Washington Rep. Jayapal: ‘We’re bending over backward to be fair’ in impeachment hearings
As impeachment proceedings continue in Congress, Washington state’s own Rep. Pramila Jayapal spoke out in a defense of a process Republicans claim has unfairly excluded them.
“We’re bending over backward to be fair,” Rep. Jayapal said Sunday on Twitter.
Early on in impeachment proceedings, GOP lawmakers stormed into a closed-door witness interview, claiming their party had not been allowed to preside over the process.
They’ve continued those cries as proceedings have continued. That culminated in an invite from the House Judiciary committee to President Trump and his lawyers, giving them the chance to attend a Wednesday hearing to question a witness panel of constitutional scholars and law professors.
That hearing will see the House Judiciary committee examine the “high crimes and misdemeanors” requirement for impeachment laid out in the U.S. Constitution.
The White House declined that invitation Sunday, a move Congressional Democrats have widely panned.
“The onus is on President Trump to, for once, behave and engage with Congress,” said Rep. Jayapal. “If he has a defense, we on (the House Judiciary committee) — along with the American people — are eager to hear it.”
In addition to the invitation to Wednesday’s hearing, House Judiciary chair Rep. Jerry Nadler also asked whether President Trump plans to review the evidence against him, and whether he or his counsel would like to question witnesses during public hearings. Nadler set a deadline of Friday, Dec. 6 for a response.
Despite declining the chance to participate Wednesday, President Trump’s legal counsel left the possibility open for appearances in sessions down the line.
In the days ahead, should Democrats draft articles of impeachment against Trump, as is expected, and approve them with a House vote, then impeachment managers would be appointed to present the case to the Senate. Traditionally, those managers have come from the House Judiciary Committee, which is stacked with lawyers and former prosecutors, including Rep. Jayapal.
There are no set rules about who can be appointed an impeachment manager. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also could choose members of the House intelligence panel, which led the Ukraine investigation, or draw from other committees.
Associated Press contributed to this report