Behind closed doors

If Republicans were conducting an “impeachment inquiry” of a Democratic president, we’d be hearing about the procedural anomalies employed in the production of a foreordained result. We would be instructed on the irregularity of committing such an inquiry to the House Intelligence Committee. We would also be hearing about the profound character defects of the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

As it is, we are left to pick up table scraps on our own. Mollie Hemingway covers one installment of the story in “Adam Schiff Flip-Flopped On Whistleblower Testimony After Reports Of Coordination.” Hemingway quotes a letter sent by House Republicans to Democratic committee leaders overseeing the impeachment inquiry. In the letter Republicans call for release of the guidelines and regulations under which depositions and transcriptions of testimony are being conducted.

Sounds reasonable to me. Indeed, I would like to find a copy of the letter online to take a look at it myself. I have been unable to find it. The closest I have come is the Hill story quoting the letter at some length. House Freedom Caucus chairman Andy Biggs garnered the signatures of more than 70 House Republicans on the letter. Here are quotes from the letter that I have pulled from the Hill story:

We write to demand the release of the rules that are governing the depositions and transcribed interviews being conducted by the joint action of your three committees.

The secrecy in which these depositions and interviews are being conducted, and the lack of clarity on the rules that govern attendance and access to records, are deeply concerning in the context of such a serious inquiry.

You have consistently denied non-committee Members their right to attend these depositions and interviews without specifying any authority to do so. House regulations clearly permit all House members to attend depositions.

You have also consistently denied the right of non-committee members to view the transcripts of depositions and interviews without specifying any authority to do so. These transcripts are committee records. Committee records that are the property of the whole House and under House rules, no Member can be denied access to committee records.

All nine Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee have complained directly to Schiff regarding his high-handed tactics.

Looking for the text of the Biggs letter covered in the Hill story, I found the October 9 letter sent by Biggs and several of his colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus to Nancy Pelosi (full text posted here). Analyze this:

For over two years, Adam Schiff misled the American people with his numerous attempts to manufacture evidence of collusion between Donald Trump and the Russian government. Once that fairytale evaporated, Mr. Schiff quickly moved on to his next hoax: a non-existent quid pro quo between President Trump and the President of Ukraine. This time, just like the Russian hoax, Mr. Schiff has been caught manipulating facts leading to baseless accusations against the President. Mr. Schiff is hardly an unbiased arbiter of this unauthorized impeachment process, and we call for his immediate recusal.

Forgive the obvious point. As I say, we would be hearing a lot more about all of this if the press weren’t performing its role as the media adjunct of the Democratic Party.

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