KOMMONSENTSJANE – DEMOCRACY DIES IN DARKNESS. Why can’t the Republicans sue the Democrats for violating the Constitution?

Google foreigners – H1B visa holders are interfering with this blog. They are blocking me. For documentary purposes.

This was messed up by Google. Will leave it at such so that their CEO LIED IN THE HEARING. These workers are doing this to Google’s paying customers.

John Yoo: The House doesn’t have to be ‘fair’ in its probe. But it should give Trump due process. (Which didn’t happen.)

******

Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Washington Post

Opinions

Opinion by Marc A. Thiessen. Columnist

October 24, 2019

After dozens of House Republicans demanded access to a secure facility in the Capitol on Wednesday where House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) was preparing to depose a Pentagon official, Democrats expressed outrage at the breach of protocol. “They’re doing this because this is what the guilty do,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). “Innocent people cooperate with investigations. Innocent people follow the rules of the House.”

Well, people engaged in impartial investigations aimed at finding the truth don’t violate every precedent and standard of due process set during previous presidential impeachments.

Contrast today’s partisan inquiry with the Nixon impeachment. As American Enterprise Institute President Robert Doar has pointed out, the Nixon inquiry was a model of bipartisan cooperation. The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Peter Rodino (N.J.), assembled a unified staff (including Doar’s father, John, a Republican whom Rodino appointed as special counsel). The full House voted on authorizing the inquiry. The minority was given joint subpoena power. The president’s counsel was allowed to be present during depositions, given access to all of the documents and materials presented to the committee, allowed to cross-examine witnesses, and even permitted to call witnesses of his own. Most important, the committee did not leak or release selective documents cherry-picked to make the president look bad.

The same was true during the Clinton impeachment inquiry. As former House speaker Newt Gingrich explained in a recent interview, Republicans “adopted every single rule that Rodino had used in 1973.”

Yet today, Rodino’s party is systematically undermining every principle of fairness and due process he put in place in 1973.

What is the significance of William Taylor’s testimony?

The Fix’s Aaron Blake analyzes the key takeaways from ambassador William B. Taylor Jr.’s testimony to House impeachment investigators on Oct. 22. (Video: JM Rieger/Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Take this week’s testimony by acting ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., who alleged that President Trump made U.S. aid contingent on “investigations.” He was deposed inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the Capitol, a room that is designed to protect the government’s most highly classified information. Cellphones are not permitted inside a SCIF. Yet somehow what appear to be cellphone photos of his prepared statement were leaked to the news media.

But the full transcript of his deposition — including his answers to questions from Republicans challenging his accusations — remains under lock and key in that SCIF. The president’s counsel is not allowed to see it, much less be present at the deposition to cross-examine the witness. So, Democrats are leaking derogatory information about the president, while restricting public access to potentially exculpatory information, all while denying him the right to see or challenge testimony against him.

Moreover, they are abusing the system to do it. One of the charges Democrats have leveled against Trump is that the White House improperly put the transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president on a special server used to protect highly classified information. Yet Democrats are doing the very same thing, conducting impeachment depositions inside a SCIF, improperly using a classified system to restrict access to nonclassified information not just to the public but to members of Congress. Talk about hypocrisy.

Let’s be clear: There is nothing wrong with holding hearings behind closed doors as long as there is due process. During the Nixon impeachment much of the evidence was presented in closed-door sessions. But there was not a flood of leaks from those executive sessions, as we are seeing today. And unlike today, the minority could issue subpoenas, and the president’s counsel was present to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. Secrecy and fairness go hand in hand. One without the other is corrupt.

The partisan nature of the Democrats’ inquiry will backfire in a number of ways. For one thing, it allows Republicans to make the case to the American people that the process is unfair, and if there is one thing Americans demand, it is fairness. If the facts are on the Democrats’ side, they have nothing to fear from transparency and due process. Second, their partisan behavior has given the president justification to refuse to cooperate with the investigation, just as President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to cooperate with the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. And finally, it has made it easier for congressional Republicans to rally around the president. Right now, Republicans are more torn about Trump’s Syria policy than they are about his impeachment inquiry. By failing to show even a modicum of fairness, Democrats have turned impeachment into a game of shirts vs. skins.

The Democrats’ conduct shows that they are not serious, and that the entire impeachment inquiry is a blatantly political exercise. Given the Constitution’s requirement of a supermajority in the Senate to remove the president, it is impossible for one party to remove the president of another party from office without buy-in from the other side. Yet Democrats are making no effort to win over Republicans, much less make an impeachment vote difficult for their GOP colleagues. And that means they’ll have a hard time getting buy-in from the American people.

John Yoo: The House doesn’t have to be ‘fair’ in its probe. But it should give Trump due process.

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Democracy Dies in Darkness


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Accessibility for screenreader

The Washington Post

Opinions

Democrats are violating every standard of due process. It will backfire.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) in Washington on Oct. 4. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Opinion by Marc A. Thiessen

Columnist
October 24, 2019
After dozens of House Republicans demanded access to a secure facility in the Capitol on Wednesday where House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) was preparing to depose a Pentagon official, Democrats expressed outrage at the breach of protocol. “They’re doing this because this is what the guilty do,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). “Innocent people cooperate with investigations. Innocent people follow the rules of the House.”

Well, people engaged in impartial investigations aimed at finding the truth don’t violate every precedent and standard of due process set during previous presidential impeachments.

Contrast today’s partisan inquiry with the Nixon impeachment. As American Enterprise Institute President Robert Doar has pointed out, the Nixon inquiry was a model of bipartisan cooperation. The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Peter Rodino (N.J.), assembled a unified staff (including Doar’s father, John, a Republican whom Rodino appointed as special counsel). The full House voted on authorizing the inquiry. The minority was given joint subpoena power. The president’s counsel was allowed to be present during depositions, given access to all of the documents and materials presented to the committee, allowed to cross-examine witnesses, and even permitted to call witnesses of his own. Most important, the committee did not leak or release selective documents cherry-picked to make the president look bad.

The same was true during the Clinton impeachment inquiry. As former House speaker Newt Gingrich explained in a recent interview, Republicans “adopted every single rule that Rodino had used in 1973.” Yet today, Rodino’s party is systematically undermining every principle of fairness and due process he put in place in 1973.

Subtitle Settings

Font Default Mono Sans Mono Serif Sans Serif Comic Fancy Small Caps

Font Size Default X-Small Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large

Font Edge Default Outline Dark Outline Light Outline Dark Bold Outline Light Bold Shadow Dark Shadow Light Shadow Dark Bold Shadow Light Bold

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What is the significance of William Taylor’s testimony?

The Fix’s Aaron Blake analyzes the key takeaways from ambassador William B. Taylor Jr.’s testimony to House impeachment investigators on Oct. 22. (Video: JM Rieger/Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Take this week’s testimony by acting ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., who alleged that President Trump made U.S. aid contingent on “investigations.” He was deposed inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the Capitol, a room that is designed to protect the government’s most highly classified information. Cellphones are not permitted inside a SCIF. Yet somehow what appear to be cellphone photos of his prepared statement were leaked to the news media.

But the full transcript of his deposition — including his answers to questions from Republicans challenging his accusations — remains under lock and key in that SCIF. The president’s counsel is not allowed to see it, much less be present at the deposition to cross-examine the witness. So, Democrats are leaking derogatory information about the president, while restricting public access to potentially exculpatory information, all while denying him the right to see or challenge testimony against him.

Moreover, they are abusing the system to do it. One of the charges Democrats have leveled against Trump is that the White House improperly put the transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president on a special server used to protect highly classified information. Yet Democrats are doing the very same thing, conducting impeachment depositions inside a SCIF, improperly using a classified system to restrict access to nonclassified information not just to the public but to members of Congress. Talk about hypocrisy.

Let’s be clear: There is nothing wrong with holding hearings behind closed doors as long as there is due process. During the Nixon impeachment much of the evidence was presented in closed-door sessions. But there was not a flood of leaks from those executive sessions, as we are seeing today. And unlike today, the minority could issue subpoenas, and the president’s counsel was present to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. Secrecy and fairness go hand in hand. One without the other is corrupt.

The partisan nature of the Democrats’ inquiry will backfire in a number of ways. For one thing, it allows Republicans to make the case to the American people that the process is unfair, and if there is one thing Americans demand, it is fairness. If the facts are on the Democrats’ side, they have nothing to fear from transparency and due process. Second, their partisan behavior has given the president justification to refuse to cooperate with the investigation, just as President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to cooperate with the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. And finally, it has made it easier for congressional Republicans to rally around the president. Right now, Republicans are more torn about Trump’s Syria policy than they are about his impeachment inquiry. By failing to show even a modicum of fairness, Democrats have turned impeachment into a game of shirts vs. skins.

The Democrats’ conduct shows that they are not serious, and that the entire impeachment inquiry is a blatantly political exercise. Given the Constitution’s requirement of a supermajority in the Senate to remove the president, it is impossible for one party to remove the president of another party from office without buy-in from the other side. Yet Democrats are making no effort to win over Republicans, much less make an impeachment vote difficult for their GOP colleagues. And that means they’ll have a hard time getting buy-in from the American people.

Read more:

Greg Sargent: Why is GOP spin growing more pathetic and lawless? Because Trump’s defenses are collapsing.

Dana Milbank: Republicans fight impeachment — with extra cheese

Tom Daschle and Trent Lott: The Senate can hold a fair impeachment trial. We did it in 1999.

Henry Olsen: Do Democrats realize McConnell would call the shots in a Senate impeachment trial?

John Yoo: The House doesn’t have to be ‘fair’ in its probe. But it should give Trump due process.

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Marc A. Thiessen Marc Thiessen writes a twice-weekly column for The Post on foreign and domestic policy. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Follow 

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Sections 

Democracy Dies in Darkness


Get 1 year for $29


Accessibility for screenreader

The Washington Post

Opinions

Democrats are violating every standard of due process. It will backfire.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) in Washington on Oct. 4. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Opinion by Marc A. Thiessen

Columnist
October 24, 2019
After dozens of House Republicans demanded access to a secure facility in the Capitol on Wednesday where House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) was preparing to depose a Pentagon official, Democrats expressed outrage at the breach of protocol. “They’re doing this because this is what the guilty do,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). “Innocent people cooperate with investigations. Innocent people follow the rules of the House.”

Well, people engaged in impartial investigations aimed at finding the truth don’t violate every precedent and standard of due process set during previous presidential impeachments.

Contrast today’s partisan inquiry with the Nixon impeachment. As American Enterprise Institute President Robert Doar has pointed out, the Nixon inquiry was a model of bipartisan cooperation. The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Peter Rodino (N.J.), assembled a unified staff (including Doar’s father, John, a Republican whom Rodino appointed as special counsel). The full House voted on authorizing the inquiry. The minority was given joint subpoena power. The president’s counsel was allowed to be present during depositions, given access to all of the documents and materials presented to the committee, allowed to cross-examine witnesses, and even permitted to call witnesses of his own. Most important, the committee did not leak or release selective documents cherry-picked to make the president look bad.

The same was true during the Clinton impeachment inquiry. As former House speaker Newt Gingrich explained in a recent interview, Republicans “adopted every single rule that Rodino had used in 1973.” Yet today, Rodino’s party is systematically undermining every principle of fairness and due process he put in place in 1973.

Subtitle Settings

Font Default Mono Sans Mono Serif Sans Serif Comic Fancy Small Caps

Font Size Default X-Small Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large

Font Edge Default Outline Dark Outline Light Outline Dark Bold Outline Light Bold Shadow Dark Shadow Light Shadow Dark Bold Shadow Light Bold

Font Color Default Black Silver Gray White Maroon Red Purple Fuchsia Green Lime Olive Yellow Navy Blue Teal Aqua Orange Default 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%

Background Default Black Silver Gray White Maroon Red Purple Fuchsia Green Lime Olive Yellow Navy Blue Teal Aqua Orange Default 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%

What is the significance of William Taylor’s testimony?

The Fix’s Aaron Blake analyzes the key takeaways from ambassador William B. Taylor Jr.’s testimony to House impeachment investigators on Oct. 22. (Video: JM Rieger/Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Take this week’s testimony by acting ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., who alleged that President Trump made U.S. aid contingent on “investigations.” He was deposed inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the Capitol, a room that is designed to protect the government’s most highly classified information. Cellphones are not permitted inside a SCIF. Yet somehow what appear to be cellphone photos of his prepared statement were leaked to the news media.

But the full transcript of his deposition — including his answers to questions from Republicans challenging his accusations — remains under lock and key in that SCIF. The president’s counsel is not allowed to see it, much less be present at the deposition to cross-examine the witness. So, Democrats are leaking derogatory information about the president, while restricting public access to potentially exculpatory information, all while denying him the right to see or challenge testimony against him.

Moreover, they are abusing the system to do it. One of the charges Democrats have leveled against Trump is that the White House improperly put the transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president on a special server used to protect highly classified information. Yet Democrats are doing the very same thing, conducting impeachment depositions inside a SCIF, improperly using a classified system to restrict access to nonclassified information not just to the public but to members of Congress. Talk about hypocrisy.

Let’s be clear: There is nothing wrong with holding hearings behind closed doors as long as there is due process. During the Nixon impeachment much of the evidence was presented in closed-door sessions. But there was not a flood of leaks from those executive sessions, as we are seeing today. And unlike today, the minority could issue subpoenas, and the president’s counsel was present to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. Secrecy and fairness go hand in hand. One without the other is corrupt.

The partisan nature of the Democrats’ inquiry will backfire in a number of ways. For one thing, it allows Republicans to make the case to the American people that the process is unfair, and if there is one thing Americans demand, it is fairness. If the facts are on the Democrats’ side, they have nothing to fear from transparency and due process. Second, their partisan behavior has given the president justification to refuse to cooperate with the investigation, just as President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to cooperate with the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. And finally, it has made it easier for congressional Republicans to rally around the president. Right now, Republicans are more torn about Trump’s Syria policy than they are about his impeachment inquiry. By failing to show even a modicum of fairness, Democrats have turned impeachment into a game of shirts vs. skins.

The Democrats’ conduct shows that they are not serious, and that the entire impeachment inquiry is a blatantly political exercise. Given the Constitution’s requirement of a supermajority in the Senate to remove the president, it is impossible for one party to remove the president of another party from office without buy-in from the other side. Yet Democrats are making no effort to win over Republicans, much less make an impeachment vote difficult for their GOP colleagues. And that means they’ll have a hard time getting buy-in from the American people.

Read more:

Greg Sargent: Why is GOP spin growing more pathetic and lawless? Because Trump’s defenses are collapsing.

Dana Milbank: Republicans fight impeachment — with extra cheese

Tom Daschle and Trent Lott: The Senate can hold a fair impeachment trial. We did it in 1999.

Henry Olsen: Do Democrats realize McConnell would call the shots in a Senate impeachment trial?

John Yoo: The House doesn’t have to be ‘fair’ in its probe. But it should give Trump due process.

 4.1k

Comments

Opinions A.M. newsletter

The best of The Post’s opinions and commentary, in your inbox every morning.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Marc A. Thiessen Marc Thiessen writes a twice-weekly column for The Post on foreign and domestic policy. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Follow 

Get a year of access for $29. Cancel at any time.

Get this offer now

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The moment impeachment managers realized how corrupt Trump’s defense was

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Perspective
The South’s mythology glamorized a noble defeat. Trump backers may do the same.

3

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Alexander Vindman: Coming forward ended my career. I still believe doing what’s right matters.

4

Perspective
The lies our textbooks told my generation of Virginians about slavery

5

Perspective
Governor, my father’s death is on your hands

Latest episode

Capital B for Black

Listen23:44

Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post — for your ears.

Opinions A.M. newsletter

The best of The Post’s opinions and commentary, in your inbox every morning.

washingtonpost.com
© 1996-2020 The Washington Post

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Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Washington Post

Opinions

Democrats are violating every standard of due process. It will backfire.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) in Washington on Oct. 4. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Opinion by Marc A. Thiessen

Columnist
October 24, 2019
After dozens of House Republicans demanded access to a secure facility in the Capitol on Wednesday where House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) was preparing to depose a Pentagon official, Democrats expressed outrage at the breach of protocol. “They’re doing this because this is what the guilty do,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). “Innocent people cooperate with investigations. Innocent people follow the rules of the House.”

Well, people engaged in impartial investigations aimed at finding the truth don’t violate every precedent and standard of due process set during previous presidential impeachments.

Contrast today’s partisan inquiry with the Nixon impeachment. As American Enterprise Institute President Robert Doar has pointed out, the Nixon inquiry was a model of bipartisan cooperation. The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Peter Rodino (N.J.), assembled a unified staff (including Doar’s father, John, a Republican whom Rodino appointed as special counsel). The full House voted on authorizing the inquiry. The minority was given joint subpoena power. The president’s counsel was allowed to be present during depositions, given access to all of the documents and materials presented to the committee, allowed to cross-examine witnesses, and even permitted to call witnesses of his own. Most important, the committee did not leak or release selective documents cherry-picked to make the president look bad.

The same was true during the Clinton impeachment inquiry. As former House speaker Newt Gingrich explained in a recent interview, Republicans “adopted every single rule that Rodino had used in 1973.” Yet today, Rodino’s party is systematically undermining every principle of fairness and due process he put in place in 1973.

Font Edge Default Outline Dark Outline Light Outline Dark Bold Outline Light Bold Shadow Dark Shadow Light Shadow Dark Bold Shadow Light Bold

Font Color Default Black Silver Gray White Maroon Red Purple Fuchsia Green Lime Olive Yellow Navy Blue Teal Aqua Orange Default 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%

Background Default Black Silver Gray White Maroon Red Purple Fuchsia Green Lime Olive Yellow Navy Blue Teal Aqua Orange Default 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%

What is the significance of William Taylor’s testimony?

The Fix’s Aaron Blake analyzes the key takeaways from ambassador William B. Taylor Jr.’s testimony to House impeachment investigators on Oct. 22. (Video: JM Rieger/Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Take this week’s testimony by acting ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., who alleged that President Trump made U.S. aid contingent on “investigations.” He was deposed inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the Capitol, a room that is designed to protect the government’s most highly classified information. Cellphones are not permitted inside a SCIF. Yet somehow what appear to be cellphone photos of his prepared statement were leaked to the news media.

But the full transcript of his deposition — including his answers to questions from Republicans challenging his accusations — remains under lock and key in that SCIF. The president’s counsel is not allowed to see it, much less be present at the deposition to cross-examine the witness. So, Democrats are leaking derogatory information about the president, while restricting public access to potentially exculpatory information, all while denying him the right to see or challenge testimony against him.

Moreover, they are abusing the system to do it. One of the charges Democrats have leveled against Trump is that the White House improperly put the transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president on a special server used to protect highly classified information. Yet Democrats are doing the very same thing, conducting impeachment depositions inside a SCIF, improperly using a classified system to restrict access to nonclassified information not just to the public but to members of Congress. Talk about hypocrisy.

Let’s be clear: There is nothing wrong with holding hearings behind closed doors as long as there is due process. During the Nixon impeachment much of the evidence was presented in closed-door sessions. But there was not a flood of leaks from those executive sessions, as we are seeing today. And unlike today, the minority could issue subpoenas, and the president’s counsel was present to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. Secrecy and fairness go hand in hand. One without the other is corrupt.

The partisan nature of the Democrats’ inquiry will backfire in a number of ways. For one thing, it allows Republicans to make the case to the American people that the process is unfair, and if there is one thing Americans demand, it is fairness. If the facts are on the Democrats’ side, they have nothing to fear from transparency and due process. Second, their partisan behavior has given the president justification to refuse to cooperate with the investigation, just as President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to cooperate with the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. And finally, it has made it easier for congressional Republicans to rally around the president. Right now, Republicans are more torn about Trump’s Syria policy than they are about his impeachment inquiry. By failing to show even a modicum of fairness, Democrats have turned impeachment into a game of shirts vs. skins.

The Democrats’ conduct shows that they are not serious, and that the entire impeachment inquiry is a blatantly political exercise. Given the Constitution’s requirement of a supermajority in the Senate to remove the president, it is impossible for one party to remove the president of another party from office without buy-in from the other side. Yet Democrats are making no effort to win over Republicans, much less make an impeachment vote difficult for their GOP colleagues. And that means they’ll have a hard time getting buy-in from the American people.

kommonsentsjane

John Yoo: The House doesn’t have to be ‘fair’ in its probe. But it sh

Sections 

Democracy Dies in Darkness


Get 1 year for $29


Accessibility for screenreader

The Washington Post

Opinions

Democrats are violating every standard of due process. It will backfire.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) in Washington on Oct. 4. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Opinion by Marc A. Thiessen

Columnist
October 24, 2019
After dozens of House Republicans demanded access to a secure facility in the Capitol on Wednesday where House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) was preparing to depose a Pentagon official, Democrats expressed outrage at the breach of protocol. “They’re doing this because this is what the guilty do,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). “Innocent people cooperate with investigations. Innocent people follow the rules of the House.”

Well, people engaged in impartial investigations aimed at finding the truth don’t violate every precedent and standard of due process set during previous presidential impeachments.

Contrast today’s partisan inquiry with the Nixon impeachment. As American Enterprise Institute President Robert Doar has pointed out, the Nixon inquiry was a model of bipartisan cooperation. The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Peter Rodino (N.J.), assembled a unified staff (including Doar’s father, John, a Republican whom Rodino appointed as special counsel). The full House voted on authorizing the inquiry. The minority was given joint subpoena power. The president’s counsel was allowed to be present during depositions, given access to all of the documents and materials presented to the committee, allowed to cross-examine witnesses, and even permitted to call witnesses of his own. Most important, the committee did not leak or release selective documents cherry-picked to make the president look bad.

The same was true during the Clinton impeachment inquiry. As former House speaker Newt Gingrich explained in a recent interview, Republicans “adopted every single rule that Rodino had used in 1973.” Yet today, Rodino’s party is systematically undermining every principle of fairness and due process he put in place in 1973.

Subtitle Settings

Font Default Mono Sans Mono Serif Sans Serif Comic Fancy Small Caps

Font Size Default X-Small Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large

Font Edge Default Outline Dark Outline Light Outline Dark Bold Outline Light Bold Shadow Dark Shadow Light Shadow Dark Bold Shadow Light Bold

Font Color Default Black Silver Gray White Maroon Red Purple Fuchsia Green Lime Olive Yellow Navy Blue Teal Aqua Orange Default 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%

Background Default Black Silver Gray White Maroon Red Purple Fuchsia Green Lime Olive Yellow Navy Blue Teal Aqua Orange Default 100% 75% 50% 25% 0%

What is the significance of William Taylor’s testimony?

The Fix’s Aaron Blake analyzes the key takeaways from ambassador William B. Taylor Jr.’s testimony to House impeachment investigators on Oct. 22. (Video: JM Rieger/Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Take this week’s testimony by acting ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., who alleged that President Trump made U.S. aid contingent on “investigations.” He was deposed inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the Capitol, a room that is designed to protect the government’s most highly classified information. Cellphones are not permitted inside a SCIF. Yet somehow what appear to be cellphone photos of his prepared statement were leaked to the news media.

But the full transcript of his deposition — including his answers to questions from Republicans challenging his accusations — remains under lock and key in that SCIF. The president’s counsel is not allowed to see it, much less be present at the deposition to cross-examine the witness. So, Democrats are leaking derogatory information about the president, while restricting public access to potentially exculpatory information, all while denying him the right to see or challenge testimony against him.

Moreover, they are abusing the system to do it. One of the charges Democrats have leveled against Trump is that the White House improperly put the transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president on a special server used to protect highly classified information. Yet Democrats are doing the very same thing, conducting impeachment depositions inside a SCIF, improperly using a classified system to restrict access to nonclassified information not just to the public but to members of Congress. Talk about hypocrisy.

Let’s be clear: There is nothing wrong with holding hearings behind closed doors as long as there is due process. During the Nixon impeachment much of the evidence was presented in closed-door sessions. But there was not a flood of leaks from those executive sessions, as we are seeing today. And unlike today, the minority could issue subpoenas, and the president’s counsel was present to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence. Secrecy and fairness go hand in hand. One without the other is corrupt.

The partisan nature of the Democrats’ inquiry will backfire in a number of ways. For one thing, it allows Republicans to make the case to the American people that the process is unfair, and if there is one thing Americans demand, it is fairness. If the facts are on the Democrats’ side, they have nothing to fear from transparency and due process. Second, their partisan behavior has given the president justification to refuse to cooperate with the investigation, just as President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to cooperate with the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. And finally, it has made it easier for congressional Republicans to rally around the president. Right now, Republicans are more torn about Trump’s Syria policy than they are about his impeachment inquiry. By failing to show even a modicum of fairness, Democrats have turned impeachment into a game of shirts vs. skins.

The Democrats’ conduct shows that they are not serious, and that the entire impeachment inquiry is a blatantly political exercise. Given the Constitution’s requirement of a supermajority in the Senate to remove the president, it is impossible for one party to remove the president of another party from office without buy-in from the other side. Yet Democrats are making no effort to win over Republicans, much less make an impeachment vote difficult for their GOP colleagues. And that means they’ll have a hard time getting buy-in from the American people.

Read more:

Greg Sargent: Why is GOP spin growing more pathetic and lawless? Because Trump’s defenses are collapsing.

Dana Milbank: Republicans fight impeachment — with extra cheese

Tom Daschle and Trent Lott: The Senate can hold a fair impeachment trial. We did it in 1999.

Henry Olsen: Do Democrats realize McConnell would call the shots in a Senate impeachment trial?

John Yoo: The House doesn’t have to be ‘fair’ in its probe. But it should give Trump due process.

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Marc A. Thiessen Marc Thiessen writes a twice-weekly column for The Post on foreign and domestic policy. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Follow 

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ould give Trump due process.

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