Republican Mike Turner, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop what he described as a “secret” impeachment inquiry against US President Donald Trump, Fox News cited Turner’s message to Pelosi as saying.
Turner specifically referred to the Intelligence Committee’s 3 October transcribed interview of former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, which was followed by media leaks that Turner claimed are in “direct contradiction with Volker's testimony”.
Volker resigned from his post in late September after being named in a whistleblower complaint related to a July phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
The whistleblower complaint alleged that Volker had coordinated meetings with Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian officials. The complaint also claimed that Volker went to the Ukrainian capital Kiev to advise Ukrainian officials on how to fulfil Trump's requests.
“Nothing in that [Volker's] testimony was classified, and yet it was conducted behind closed doors and a transcript has yet to be released. The American public deserve to witness these hearings, not just receive anonymous secondhand reports […]. This represents an attempt by you [Pelosi] to totally control what information the American public is receiving in reporting on this impeachment inquiry,” he argued.
Turner accused Pelosi of “robbing the American public of their right to judge for themselves the veracity and credibility of these witnesses and this investigation”.
According to him, “the American public is also unable in this process to judge the professionalism, predisposition, and bias of the questioners in this inquiry”.
Additionally, Turner singled out a CNN report claiming that House of Representative General Counsel Doug Letter told a federal judge that President Trump did not have to commit a crime to be impeached.
He insisted that while the US Constitution clarifies that the President shall […] be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors, Pelosi’s “legal counsel is now trying to argue blatantly against the Constitution”.
“Madam Speaker, I remember firsthand watching the Nixon impeachment hearings. Your impeachment inquiry, in sharp contrast, is being conducted in secret hearings, with potentially secret witnesses, and has a secret inception. The American public and our constitutional processes deserve transparency,” Turner concluded.
His message to Pelosi comes a day after Republican Jim Jordan called on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, to release the full transcript of the Volker interview in order to prove that there was no quid pro quo agreement between Trump and Zelensky.
Impeachment Probe Against Trump
The ongoing impeachment proceedings Trump pertain to accusations that his phone call with Zelensky included his pressuring the Ukrainian President into investigating corruption on the part of former vice president and 2020 Democratic hopeful Joe Biden and his son Hunter by threatening to withdraw military support from Kiev.
Democrats argued that the alleged quid pro quo and the move by Trump to solicit a foreign power to investigate a political rival violate US law.
Trump described the allegations as a “hoax” and a “political witch hunt" to reverse the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election.