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Wittman's Weekly: Impeachment

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Washington, October 12, 2019 | comments

As I’ve been traveling throughout the First District these last few weeks, I’ve heard from folks from both sides of the aisle about the partisan politics taking place in Washington. Whether you are for or against an impeachment inquiry into actions by President Trump, I think we can all agree that any process moving forward needs to be a balanced, fair and transparent one.

Instead, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats are electing to make this a closed-door, partisan process with no transparency and accountability to the American people. I agree with both Leader McCarthy and President Trump that it is necessary for Speaker Pelosi to hold a vote in the full House to formally authorize an impeachment inquiry. Regardless of which party held the majority – an authorization has occurred because it allows the House to adopt procedures and parameters that provide protection for witnesses and for the minority. It also outlines how the process can be conducted appropriately.

If a resolution were adopted, it would give the president the right to see all evidence, present evidence, call witnesses, have counsel present at all hearings, cross-examine all witnesses, make objections relating to the examination of witnesses or the admissibility of testimony and evidence, and respond to evidence and testimony. Currently, committee ranking members (top committee Republicans) have been blocked from issuing subpoenas – making this a biased evidence gathering process. As I said before, this is contrary to previous impeachment processes. In the past, bipartisan participation lent credibility to the process. This is clearly quite different from the partisan process Democrats are moving forward with today. Annulling the 2016 vote of 63 million Americans should be significant enough to demand transparency and an open and fair process.

The Constitution grants sole power of impeachment to the House; however, the Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments with judgments reaching no further than removal from office. Throughout this process, I believe there is something important to remember – although some folks may not like the president or agree with his policies, the Constitution limits grounds of impeachment to treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. With all of the current information I have before me, I do not believe that President Trump has committed an impeachable offense and therefore should not be impeached by the House.

Instead, I'd like to get back to the work of the people who elected us to represent their interests in Congress. However, impeachment threatens to sideline major legislative priorities this Congress. We cannot afford to put these priorities on the back burner - and I know folks in the First District agree. When I was in the district during the recent break from the legislative session, folks I spoke with were more concerned with getting things done and solving the challenges that they face every day. I am focusing on making a difference for the First District, and therefore I am working on getting real results. We need to instead be working on issues like lowering the price of prescription drugs, expanding access to high speed internet in our unserved rural areas, passing an infrastructure package to fix our broken roads and bridges, and approving a trade deal that will create millions of jobs for hardworking Americans. The American people are sick and tired of partisan bickering, I will continue to fight for real reforms that benefit my constituents.

We have the opportunity to make meaningful reforms in the 116th Congress and to make a better life for the people we represent in Congress. However, we must get back to the business of the American people and focus on solving problems instead of partisan politics. 

 


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