As impeachment begins new public phase, Cornyn fumes

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Sen. John Cornyn woke up in a sour mood on Monday, fuming over the latest movement in the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. 

“The problem for Democrats is they have made the whole process a partisan affair,” Cornyn wrote on Twitter. “They know they will never convict POTUS in the Senate with a purely partisan approach – they have previously admitted it.”

Cornyn’s nervousness coincides with a new public phase for the impeachment inquiry. Starting this week, after weeks of closed-door proceedings, the House Intelligence Committee will begin holding its first public hearings relating to the investigation. 

Why now?

Last month, House Democrats successfully passed an impeachment resolution that would change the scope and transparency of their investigation, allowing committee investigators to continue their investigation with official Congressional backing and extra tools, including staff-led cross-examination for witnesses and the ability to authorize the public releases of deposition transcripts.

Several of those damning transcripts were released last week, including the testimony of US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified there was indeed a quid pro quo that sought to exchange U.S. military aid for an investigation into the Biden family. 

On Wednesday and Friday, several figures who’ve already testified in closed-door hearings will reappear in Congress to testify in public. They include George Kent, a deputy assistant Secretary of State; Bill Taylor, a former ambassador and US diplomat in Ukraine, and Marie Yovanovitch, former US ambassador to Ukraine. 

Why Republicans are upset

Cornyn and other Senate colleagues can do little as the Democratic-led House moves forward the impeachment inquiry. Like Cornyn, other Republicans have suggested the entire impeachment process has been a partisan sham– ignoring the historical reality that of the presidents who’ve faced impeachment (Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson), votes have fallen mostly within party lines. 

In other words, one party doing all the heavy-lifting when it comes to investigating an abuse of power by the president isn’t a convincing argument to stop that investigation, and if anything, merely shows how unwilling Republicans are to participate in a now-open investigation that has already uncovered extremely damaging evidence against their president. In fact, out of 53 Republicans in the Senate, only three haven’t condemned the House-led impeachment inquiry. Among the loyal Republicans is Cornyn, who hasn’t even bothered to read the transcripts that have already been released by investigators. 

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