GOP lawmaker compares Trump impeachment hearings to 'Star Wars': It's 'The Empire Strikes Back'
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Rep. Ben ClineBenjamin (Ben) Lee ClineGOP votes to dump Cheney from leadership Virginia GOP set for wild, unpredictable convention Garland emphasizes national security, civil rights in budget hearing MORE (R-Va.) referenced the "Star Wars" saga while defending President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE amid the House’s impeachment inquiry into his dealings in Ukraine, comparing the ongoing effort by Democrats to “the empire” striking back. 

During an appearance on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom” on Monday morning, Cline was pressed by co-anchor Sandra Smith on what he expects to see later this week when the House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing in the impeachment investigation. 

“Well, you know with the Mueller report, look at it this way, we had 'Star Wars,' the empire got destroyed, just like the Mueller report got destroyed,” Cline responded, referring to former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's Russia investigation.

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“The sequel is here, it’s ‘The Empire Strikes Back,' or as we like to say, the Intelligence Committee strikes back. [Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse erupts in anger over Jan. 6 and Trump's role Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Lobbying world MORE [D-Calif.] strikes back,” he said. “But we all know how this story ends. The rebels win. Ultimately, the president will be exonerated and we don’t anticipate there being any reason to go forward with these hearings.” 

As part of the impeachment inquiry, lawmakers have been investigating whether the president withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for politically favorable investigations. The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on Wednesday as the panel determines whether to bring articles of impeachment against Trump. 

The House Intelligence Committee heard from current and former Trump administration officials over two weeks prior to the Thanksgiving holiday recess. On Tuesday, members of the panel are expected to vote on whether to adopt the findings of its investigation. Members of the Judiciary Committee, including Cline, are expected to receive the report shortly afterward. 

During his appearance on Fox News on Monday, Cline expressed frustration over the amount of time lawmakers will have to review the report prior to Wednesday's hearing.

“But to be clear you haven’t seen it yet, the Schiff report?” Smith asked Cline.

“No, nobody has. It hasn’t hit our desks yet and we’re being asked to come in for a Wednesday hearing and look at a report on Tuesday,” Cline responded.

“So, it’s ridiculous to the extreme. It’s [House Judiciary Committee Chairman] Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHere's what Congress is reading at the beach this summer Activists see momentum as three new states legalize marijuana Supreme Court expansion push starts to fizzle MORE [D-N.Y.] at his finest again,” he said, adding, “We’ll deal with it just as we dealt with the Mueller report, which is just reveal all of the facts that are lacking in the report and the fact that this president has done nothing wrong that rises to a level of an impeachable crime and so I think a short set of hearings in Judiciary.”