WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a nearly party-line Oct. 31 vote, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, joined with 193 other GOP House members and two Democrats to oppose rules for releasing existing impeachment findings to the public and conduct future hearings. She called the measure a “farce,” but said she would support a “full and fair investigation” of President Donald Trump’s phone conversation with the Ukrainian president and the circumstances surrounding it.
The rules were approved 232-196, with two Democratic House members joining Republicans in opposition.
Herrera Beutler explained her reasoning via a Facebook posting, while acknowledging that Trump’s behavior raises “serious questions.”
“Stop today’s farce of an ‘impeachment inquiry’ and then let’s work together to create an investigation that the public will see as fair and full, with all the facts in plain view,” she wrote.
Herrera said the current impeachment is a farce because the House resolution approved last week “is enormously different from previous impeachment proceedings in 1974 and 1998 in limiting due process rights, fairness to all sides, and full access to information.”
Herrera represents Pacific and Wahkiakum counties, in addition to others along the Columbia River east to Skamania County.
Under the approved rules, the House Intelligence Committee will convene open hearings and release a written report to share its findings, The Columbian reported last week. Transcripts of witness interviews in closed-door hearings will be shared with Judiciary Committee members, who will then weigh the evidence and decide whether to draw up articles of impeachment.
The resolution largely follows the road map laid out during the 1998 impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton. It empowers minority leaders to subpoena witnesses and evidence, though Democratic committee leaders need to sign off on the subpoenas. If Democrats don’t, then the full committee votes on the Republicans’ proposal.
House Res. 660 ensures equal time to question witnesses for majority and minority leaders of the House Intelligence Committee.