Following a unipartisan House vote to approve a resolution “formalizing” the procedures of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, House Republicans held a blistering press conference Thursday afternoon where they detailed the manipulation, dishonesty, and selfishness that continue to drive Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Cal.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Cal.) grand “impeachment inquiry.” The Democrats lost the 2016 presidential election, and as evidenced by their rather pompous vote yesterday, they have not yet recovered.
The House GOP responded with the sort of righteous indignation that would be expected from a party that has witnessed two charade-like investigations unfold in three years — one based on a laughably far-fetched “dossier,” the other premised upon an event that never took place, as is clear from publicly released transcripts.
Despite the circumstances, it was arguably one of the House GOP’s finer moments, as it forcefully articulated the extent to which the impeachment inquiry resembles a corrupt circus. As various GOP members reiterated, the House vote on Thursday was another congressional Democrat attempt to undo the results of an election whose winner they have detested since November 9, 2016. Below are the key takeaways from a bright spot in an otherwise political hellscape.
1. The Only Bipartisan Vote Was the Vote Against the Impeachment Inquiry
As House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reiterated at the opening of the press conference, “The only bi-partisan vote on that floor was against.” Indeed, the breakdown of the vote indicated that both Democrats and Republicans voted against the resolution, while not one Republican voted in favor.
McCarthy quoted Pelosi’s past statements on impeachment, which included the sentiments that impeachment was horribly divisive for a country and should be performed along bipartisan lines, not as a political cudgel. As Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., of the House Foreign Affairs Committee sarcastically quipped, “In a way, you could say congratulations to Nancy Pelosi. She wanted a bipartisan vote on her impeachment inquiry resolution. She got it.”
2. From Its Start, the ‘Inquiry’ Has Been Fundamentally Unjust
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House whip, labeled the entire endeavor a “Soviet-style impeachment” process, and he’s not far off. In past impeachment processes, whether Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon was at the center, the most basic elements were far more transparent and allowed more fairness to both sides. As Scalise dutifully explained, “Both sides were treated equally. Both sides could call witnesses. President’s legal counsel was in the room, not at the discretion of the chair, but because it’s fair.”
As Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wis., chairwoman of the House Republican Caucus, noted, Pelosi and Schiff have run an objectively unfair operation and have been doing so long before this vote, only now Pelosi’s resolution is an attempt to “codify” those very unjust maneuvers. But, as Cheney noted, “This is a process that has been fundamentally tainted.”
She explained, “The Democrats cannot fix this process. They’ve now created a record over the course of the last several weeks with witnesses they selected.” Cheney continued. “We know that there were circumstances where Chairman Schiff told witnesses not to answer questions that our members were asking. We know there have been circumstances where our members have attempted to go read transcripts, and they’ve been told by staff members that they’re not allowed to go read those transcripts.”
As Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, elaborated, “For 38 days, we’ve witnessed a one-sided investigation in the most secret room in the United States Capitol, without an opportunity to call witnesses on our side, without White House Counsel present.” He announced emphatically, “This defies historic precedent.”
Zeldin later weighed in on the egregious lack of transparency. “Isn’t it kind of curious that you don’t know what’s going on today with Tim Morrison in his deposition? Why is it that you don’t have the information, the opening statements?” Zeldin then called for a full release of the transcripts from the closed-door hearings. “On behalf of our constituents, on behalf of the American public, for everyone who’s pissed about being misled by Adam Schiff and his cohorts hiding in the bunker of the capitol basement, release the darn transcripts.”
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, emphasized the importance of adhering to an honest process when investigating substantive allegations and dismissed Democrats’ allegations that the GOP is hyper-focused on procedural matters. “Process leads to substance. When you screw up the process, then you’re looking for an answer you’ve already determined.”
3. House Democrats’ Witch Hunt Is Harming U.S. National Security
Given the manpower needed to carry out the “impeachment inquiry,” all resources stemming from the House Intelligence Committee — or, in Cheney’s words, from “the single most important committee…when it comes to the national security of the nation” — will need to be redirected to investigating the July 25 phone call, for which we already have a transcript in which no quid pro quo is to be found.
As Cheney explained, “We’re at a moment where the nation faces grave, significant, ongoing threats. And [Pelosi] has completely neutered the intelligence committee. She has said they must be focused on a partisan impeachment process and not their oversight obligations.” From this standpoint, the Democrats’ performative theatrics could possibly have heavy and unforeseen consequences within the national security realm.
4. House Democrats Are Blocking Other Urgent National Business
Scalise and Cheney pointed to the fact that House Democrats are opting to spend precious resources on taking down Trump instead of on pursuing pressing agenda items, all supposedly due to a tip from an anonymous, allegedly Democratic National Committee-connected whistleblower with no firsthand knowledge of the alleged incident. As Scalise noted, “We should be tackling real problems. We could have lower prescription drug prices today, but Pelosi won’t bring those to the floor because she’s infatuated with impeachment.”
Scalise also cited funding for troops, job creation, and trade relations with our North American partners as issues getting tabled so that House Democrats can satisfy their thirst for impeachment, which arguably began in November 2016. “There is long list of things that the American people deserve to have done that are simply not being addressed because of the Democrats’ obsession with impeachment,” Cheney later noted.
5. The Media Has Botched Its Reporting on the ‘Inquiry’
Much of the genuine lopsidedness of the impeachment inquiry process would be difficult to find in reporting from mainstream outlets. This dishonesty likely stems from the fact that, in much the same way reporters staked their careers on Russian collusion being a reality, they too have begun to bet their reputations on the existence of a quid pro quo between President Trump and the Ukrainian president (despite no such evidence in the phone call’s transcript).
Zeldin held no punches in making this astute observation to his audience of mostly media members. “Many of you are reporting zero percent of the story. There was one story that came out yesterday in POLITICO that was filled with falsehoods. Just somebody lied to you.” He continued. “I watched CNN last night, and I saw a host – one allegation after another – just say stuff that was not true.”
6. A Sham Impeachment Will Damage the Country Long-Term
Stunningly apparent was sincere concern about the impact such farcical proceedings could have on the political dynamics of the country, which are already polarized to an unforeseen extent. As McCarthy expressed solemnly, “End the sham that has been putting this country through a nightmare.” Zeldin echoed similar sentiments, singling out “the eagerness, the happiness that Democrats have and their enriched liberal activist base at home has to rip the country in half.”
Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, offered a more hopeful take, speaking of a unified American people with the capacity to see through House Democrats’ dishonest operation. “The American people see this for what it is because the American people are fair people. They are just people.” He continued. “They are people with common sense, and they will not tolerate this.”
In short, the House GOP delivered a much-needed, sharp rebuke of the increasingly partisan and opaque impeachment probe that has seized House Democrats. House GOP members also underscored that codifying past dishonest practices does not suddenly legitimize them or make them palatable. There are serious ethical issues with the impeachment inquiry that has become Democrats’ cause celebre. Indeed, there are few things more disappointing than watching the norms of our republic be sacrificed upon the altar of the Resistance.