Impeachment hearing: Republicans launch 2-front offensive against Trump impeachment inquiry — live updates – CBS News
The latest news on the impeachment inquiry
- More than 20 Republican lawmakers refused to leave a secure hearing room to protest closed-door impeachment proceedings, delaying a deposition for more than five hours.
- The top Republicans demanded Democrats call the whistleblower to testify publicly.
- In a 15-page opening statement earlier in the week, William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified on Tuesday that he grew increasingly alarmed over efforts by U.S. officials to pressure Ukraine into investigating President Trump’s rivals.
- On the July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump urged Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.
Washington – House Republicans on Wednesday launched a two-pronged offensive against Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, staging a five-hour protest against the closed-door proceedings while issuing a formal request for the whistleblower’s public testimony.
The saga played out on Capitol Hill for most of the day Wednesday as Republican members gained access to a secure briefing room and refused to leave. The top Republicans on the committees leading the impeachment inquiry later wrote a letter to Democrat Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, requesting the whistleblower testify publicly, a demand that was certain to be dismissed outright.
Two dozen Republicans disrupted the impeachment inquiry by staging a “sit-in” in the hearing room where a Pentagon official was set to testify, protesting what they see as the secretive nature of the Democrats’ investigation.
Some of the GOP lawmakers brought their cell phones into the secure room, known as a “SCIF,” in violation of security protocols .House rules stipulate that only committee members and authorized staff members are permitted to attend depositions like the one on Wednesday.
The members delayed the deposition of Laura Cooper, a Defense Department official who deals with Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, for more than five hours before it eventually got underway Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s finally reached the point where members just said they’re so frustrated at the idea that they can’t be a part of this and see what’s going on,” said Republican Representative Jim Jordan, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee. “So we’re at a standstill. We’ll see what happens with today’s deposition.”
Later in the day, CBS News obtained a letter from the Republican ranking members of the committees demanding the whistleblower testify in public.
The request was the first time Republicans formally asked Democrats to call witnesses, a possible indication they intend to pursue more traditional channels to counter the investigation even as members seek to disrupt the proceedings themselves.
“As the so-called impeachment inquiry gathers information that contradicts the employee’s allegations, we ask that you arrange for the committees to receive public testimony from the employee and all individuals he or she relied upon in formulating the complaint,” the lawmakers wrote. As members of the minority, House Republicans do not have the authority to call witnesses themselves, unless given the power to do so by the Democratic majority.