The vote on HR 660 on the House floor. (Photo: House TV)
Oct. 31, 2019 by David Silverberg
Today the US House of Representatives established the rules for the public portion of its impeachment inquiry.
Southwest Florida’s representatives all voted against the bill.
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.) issued an extensive statement explaining his vote. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee he had been able to participate in the closed door hearings and stated that he “found them to be fair to the participants; everyone has been able to have their questions answered except for one day which was unfortunately restricted.”
That said, he noted, “the majority of Congress, our news media and the American people have not had this access.” While today’s bill will ensure fuller public access, the fully open process used in the impeachments of presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton was better in his opinion.
As for the impeachment case itself, he stated: “I have consistently kept an open mind and listened to the facts as presented—and will continue to do so.” (Full text below.)
Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), who has emerged as Southwest Florida’s fiercest defender of President Donald Trump, denounced Democrats for trying to, in his words, “undo the 2016 presidential election.” The bill passed today, he stated, is “filled with egregious tactics that prevent the minority and President Trump from having any meaningful part in this so-called impeachment inquiry and demonstrates to the American people that this is nothing but an attempt to subvert the will of nearly 63 million voters. History will not look kindly on what was done today.”
As of this writing, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) had not issued a statement on his vote.
According to the text of the bill: “…the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committees on Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and Ways and Means, are directed to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America.”
The rule establishes that going forward the proceedings of the House Intelligence Committee will be open and transparent and it will work with the House Judiciary Committee as that committee proceeds with its impeachment inquiry.
Full text of Rep. Rooney’s statement:
“As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have had the opportunity to take part in the closed-door hearings of the last several weeks and have found them to be fair to the participants; everyone has been able to have their questions answered except for one day which was unfortunately restricted. However, the majority of Congress, our news media and the American people have not had this access.
“While today’s resolution opens the way the hearings will be conducted in many ways, which is an improvement, the process is still less open to having all sides represented than prior impeachments. A truly judicial process like deployed in the Nixon and Clinton cases would be the best solution to assure due process. As to the merits of the impeachment case itself, I have consistently kept an open mind and listened to the facts as presented – and will continue to do so.”
Liberty lives in light
© 2019 by David Silverberg