Stay tuned: A nation watches impeachment drama play out

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, D-California. (Photo by Gage Skidmore | Creative Commons)

Republicans and Democrats are divided as hearings begin Nov. 13

Adam Schiff, D-California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced the first two open hearings of the impeachment inquiry for President Donald J. Trump next week.

The first hearing will be Nov. 13 and the second hearing is on Nov. 15.

Three individuals from the State Department will testify. Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent testify on Wednesday and Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, speaks to the committee on Friday.

Hearings before have been behind closed doors.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, gave the go on the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24 after being expressing her reluctance to go that route. But she has often said no matter the process, Trump “must be held accountable.”

Related: Congress begins impeachment inquiry after 'violation of law'

New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, has been upfront about her stance on the president.

“I can’t sit back while our communities live in fear because of this president. He and his friends continue to enrich themselves and abuse their power while New Mexicans are struggling,” she said back in August. “Meanwhile, the president and his administration stonewall Congress and refuse to cooperate with congressional investigations; they are impeding the ability of Congress to get to the truth.”

The Democratic representative then voted “yes” on the resolution to take the next steps in the impeachment inquiry on Oct. 31.

“This President has betrayed his oath of office. We have the responsibility to uphold our Constitution and ensure that no one, not even the president, is above the law, but President Trump and his Administration have obstructed this investigation at every turn,” she said in a press release.

Related: Haaland says Congress should use impeachment to get to the truth

Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, waited to weigh in on the impeachment inquiry until the day after Pelosi’s announcement.

“After careful deliberation, I am supporting the House of Representatives taking the first step in an impeachment process, beginning an impeachment inquiry,” she said in a press release on Sept. 25. “I did not arrive at this decision lightly or without full deliberation. I listened closely to the Kansans who reached out to my office. I read and evaluated the White House’s version of the call in question. And I fully expect to read the whistleblower report that the Administration turned over to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees this evening.”

Davids voted for the resolution when the day came.

“The resolution I voted for today establishes an open, transparent process for the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry, which includes public bipartisan hearings,” she said on Oct. 31. “Kansans and the American people deserve to see the facts for themselves.”

Related: A tale of ‘what if’ … impeachment and Indigenous policies

On the side of the aisle, Republican Rep. Tom Cole, Chickasaw, of Oklahoma has opposed the impeachment inquiry from the beginning.

He released a statement in September.

“Speaker Pelosi and her fellow Democrats are doing an enormous disservice to the country by recklessly pursuing a partisan impeachment inquiry that puts the priorities of their Caucus ahead of the needs of the American people," he said. "Whether right or wrong, it’s clear that House Democrats have already decided what they want to believe. This is an alarming disservice to the American people, who rely on their lawmakers to seek the truth – not politically motivated smear campaigns.

“As an elected body of members entrusted with defending the Constitution, the People’s House should be working to actually improve the lives of the American people. Unfortunately, Democrats are set on condemning the president at every turn and in the process damaging the House as an institution.”

Just last week while voting no on the House floor, Cole said, “It is not a fair process, it is not an open process, it is not a transparent process, but instead a limited, closed process with a pre-ordained outcome.”

Cole serves as the ranking member of the House Rules Committee where they had to view the resolution and went more in-depth on his weekly column, which is also published on Indian Country Today as an Op-Ed, on why this is a “flawed impeachment process.”

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee, also back the president. The Republican representative released a statement on the day he voted against the resolution.

“This is nothing more than a vote to continue the sham process the Democrats have run for the past 37 days,” Mullin said. “This resolution does not authorize an impeachment inquiry, does not make all hearings, transcripts and depositions open to the public, and does not give due process to our duly elected president. From the start, the impeachment inquiry has been an attempt to undo the last election and this resolution doesn’t change that.”

He has been holding impeachment updates in different counties within his district. 

On Oct. 28 he said, “The impeachment inquiry, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman Adam Schiff, is happening behind closed doors and the American people are being left in the dark.”

“I am holding Impeachment Updates in four counties to give my constituents a chance to hear what has happened so far, what the process looks like moving forward, and ask questions about the inquiry,” Mullin said. “Impeaching the president is a serious matter and they deserve to know what is going on.”

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Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Diné, is the Washington editor for Indian Country Today based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter: @jourdanbb. Email: jbennett-begaye@indiancountrytoday.com.

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