“My colleagues are mocking the most severe remedy envisioned in our Constitution . . .

“The ambiguity — the confusion — is a product of my colleagues’ own making because there is an easy way to know exactly whether this committee is in impeachment proceedings: It’s called a vote — a vote of the full House of Representatives.”

WASHINGTON — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, made the following opening statement at today’s markup of a committee rules resolution.

Below are the remarks as prepared.

Ranking Member Collins: Mr. Chairman, what exactly is it that we are doing here? That might sound like a stupid question, but I’m obviously not the only one who’s confused.

Everyone was told that these were supposed to be procedures for conducting an impeachment proceeding, but what I’m looking at is three-and-a-half pages of fluff followed by two paragraphs restating this committee’s existing rules and two garden variety motions.

That makes sense, though, because we aren’t in impeachment proceedings — or, am I wrong? Did I miss a vote or something?

Certainly, whether or not we have begun impeachment proceedings is something that must be obvious. Certainly, that could not possibly be open to interpretation.

The chairman told us a month ago that, quote, “This is formal impeachment proceedings” — but when did those start?

The majority leader said yesterday that we are not in impeachment proceedings. So, which is it? It appears he missed the memo, too.

The ambiguity — the confusion — is a product of my colleagues’ own making because there is an easy way to know exactly whether this committee is in impeachment proceedings: It’s called a vote — a vote of the full House of Representatives.

How did we know that the committee was conducting impeachment proceedings against Nixon? The House voted to authorize it.

How did we know that the committee was conducting impeachment proceedings against Clinton? The House voted to authorize it.

Then why the difference between what this committee did then and what we see now? Well, my colleagues know very well they don’t have the votes to authorize impeachment proceedings on the House floor, but they want to impeach the president anyway. So, they are pretending to initiate impeachment.

These rules that we have in front of us, they aren’t even close to the rules that were adopted during the Nixon impeachment or the rules that were adopted during the Clinton impeachment.

The rules from back then were adopted to ensure fairness, out of a desire to do things right and out of an understanding of the gravity of telling the American people that Congress planned to nullify a national election. The rules we’re discussing today are a press release — repackaged jargon to appear as if this committee is doing something weighty.

My colleagues are mocking the most severe remedy envisioned in our Constitution because they will stop at nothing to ensure the American people hear only non-stop, day-after-day, baseless accusations against the president.

This is normally the point at which I’d urge my colleagues to vote no, but, honestly, vote no, vote yes or don’t vote at all. When we operate by decree, votes simply don’t matter.

It would appear as though we have a new “supreme insult to the American people.” If you don’t know what I’m referencing here, look it up.