Trump gives shoutout to Doug Collins ahead of next phase of impeachment hearings

Trump gives shoutout to Doug Collins ahead of next phase of impeachment hearings
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE on Monday praised Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Top Republican: Democrats' weekend document dump shows impeachment inquiry is a 'farce' Trump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe MORE (Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and the president's preferred potential replacement for outgoing Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Job growth soars in November The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage Doug Collins on potential 2020 Senate run: I'm not 'ruling it out' MORE (R-Ga.), as the House moves into its third phase of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

"Great job by @RepDougCollins of Georgia over the weekend in representing the Republican Party, and myself, against the Impeachment Hoax!" Trump tweeted on Monday.

Collins forcefully defended the president and blasted Democrats’ handling of the impeachment process during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” over the weekend. The Georgia Republican called for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Top Republican: Democrats' weekend document dump shows impeachment inquiry is a 'farce' Nunes: 'Sickening' that Schiff obtained his phone records MORE (D-Calif.) — who has been at the forefront of impeachment efforts since the formal inquiry was launched — to testify before the Judiciary Committee, noting he will almost definitely be on the list of the GOP’s requested witnesses. His comments come just ahead of the Intelligence Committee's expected release of a report on its findings throughout the probe, which is expected to be sent to the Judiciary Committee ahead of Wednesday’s hearing.

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“I question his, you know, the motives of why he's doing it. It's easy to hide behind a report,” he told host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceTrump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests Judiciary Democrat: 'This is a classic example of an impeachable offense' Pentagon chief says he's ordered review of foreign nationals exchange programs after Pensacola shooting MORE.

“It's easy to hide behind a gavel and Intelligence Committee behind-closed-door hearings, but it's going to be another thing to actually get up and have to answer questions about what his staff knew," Collins said, "how he knew, what he did about the whistleblower report, his interactions that he's had with Ukraine, the other things that he's had over time in this process and also why he has still not released documents to our committee and reports to our committee that we need to actually proceed in our committee of Judiciary Committee, which is the committee of impeachment. I have a question. Why are they hiding this stuff from us?”

Trump’s compliment also comes shortly before Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is expected to announce who will be appointed to replace Isakson, who is slated to vacate his seat at the end of the year after enduring a series of health complications.

Recent reports indicate Kemp will select business executive Kelly Loeffler, putting Kemp at odds with the president. 

Kemp recently attended a tense meeting at the White House where the president advocated for Collins — one of his most vocal supporters in the lower chamber — to obtain the position, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

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Collins is seen by some as a potential key ally in voting against impeachment if it moves to the upper chamber if he’s appointed to replace the outgoing senator.

Kemp recently asserted in a tweet that any potential appointee to fill Isakson’s seat will align with Trump on key policy areas.

Collins has also not ruled out the possibility of running for the upper chamber if he is not appointed to the role.