanna know what’s really driving this, there’s two things,” he said. “It’s called the clock and the calendar. … They want to do it before the end of the year.”