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 TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos 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 ZeldinThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Sanders: 'Unfair to simply say everything is bad' in Cuba under Castro Trump allies blast Romney over impeachment vote: 'A sore loser' 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 SchiffHillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation Schiff calls on DNI Grenell to explain intelligence community changes READ: Schiff plans to investigate Trump firing intel watchdog 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 McCarthyHillicon Valley: Google bans Zoom from its work computers | Dem cautions White House against using surveillance to fight virus | Lawmakers push House leaders on remote voting Rep. Massie threatens to block next relief bill, calls for remote voting Lawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting MORE (R-Calif.) told reporters. He continued to say it was a "simple meeting" to prepare before the hearing. 

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans with COVID-19 immunity may lead US back to work Trump shakes up White House communications team Kayleigh McEnany to take over as White House press secretary 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 PerryTop conservatives pen letter to Trump with concerns on fourth coronavirus relief bill House Republicans press Trump officials on plans to contain coronavirus at border DCCC to run ads tying 11 House Republicans to Trump remarks on entitlements 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.