Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) has called on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair to follow longstanding bipartisan procedures in the chambers impeachment inquiry against the president in a letter on Thursday.
McCaul, who is the ranking member of the committee, took issue with the lack of procedural fairness and transparency that is transpiring during the investigation into allegations of President Donald Trumps conduct during his call with Ukraine.
In his letter, McCaul asked the committees chairman, Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), on whether the proceedings would include “fundamental procedural fairness safeguards” that were previous present during the last two impeachment inquiries of both Republican and Democratic presidents.
“These basic protections represent longstanding, bipartisan consensus, which—according to precedent on this most serious Constitutional matter—should be voted on and adopted at the outset of an impeachment inquiry,” the letter stated.
— House Foreign Affairs GOP (@HouseForeignGOP) October 10, 2019
“It is deeply troubling that they have been willfully ignored by Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff, even though the Republican Leader sent two letters raising these concerns last week. It is clear to me that this rush to impeachment is a result of political calculation, not a desire to get to bottom of the matter.”
McCaul added, “The impeachment of a sitting President is not a run-of-the-mill committee inquiry. It is a grave Constitutional reckoning that demands basic standards of order, transparency, and fairness. We are only asking for the same rights and procedures that were afforded to the minority in the Nixon and Clinton impeachment proceedings.
“Without such protections, this rushed proceeding will undermine our Constitutional democracy,” he said.
The Trump-Zelensky call is at the center of a whistleblower complaint that accused the president of leveraging his office and withholding U.S. aid to Ukraine to obtain “dirt” on a political opponent—2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
A declassified transcript of a July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, released by the White House on Sept. 25, quotes Trump as saying, “Theres a lot of talk about Bidens son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.” From the transcript Trump does not appear to pressure Zelensky or offer any quid pro quo.
Meanwhile, Trump defended his call, saying that his request for Ukraines assistance to look into Bidens dealings was intended to investigate alleged corruption, not to look for information on a political opponent. In 2018, Biden boasted that he had pressured then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to remove a prosecutor who was investigating a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, where the former vice presidents son held a lucrative board position.