- The Washington Times
Friday, October 18, 2019

Republicans ramped up their efforts Friday to extend lawmakers’ access to the committee work speeding along the impeachment inquiry.

Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma introduced a resolution that would change the rules of the impeachment inquiry and allow all lawmakers to enter the secure room and sit in on private depositions and testimonies.

“The stakes are too high for Chairman [Adam] Schiff and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi’s impeachment proceedings to continue in secret,” Mr. Scalise, Louisiana Republican, said in a statement. “We demand transparency. For the sake of our republic, members of Congress must have access to proceedings with such monumental and dangerous consequences.”

With Democrats in charge of the chamber, it’s unlikely the resolution will be successful.

The impeachment investigation is centered on allegations that President Trump attempted to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into the Biden family and the 2016 elections. It’s being led by three House committees — Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs.

Over the past two weeks several Republican lawmakers, who do not sit on those committees, have been ejected from the secure briefing room where the meetings have been held. They also have been blocked from viewing testimony from witnesses.

Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees impeachment, sent letters to the chairmen of the those three committees demanding access to the investigation materials.

The Georgia Republican argued that he had a right to see the material unless the full House voted to bar non-committee members.

Slamming the investigatory process as secretive and biased is at the core of the Republicans’ arguments against the impeachment inquiry.

Democrats have argued that they have been keeping the material away from other lawmakers and the public to maintain the integrity of the investigation, comparing it to a special prosecutor investigation.

Mr. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, vowed to release the material when it no longer threatens “investigative equities,” but the California Democrat gave no timeline for when he expects that would be.

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