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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 TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit 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 ZeldinGOP divided over Liz Cheney's future READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Rep. Lee Zeldin fends off Democratic opponent in New York 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 SchiffWhat our kids should know after the Capitol Hill riot  Pelosi names 9 impeachment managers Democrats, GOP face defining moments after Capitol riot 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 McCarthyGOP divided over Liz Cheney's future Democrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Pelosi suggests criminal charges for any lawmaker who helped with Capitol riot MORE (R-Calif.) told reporters. He continued to say it was a "simple meeting" to prepare before the hearing. 

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAgency official says Capitol riot hit close to home for former Transportation secretary Chao Republicans wrestle over removing Trump Pressure grows on Trump to leave 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 PerryDemocrats to levy fines on maskless lawmakers on House floor Growing number of lawmakers test positive for COVID-19 after Capitol siege New Jersey Democrat thinks she contracted coronavirus during Capitol siege 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.