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Rep. Titus On The Next Step In The Impeachment Inquiry

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Sarah Silbiger/Reuters

The push to impeach President Donald Trump is moving forward. 

 

Thursday, the House of Representatives authorized a resolution for the House Intelligence Committee to conduct open hearings and allow the president’s attorneys to cross-examine witnesses. 
 

Dina Titus is Nevada’s only congressional member right in the middle of it. 

 

Titus has a seat on a panel hearing closed-door testimony about the president and that call to Ukraine. According to a whistleblower's complaint, in that call the president asked the new president of Ukraine for a "favor." He wanted Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son. At the same time, around $400 million in military aid for the country already  approved by Congress, had not been delivered.

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The president has said the call with the Ukranian president was "perfect" and there was no pressure from him to investigate the Bidens in order to get the military aid. He continues to call the impeachment inquiry a "witch hunt."

Titus serves on the Foreign Service Committee, which is one of three committees participating in the inquiry. The other two are the Oversight and Intelligence committees. 

Titus defended the closed-door process up until this point, stating it has gone the same as it had been for all other impeachment inquiries of which there have only been three; Andrew Johnson in 1868, Richard Nixon in 1974 and Bill Clinton in 1998 

Titus compared the process to a deposition in a legal proceeding. She said it is done this way to prevent witnesses from lining up their stories.

Republicans in the House have complained about that process. Some even went to the point of storming a committee hearing to protest not being allowed in. 

Titus noted that there are Republicans in the closed-door sessions and they are allowed to question witnesses just like every other member of the committee.

“They have no defense for what has come out, what the president has done, what the president himself has admitted he’s done, what his chief of staff has said on television that he’s done, so they have to deflect and to distract,” she said, “So one of the things they’re doing is focusing on the process, like the process isn’t fair.”

Once the House is finished with its portion of the impeachment process, it will be up to the Senate to try the case against the president. In both President Johnson and President Clinton's case, the Senate decided to acquit. 

Titus admitted that could happen here with Republicans in the majority, but said it was the House's constitutional duty to go through with the process whether the Senate decides to remove him or not.

"It's our constitutional duty," she said, "We have to make the case and certainly it will play in the next election, whether he's removed or not."

When Bill Clinton was impeached, but not removed from office, Republicans paid a price at the polls during the next election in 2000. Republican leadership at the time later decided the impeachment effort backfired.

Titus is not concerned about that. She said that the issues are different and so are the two presidents in question. 

She also brushed off the idea that the House was going through with the impeachment process to make the president look bad.

"Donald Trump doesn't need us to look bad," she said.

Despite the quip, the congresswoman said no one took the process lightly. She said there were no cheers after the vote, and everyone understood the seriousness of the situation.

"Nobody is happy about having to do this," she said, "It is kind of a sad moment in our nation's history."

Guests

Rep. Dina Titus, D-NV

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