The were fireworks right out of the gate Monday as Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee convened its second impeachment hearing into Donald Trump, hours before the long-anticipated Inspector General report was made public.
As the committee prepared to hear “presentations of evidence” from lawyers for Democrats and Republicans making their cases for and against impeachment, Republicans clashed with Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the committee’s chairman, over the minority’s rights. And Rep. Gaetz (R-FL) questioned Nadler’s decision to hold a hearing featuring staff lawyers, rather than the members themselves, arguing that Democrats were trying “to overturn the results of an election with unelected people.”
Presenting arguments for Democrats were Judiciary Committee Majority Counsel Barry Berke and Intelligence Committee Majority Counsel Daniel Goldman. Stephen Castor appeared again as counsel for Republicans on both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) argued that House rules required Nadler to schedule a minority hearing date.
“Not to consider it, not to meet to discuss it, but to schedule one, and to schedule it at a reasonable time—not after Articles have been drawn, not after there’s been a vote on Articles of impeachment,” Biggs argued. “I inquire and insist Mr. Chairman that you immediately schedule a minority hearing day, or tell us why you’re ignoring the rules.”
Nadler shut Biggs down by saying his point of order was not a proper one for the hearing and that he should bring it up during their hearing to consider Articles of Impeachment.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) also argued with Nadler, accusing him of violating House rules, but the chairman again stated that the time to bring that issue up would be at the hearing to consider Articles of Impeachment. Gaetz objected because Nadler had made a ruling on the point of order. “You can’t now not allow us the appeal the ruling of the Chair,” he argued.
“The gentleman will suspend,” Nadler said wearily. “It was not a niceable point of order—it was not a cognizable point of order. It was not in order at this time to make that point of order. There is no ruling to appeal,” he stammered.
Nadler banged his gavel as Biggs tried to remind him of his obligations as chairman.
“The gentleman will suspend. We are doing what we have to do under the rules. We will now hear presentations of evidence …”
“Mr Chairman!” Gaetz interjected.
“The gentleman is not recognized!” Nadler exclaimed, banging his gavel.
As the chairman continued speaking, Gaetz interrupted, saying: “Is this just where we hear staff ask questions of other staff and the members get dealt out of this whole hearing for the next four hours?!”
“You’re going to try to overturn the results of an election with unelected people giving testimony?” Gaetz exclaimed.
“The gentleman will suspend!” Nadler barked, banging his gavel.
“This order—this hearing—will be considered in an orderly fashion, the gentleman will not yell out, and he will not attempt to disrupt the proceedings,” Nadler scolded.