Republicans Are Wrong on the Impeachment Process, Too

This editorial appears in The Washington Post. – – – There is an old Washington saying that if you’re arguing about process, you’re losing. A follow-on maxim might be: If you are wrong on process, too, you must really be in trouble. That would apply to the 30 or so Republicans who stormed a Wednesday House Intelligence Committee hearing in a secure Capitol facility, objecting that Democrats have, so far, conducted impeachment proceedings behind closed doors. The stunt disrupted the testimony of Pentagon official Laura Cooper and temporarily distracted Washington from the evidence of President Donald Trump’s misconduct. The latter seemed to be the point, but Cooper simply testified a few hours later. It’s already clear that the president grossly abused his office. Trump himself released a rough transcript of a call in which he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his family as Zelensky sought military aid and a White House meeting. Republicans have offered no persuasive defense of the president’s actions, because there is none. Yet questions remain, and House committees are methodically looking for answers. Lawmakers lack a voluminous investigative record like independent counsel Ken Starr’s 1998 report. They must do their own basic investigating, which is why it makes sense to hold some hearings behind closed doors. Investigators don’t want witnesses to play for the cameras or dishonestly align their testimony with that of earlier witnesses. Classified material may be discussed. Republicans, in their incessant and fruitless investigations of Hillary Clinton and the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attacks, held many closed hearings – and insisted they were the most useful. Moreover, Republican legislators are present…

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