“The rules have been completely cast aside: Minority hearing day rule? Broken. Access to committee records rule? Broken. Due process for rights of the accused in impeachment? Completely out the window. Rules of decorum in debate? Speaker Pelosi broke that one herself earlier this summer.”
“The most severe constitutional remedy in existence has been weaponized as just another way to attack the president of the party that isn’t yours. To attack this president, Democrats are willing to tear down every inch of this and every other institution necessary.”
WASHINGTON — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, gave the following opening statement at the House Rules Committee hearing providing for floor consideration of H. Res. 755 (impeachment articles).
Below are the remarks as prepared.
Ranking Member Collins: Thank you, Chairman McGovern and Ranking Member Cole.
This has been a sad few months for the Judiciary Committee.
I think it’s telling we’re at the Rules Committee because it shows how partisan this process has become. Articles of impeachment against President Clinton were brought to the floor as a privileged question. Floor consideration was governed by a series of unanimous consent requests.
Today, however, we are going to have a partisan vote to set the parameters for floor debate.
Chairman Nadler said an interesting thing at the markup in response to my point of order about his refusal to schedule a minority day of hearings. He alleged that, even though it was requested at the committee’s very first hearing under H. Res. 660, insisting the minority hearing be scheduled before a markup would allow the minority to delay consideration. That reminded me that this whole process has been about the clock and the calendar.
It’s not about an objective search for the truth.
It’s not about conducting a process that commands the respect of the American people.
It’s about the clock and the calendar.
Our committee held its first hearing on December 4, literally the day after Chairman Schiff publicly released his report. In the first minutes of that hearing, Mr. Sensenbrenner furnished the chairman with our demand for a minority day of hearings.
The chairman also set a deadline of December 6 for Republicans and the president to request additional witnesses, but it wasn’t until Saturday, the day after the deadline, that Chairman Schiff transmitted 8,000 pages of material to the Judiciary Committee. We still haven’t gotten everything — not that it matters to the majority.
We had to submit our list of witnesses to Chairman Nadler the day before Chairman Schiff sent us any evidence.
Last Monday, we had a hearing so Chairman Schiff’s staff and Chairman Nadler’s private consultant could tell us the president needs to be impeached.
On Monday, the chairman also rejected all our witness requests, and on Tuesday, the morning after the “presentation,” articles of impeachment are unveiled.
Think about that: Articles of impeachment were made public the day after staff made initial presentations to the members.
The articles clearly had already been written. The presentation was for show, and, the very next day, we had opening statements for the markup of articles of impeachment.
That brings me back to the moment the chairman rejected my point of order. He said a single day of hearings might delay consideration of articles of impeachment, but the chairman must have built in time for any potential witnesses that I or the president’s counsel requested, right?
Wrong. He rejected the witnesses because Democrats were in a rush and nothing any witness could say could change the outcome of this impeachment.
Presumably, a single day of minority hearings wouldn’t have caused delay because the chairman would have set aside time to review the alleged evidence from Chairman Schiff, right?
Wrong again. Chairman Nadler didn’t even attempt to review the materials sent to him by Chairman Schiff. In reality, nothing could have stopped Democrats from getting to this point today. So, what has Democrats’ years-long thirst for impeachment done to the House institutionally?
The rules have been completely cast aside: Minority hearing day rule? Broken. Access to committee records rule? Broken. Due process for rights of the accused in impeachment? Completely out the window. Rules of decorum in debate? Speaker Pelosi broke that one herself earlier this summer.
Even with H. Res. 660, the authorization of this whole sham, the chairman could have used it to run a fair process. He didn’t.
In fact, I don’t think my majority colleagues have held a single hearing for the purpose of learning something. We’ve had a lot of press conferences that look like hearings, but no hearings to learn new information. We’ve had hearings with law professors and staff members telling members of Congress what to think, but no fact witnesses. Zero.
All of this means the most severe constitutional remedy in existence has been weaponized as just another way to attack the president of the party that isn’t yours. To attack this president, Democrats are willing to tear down every inch of this and every other institution necessary. That, Mr. Chairman, is why this has been a sad few months.
Substantively, let me leave you with the four facts that have never changed, can never change and will never change. First, both President Trump and President Zelensky say there was no pressure. Second, the call transcript shows no conditionality between aid and an investigation. Third, Ukrainians were not aware that aid was withheld when the presidents spoke. Fourth, Ukraine didn’t open an investigation and still received aid and a meeting with President Trump.
Those are facts, but they are inconvenient to Democrats.
This is the point where, normally, I would request an open rule, but there is simply no fixing this. By moving these articles to the floor, in the manner they have done so, Democrats have done grave and, I fear, irreparable, damage to this institution.