On the first day of impeachment hearings within the House Judiciary Committee, things got pretty heated fairly early, as the Republican ranking chair Rep. Doug Collins got scolded by a witness for insinuating she didn’t care about the facts of the case for possibly impeaching President Donald Trump.
“This committee received no evidence supporting the Schiff allegations until yesterday, so the discussion today will be about whether constitutional principles support impeachment based on 300 pages of supposed ‘facts’ we just received,” Collins complained in his opening statement.
The ranking chair also took issue with law professors being witnesses in Wednesday’s hearing.
“Today marks the first time the president’s lawyers have been invited to participate, but, rather than asking questions of fact witnesses, the president’s counsel gets to question law professors,” Collins said. “I don’t think that meets Democrats’ standard of ‘due process quadrupled.'”
The Trump administration has refused to take part in the hearings, in spite of the invitation from the committee.
Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan, one of the legal scholars invited to speak on Wednesday by the committee, took offense to Collins’s words.
Stanford Prof Pamela Karlan goes after Rep. Collins: "I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak of these things without reviewing the facts. I'm insulted by the suggestion…" https://t.co/tGjqlEPolb pic.twitter.com/nrlbrt2afd
— Evan Donovan (@EvanDonovan) December 4, 2019
“Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing, because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts,” Karlan said, PBS NewsHour reported. “So I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”
“Everything I read on those occasions tells me that when President Trump invited, indeed demanded, foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this a republic to which we pledge allegiance,” she added.
The charge that the president isn’t being given “due process” in the impeachment inquiry has been refuted by a number of legal scholars, who compare the process so far to be more akin to a grand jury investigation rather than a courtroom battle, where both sides are given equal time.
In that respect, some have argued that Trump has been given more “due process” than he and his critics claim. Republican lawmakers who have been involved in the impeachment inquiry so far have been allowed to cross-examine witnesses brought forward by Democrats, for example. In a grand jury investigation, the accused is not afforded that same right.