WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wednesday’s lineup of four constitutional scholars who testified in the latest impeachment hearing proved to be unappealing to Ohio Republicans Steve Chabot and Jim Jordan.
- Reps Chabot and Jordan spent hearing criticizing inquiry
- Chabot says Trump didn’t commit high crimes and misdemeanors
- Rep. Tim Ryan says he doesn’t understand Republicans’ approach
The two House Judiciary members didn’t ask any questions, and instead used their allotted time to criticize the impeachment inquiry and defend President Trump.
Note: On Thursday morning, Jordan's team passed along this link showing that, around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a member yielded their remaining time so Jordan could have another minute to speak with the witnesses. In this brief exchange, Jordan asked two short questions to Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan. The original TV version of this report aired at 6 p.m., so it did not include this moment of questioning.
Chabot (R-01) said questioning the four witnesses — three were brought in by Democrats and one by Republicans — didn’t matter because his Democratic colleagues on the committee have already made up their minds on impeaching Trump.
“That’s what their hardcore, Trump-hating base wants and they wanted that since the president was elected three years ago,” Chabot said during the hearing.
Jordan (R-04) blamed Democrats for not accepting the will of the people who voted for the president.
“I would argue it’s not a fast impeachment, it’s a predetermined impeachment — predetermined impeachment done in the most unfair, partisan fashion we have ever seen,” Jordan said.
Neither raised concerns in the first House Judiciary impeachment hearing about the underlying facts related to Trump attempting to withhold military aid while asking the president of Ukraine to investigate his political opponent.
In an interview right after he spoke during the hearing, Chabot was asked this by Spectrum Washington reporter Taylor Popielarz:
“I know there are a lot of people back home in your district who support the way that you’re approaching this, but for those who are more critical of it and who say, in today’s hearing it seems like you’re not even taking it seriously, what do you say?”
Chabot replied: “Well, the American people are divided on this. Congress is divided on this. I think there’s no way under any stretch of the imagination that this amounts to high crimes and misdemeanors.”
No Ohio Democrats serve on the House Judiciary Committee, but Popielarz ran into Rep. Tim Ryan (D-13) because his office is right down the hall from the hearing.
Ryan said the scholars who testified on Wednesday painted a clear picture of Trump crossing a line.
“I really don’t understand where the Republican Party is coming from,” Ryan said. “I’m a moderate Democrat; I’m a Centrist. I agree with them on some of their policy issues, but this to me is so abundantly clear that the president used his public office and public funds to help himself personally in a political campaign, and asked another country to do it, for God’s sake! I don’t get where the Republicans are coming from here.”
Wednesday’s impeachment hearing was the last one scheduled as of right now, but Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said another will happen “in the coming days."