More secret, closed-door hearings in the “impeachment inquiry” are scheduled for the next several days, despite a vote by the full House of Representatives Thursday to authorize public hearings.
Mainstream media reporting on the House resolution created an impression that the vote would launch a public process. CNN, for example, reported Wednesday that the resolution would “bring [the] impeachment inquiry out from behind closed doors” and that it was “the first step toward open hearings.”
But none of that was true.
There was nothing to stop the various “impeachment inquiry” hearings from being held in public prior to the vote. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) chose to hold depositions behind closed doors in the House Intelligence Committee, using the “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility” (SCIF) on Capitol Hill. But he admitted that there was no classified information in the hearings. The format merely allowed him to suppress public access to information — and to leak selective portions of testimony.
Moreover, there is nothing in the new resolution that requires the impeachment inquiry to proceed in public. As Breitbart News reported earlier in the week, the language of the resolution merely says that the chair of the Intelligence Committee shall conduct “an open hearing or hearings.” As Byron York of the Washington Examiner noted Thursday, Schiff could satisfy that requirement by holding one hearing in public and the rest in secret.
Dems have more secret depositions scheduled for next week, at least. Resolution contains no requirement to release transcripts. As for public hearings, no requirement beyond one. All at Schiff discretion. https://t.co/TliRCQBows https://t.co/HFOyzVx563
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 31, 2019
Republicans on the House Rules Committee proposed 17 amendments to the resolution on Wednesday, but Democrats voted down all of them.
The resolution passed 232-196, with no Republicans voting in favor and two Democrats voting against.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
The photo is of the Senate SCIF.