Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) penned a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday demanding that the Democrat-led committees immediately release the transcripts of the closed-door hearings that have taken place as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
“Despite the vote in the House on October 31, House Democrats continue to conduct the partisan effort to impeach the President in secret,” Cheney wrote in the letter. “Your duty to the Constitution and the American people, as well as fundamental fairness, requires that you immediately release the full transcripts of all depositions taken since you pronounced the beginning of an impeachment inquiry on September 24, 2019.”
“The selective leaking in which the House Intelligence Committee has been engaged must end immediately and the full and complete record must be provided for the American people to see,” she added.
Cheney’s request comes only a day after the full House voted on a resolution establishing the process for the impeachment investigation into the president. The measure passed largely along party lines, 232-196, with only two Democrats defecting on the vote. The resolution outlines how the House Intelligence Committee will proceed with the hearings and gather evidence before turning over the process to the House Judiciary Committee to craft the articles of impeachment, but, Cheney argued, it does not bring additional transparency to the process.
Republicans have been sounding the alarm over how secretly Democrats have been conducting the impeachment hearings. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee and has been a vocal critic of the process, revealed earlier in October that Democrats have only made the testimony from two witnesses even available to committee members — that of U.S. special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Even then, Democrats have severely restricted the availability of transcripts.
“This has been a closed-door, unfair, and unprecedented process. Tens of millions of Americans should know that their member of Congress has had no access to any of the transcripts. In fact, no member has been able to read every transcript,” Stefanik told reporters on October 22.
“We were notified this week at our staff level that they would only be printing one transcript for every single member, whether you’re on the committee or not, and you would have to read it with a member of Democratic staff,” Stefanik explained further. “That is unprecedented and unfair.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is leading the impeachment charge, promised to begin releasing transcripts “as early as next week.” Schiff, however, has been facing backlash for not only conducting close-door hearings in the basement of the Capitol Building, but for promulgating theories that have later been debunked.
Accordingly, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) filed an ethics complaint against Adam Schiff on Wednesday for his “blatant and clear-cut violation of longstanding parliamentary precedent” over the impeachment inquiry.
The California congressman has been making the rounds on news programs and press conferences discussing private information that has leaked from witnesses’ closed door depositions. While the source of the leaks has not been confirmed, many lawmakers have been pointing at Schiff himself.