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GOP rep: Impeachment 'sham' is 'taking all the oxygen' out of Washington

Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceHillicon Valley: Department of Justice sues Google | House Republicans push for tech bias hearing | Biden drawing more Twitter engagement for first time House Republicans push VA for details on recent data breach IRS closes in on final phase of challenging tax season MORE (R-Ga.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Wednesday said that the impeachment process has completely taken over Washington, adding that it is a top concern among the constituents in his district.

“There’s no way to be in the district right now without people asking about and talking about the impeachment — it is absolutely taking all the oxygen out of the air both in Washington and in here in the district,” Hice, who represents Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, told Hill.TV.

Hice added that people are “fed up” with impeachment, which he dismissed as a “sham.”

Trump and his allies have long railed against the impeachment process, frequently referring to it as a “witch hunt.” Hice echoed these sentiments in his interview with Hill.TV, maintaining that if Trump committed an impeachment offense it would be something both Democrats and Republicans would recognize “as absolutely wrong.”

“This whole thing has been put together improperly," he said. "It’s been a partisan witch hunt from the very beginning and I think in a real impeachment hearing both sides of the aisle would be very much aware that whatever action took place is wrong, it’s criminal and we need to address it as a full Congress.” 

The Democrat-led House voted in December to impeach Trump on two counts. The first article of impeachment alleges that Trump abused his power by withholding military aid in an effort to pressure Ukraine to open investigations that would benefit politically and the second one alleges that he obstructed Congress during its inquiry into those dealings with the country.

A divided Senate is now set to kick off opening arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial today after Republicans forced through a resolution establishing the procedures early this morning.

Senators voted 53-47 on the resolution effectively capping off hours of debate and rejecting Democrats’ demands for additional witnesses and documents related to the delayed Ukraine aid.

While Democrats were unsuccessful in their attempt to get language added to the resolution, they were able to effect some last-minute changes. The first change gives House managers and Trump’s legal team three days instead of two to make their opening arguments, and the second one requires that House evidence be automatically included in the trial record.

But Hice predicted that Trump would ultimately be acquitted.  

"It is such a flimsy argument that the House put together and I think when it’s all said and done the president’s going to be fully acquitted," he said.

— Tess Bonn