Rep. Collins comments on Third Special Counsel’s Report Hearing

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, made the following opening statement Thursday at the committee’s third hearing on the special counsel’s report.  Ranking Member Collins said, “The title of this hearing is “Constitutional Processes for Addressing Presidential Misconduct.” Why not just call it an impeachment hearing? Well, I suspect the Democrats don’t want to directly offend either their supposedly “moderate” wing, by flirting with impeachment overtly, or their leftist majority, by holding no hearings at all.  We all know, though, this hearing today is really about impeachment even if the hearing title doesn’t admit as much. The title of this hearing is a façade.  The question is who’s being duped? Is it the people on the other side of the dais, the lawmakers who have supported impeachment on the record and who believe only impeachment can save America? Or, is it Democrat lawmakers who understand baseless impeachment proceedings alienate the constituents who sent us here to legislate? Democrats are holding this hearing to placate someone, we know that much.  At a previous hearing, John Dean, of Nixon impeachment fame, or rather, infamy, applied the refrain “worse than Watergate!”, which he’d already levied against Presidents Reagan and Bush, against the current president. Today, we welcome Michael Gerhardt, who appeared at the impeachment hearings involving President Clinton. When are we going to have witnesses who can speak with direct knowledge of whatever facts there are behind the endless allegations about the winning 2016 election ticket? We’ll finally have Robert Mueller next week, of course, but we have a problem here today.  What is our problem today? We have yet another hearing regurgitating the findings of Special Counsel Mueller the Friday before Mueller himself appears before this same committee. What have the Democrats done to date, beyond relying solely on Mueller’s findings? Nothing. What new evidence have they uncovered? None. Instead, what we’ve seen from committee Democrats are blunderbuss document requests without any serious follow-up. Even when Democrats receive documents, they embrace showy subpoenas for people who have indicated they’re more than happy to cooperate with the chairman’s requests. Then, we’ve had a series of hearings producing zero new information. Even when every majority witness testified this May that the chairman’s subpoena to Attorney General Barr would have required him to break the law, we only heard from those witnesses what we already knew.  The lack of results is unsurprising given the fact none of the “witnesses” actually witnessed any of the president’s alleged misconduct. They nevertheless opine at length there was collusion with Russia, ignoring Mueller’s explicit conclusion to the contrary, and obstruction, when the Mueller report says no such thing. The title of today’s hearing is icing on the rotten cake. As the chairman knows, there are very few remedies for “presidential misconduct” that don’t begin with “I.” Unfortunately for Democrats, we don’t have a constitutional crisis in this country. Special Counsel Mueller found there was no collusion with Russia, and did not conclude there was obstruction, of an offense that didn’t occur in the first place, but, here we are, for part three of the chairman’s effort to re-do the Mueller report. What is certain is this hearing is miles away from the respect for this committee’s responsibility to bring legislative solutions to bear on the challenges facing Americans and their families. The border remains in disarray as Democrats refuse to support or fund solutions. China is running away with American innovation at great risk to our economy and national security. The government is again at risk of shutting down because Democrats can’t pass their own funding bills, most recently, a supplemental for a border crisis they claim to care about. Yet here we sit, about to discuss constitutional remedies for a problem Mueller’s report confirms never existed.  Mr. Chairman, I wish I could say I look forward to hearing from all our witnesses today. Unfortunately, I must once again say, the circus continues.”