Author: Cynthia Sewell, Idaho Statesman
One of the most significant and solemn undertakings in U.S. politics got under way Wednesday, when for just the fourth time in history hearings began to impeach a U.S. president.
The U.S. House of Representatives will soon decide whether to pass articles of impeachment. Representing Idaho in this decision are GOP Reps. Mike Simpson (D2) and Russ Fulcher (D1). This is Simpson’s 21st year in Congress and Fulcher’s first.
The Statesman reached out to both congressmen for comment on Wednesday’s proceedings.
“Congressman Simpson is closely following Congressman (Adam) Schiff’s impeachment proceedings, and like many Americans, watched the first public hearing yesterday,” Communications Director Nikki Wallace said.
Wallace said Simpson will continue to follow the progress of the inquiry.
“However, he has yet to hear any evidence of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ and is concerned that the haphazard and biased approach the Democrats have adopted runs counter to the democratic process and betrays the trust of the American people,” she said.
Wallace said the proceedings have also “sucked the air out of the legislative process” and brought Washington to a halt for the foreseeable future. Simpson continues to believe that Congress should be solving problems, not creating them, she said.
Fulcher said he attended most of Wednesday’s hearings, which lasted almost six hours. His office provided the Statesman with a memo Fulcher wrote detailing observations of Wednesday’s hearings.
Among Fulcher’s observations:
“The two ‘star’ witnesses, Bill Taylor (acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine) and George Kent (deputy assistant Secretary of State and Eurasian Affairs), did not listen in on the phone call. Instead, they each heard from someone, who heard from someone else, who listened to the phone call. In today’s hearing, these accounts are considered expert witnesses with pertinent information. However, in Idaho, it’s better known as gossip.”
Fulcher also pointed out Taylor testified that a member of his staff overheard President Trump saying he is more interested in the Burisma-Biden connection, referring to unsubstantiated allegations about former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and his role with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company.
“However, it turns out this is a retelling from a staffer who recalls overhearing EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in a restaurant talking to President Trump on his cell phone,” Fulcher wrote.
Schiff stated that he did not know the identity of the whistleblower, Fulcher wrote.
“However, Schiff previously claimed, ‘We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower,’ and this was found to be false; the whistleblower reached out to Schiff’s staff before filing their whistleblower complaint,” Fulcher wrote. “During the hearing, Schiff also stopped a republican member from speaking when he feared the whistleblower’s identity was about to be divulged.”
“Democrats exhibited concerns that the President inappropriately wanted to investigate Burisma Holdings. However, the Democrats do not seem concerned that former Vice President explicitly stated, on video, that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine unless they stopped an investigation into Burisma Holdings, the company paying his son Hunter Biden $50,000 per month, as a member of their board.”
Read the full article here.