Whether or not the impeachment inquiry ends up devouring the Trump presidency, it is already consuming all of Washington’s attention. Even as Democrats ramp up their impeachment efforts by lining up a parade of officials to testify before Congress, Republican Party leaders are pushing back in defense of President Donald Trump. So far, the party has remained largely united behind Trump but some interesting fault-lines are beginning to emerge.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released a statement requesting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to end the impeachment inquiry she launched last week until “transparent and equitable rules and procedures are established to govern the inquiry, as is customary.”
For instance, there was a kerfuffle this week over jurisdictional power within the Congress. The House Intelligence Committee, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), has taken the lead on the impeachment inquiry, interviewing former Ambassador Kurt Volker yesterday and planning interviews with State Department officials in the next two weeks. Traditionally impeachment has been led by the House Judiciary Committee and matters of State and foreign policy fall under the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I was alarmed to learn—less than 24 hours before the first interview is scheduled to start—that it will be led by the Intelligence Committee and that questioning will be done solely by their staff,” complained Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Furthermore, during Volker’s behind-closed-doors interview yesterday, only one staffer from the Foreign Affairs Committee was allowed to attend, while the Democratic-majority was allowed to send two.
“[T]he swiftness and recklessness with which you [Speaker Pelosi] proceeded has already resulted in committee chairs attempting to limit minority participation in scheduled interviews, calling into question the integrity of such an inquiry,” McCarthy declared in his statement.