Graham condemns probe process

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and others visit the casket of Rep. Elijah Cummings in National Statuary Hall at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Cummings died Oct. 17 at the age of 68 from “complications concerning longstanding health challenges.” He is the first African American lawmaker to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. Matt McClain/Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., advertised a news conference Thursday to announce a resolution condemning the House impeachment inquiry as partisan rancor continued to escalate over the Ukraine scandal.

After two dramatic days of closed-door depositions, House investigators are pausing in honor of the late congressman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the former House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman who will lie in state in the Capitol.

But debate over the fairness of the inquiry is continuing unabated, with President Donald Trump praising House Republicans for storming a secure room where dispositions are being held and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., accusing GOP lawmakers of “covering up” for a president abusing his power.

Democrats, meanwhile, are looking to make the proceedings public by mid-November as they build a case about Trump pressing Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden while U.S. military aid to the country was being withheld.

After urging House Republicans earlier this week to “get tough and fight,” Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to praise them for being “tough, smart and understanding.”

His tweet followed the storming by Republicans on Wednesday of the secure room where closed-door depositions are being held during the impeachment inquiry.

“Thank you to House Republicans for being tough, smart, and understanding in detail the greatest Witch Hunt in American History,” Trump tweeted. “It has been going on since long before I even got Elected (the Insurance Policy!). A total Scam!”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., called the impeachment inquiry a “Soviet-style star chamber” Thursday and lashed out at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who is leading it.

Schiff and other Democrats have compared the process to that of a grand jury and said the private depositions are necessary so that witnesses don’t coordinate testimony.

Democrats and Republicans are allowed to participate in the questioning.

In the other chamber, Pelosi on Thursday accused House Republicans of “covering up for a president who abuses his power.”

In a tweet, Pelosi pointed to news coverage of a House bill passed Wednesday largely along party lines that seeks to provide additional protections of the country’s elections from foreign interference.

Among other things, the bill would require candidates and political committees to notify the FBI if a foreign power offers campaign help. It also includes stricter rules for political advertisements on social media.

Republicans have argued that the bill raises concerns about free speech and is unenforceable.

“We took action to protect our elections from foreign interference,” Pelosi wrote. “House Republicans, once again, voted against that - choosing instead to continue covering up for a president who abuses his power. It’s outrageous.”


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