House Republicans prepare for public impeachment proceedings with mock hearing

House Republicans prepare for public impeachment proceedings with mock hearing
© Greg Nash

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, members of GOP leadership and a select number of President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE’s strongest defenders in the lower chamber gathered in the Capitol basement where they held a mock impeachment hearing on Tuesday afternoon to prepare for Wednesday’s public hearing.  

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinBoth sides of the aisle call for local, state, federal cooperation on homelessness Trump tweets American flag amid reports of strike against Iranian general House votes to temporarily repeal Trump SALT deduction cap MORE (R-N.Y.) — a top Trump defender and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee who took part in the closed-door impeachment hearings — played the part of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: GAO finds administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid | Senate opens Trump trial | Pentagon to resume training Saudi students soon Schiff schedules public hearing with US intel chief  Harris calls for Parnas to testify at Senate trial MORE (D-Calif.) while a staff attorney played the role of William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, a source in the room told The Hill. 

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“We want to make sure all the truth gets out, we don't think there's any reason why the president should even move through this impeachment," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOvernight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 Republicans offer details on environmental proposals after Democrats roll out plan GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts MORE (R-Calif.) told reporters. He continued to say it was a "simple meeting" to prepare before the hearing. 

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsRepublicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles Trump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers MORE (R-N.C.) expressed optimism when asked if GOP members of the Intelligence Committee are prepared for the event. 

"I tell you, the good thing is we've got a good set of facts,” he told reporters while exiting the meeting. 

Top Republicans have been highly critical of the restrictions placed on the witnesses they are able to call in and the format that will be used for the hearings, noting it could be a challenge for them. 

“Well, you know, it's very difficult with the parameters that they set. Are we getting no witnesses? ... Schiff is controlling all the time," McCarthy told reporters. 

"I mean, this is really — I can't believe the members on the other side would allow Schiff to continue to take all their time."

Rep. Scott PerryScott Gordon PerryKoch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says Overnight Health Care: New drug price hikes set stage for 2020 fight | Conservative group to spend M attacking Pelosi drug plan | Study finds Medicaid expansion improved health in Southern states Conservative group to spend M attacking Pelosi's drug pricing plan MORE (R-Pa.) had similar sentiments as McCarthy on the fairness of the hearings. 

“What's really frustrating is we're having a conversation, investigation that includes, for instance, Hunter Biden. We've requested — that's essentially one of the big things, one of the pivotal components of the investigation so to speak, of the inquiry — and we're not going to be allowed to have a conversation with this individual?” he told The Hill. “That seems really one-sided, doesn’t it?”

In addition to the mock hearing, GOP lawmakers were sent a memo crafted by the chairmen of the committees that have taken part in the closed-door portion of the impeachment inquiry providing guidance on strategy for defending the president.  

The memo largely centers on “four key pieces of evidence” they feel undermine Democrats’ attacks on the president. 

They also scheduled a conference meeting focused on impeachment strategy for Tuesday evening.