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Thu Oct 31, 2019, 06:33 PM

WaPo Editorial Board: Impeachment is going public. Republicans will find it harder to hide.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/impeachment-is-going-public-republicans-will-find-it-harder-to-hide/2019/10/31/d711c504-fbfc-11e9-8190-6be4deb56e01_story.html

By Editorial Board

Oct. 31, 2019 at 3:16 p.m. EDT

HOUSE DEMOCRATS took an important step in the impeachment process Thursday by approving a resolution that will open what, so far, have been closed hearings, with due-process guarantees for President Trump and his defenders. Predictably, Republicans who spent weeks demanding just such transparency and fairness voted unanimously against the resolution. Nevertheless, the open hearings that will now take place should allow Americans to hear and understand how Mr. Trump attempted to coerce the Ukrainian government into helping his 2020 reelection campaign. For their part, Republicans might have to take a stand on whether that behavior was proper.

Mr. Trump and his lawyers will have the opportunity to make statements, question witnesses and call their own, with the concurrence of the committee chairman. The rules are virtually identical to those adopted by Republicans when they pursued the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998 — which makes their breathless claims about a “Soviet” process ludicrous as well as dishonest. One wrinkle is a provision that if Mr. Trump “unlawfully” refuses to make witnesses available or produce documents — as he has so far — the committee chair may restrict the president’s privileges. It seems only reasonable that Mr. Trump should not be allowed to call his own witnesses while blocking those sought by Democrats.

For now, it appears there are numerous honorable public servants willing to testify to Mr. Trump’s abuses, despite White House efforts to silence them. The latest on Thursday was Tim Morrison, a conservative Republican who served as senior adviser for Russia and Ukraine on the National Security Council.

According to The Post, Mr. Morrison offered firsthand confirmation of two crucial moments in Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign against the Ukrainians. He said that he told the senior U.S. diplomat in Kyiv, William B. Taylor Jr., that the Ukrainians had been informed that U.S. military aid would be withheld until they announced an investigation of a gas company that employed Joe Biden’s son Hunter. In another conversation, Mr. Morrison told Mr. Taylor that Mr. Trump, during a phone call with Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had insisted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announce an investigation of the Bidens as well as of Ukraine’s alleged role in the 2016 election.

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The repugs will rue the day they bleated about how they wanted open hearings.

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