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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 TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing 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 US has a significant flooding problem — Congress can help GOP lawmakers ask acting inspector general to investigate John Kerry Andrew Giuliani to meet with Trump before potential New York gubernatorial campaign 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 SchiffFree Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech Trump backs Stefanik to replace Cheney Gender politics hound GOP in Cheney drama 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 McCarthySunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as White House continues to push vaccination effort Trump spokesman says defeating Cheney a top priority Gaetz, Greene tout push to oust Cheney: 'Maybe we're the leaders' MORE (R-Calif.) told reporters. He continued to say it was a "simple meeting" to prepare before the hearing. 

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBoehner finally calls it as he sees it Stephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits A year with the coronavirus: How we got here 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 PerryFive takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks Gaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program US Chamber enters hostile takeover by crony capitalists 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.