U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, is troubled by the process outlined for the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump and he’s not convinced that the evidence disclosed so far rises to the level of impeachment.
Hill, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, spoke extensively on the impeachment inquiry underway in Congress as well as on issues of trade and Syria. The Second District Republican, who is running for a fourth term, said the impeachment inquiry differs greatly from those of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
“I found this one lacking in transparency, lacking in due process rights for the president and his witnesses. And lacking in fairness between the minority and majority, compared to those. And I thought it violated Speaker Pelosi’s desire to have a fair and open transparent process,” Hill said.
When asked if his concern is limited to process or the President’s alleged behavior, Hill said “the process” is all that Congress has been allowed to vote on thus far.
“The Democrats in the House have every right as a co-equal branch of government to do inquiry about things that they don’t think President Trump has done right or well, through the normal oversight process. It’s Nancy Pelosi that’s called an impeachment inquiry, when just a few months ago she said we would never commence an impeachment inquiry unless there was overwhelming evidence to that point and that it was fully bipartisan. And she’s not even hit her own threshold for that,” he added.
When asked about the President’s call summary, the whistleblower complaint, and other testimony that shows Trump used the power and influence of his office to withhold military aid to Ukraine in return for the promise of investigating Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, Rep. Hill said he’s not sure if those are the facts and, if so, if the allegations are impeachable.
“I don’t know that you can read it that way because I don’t think that that’s what the evidence has shown, and that’s not what the evidence has been laid out on a fair and open basis,” Hill said. “I think you can look at Ambassador Volker’s testimony or Bill Taylor’s testimony and come to a different conclusion on that.”
Volker, the U.S. envoy to Ukraine, has said that he was unaware of a linkage of aid to an investigation. Taylor, the U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, has testified he understood the White House was holding up military aid and a prospective White House meeting for a public announcement that a Ukrainian corruption probe into the Bidens was underway. Others have testified in support of Taylor’s version of events.
“I don’t know that we can connect all those dots. If we had a fair and open hearing with cross-examination, multiple witnesses, open hearing, maybe somebody could call it, draw that conclusion,” Hill said. “I’m not on this committee listening to this information. So that’s unclear to me.”
The House is working through the Intelligence Committee to conduct open hearings on the impeachment inquiry. The first public hearings will start this coming Wednesday.
Hill also discussed the trade war with China, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement to replace NAFTA, and the situation in Syria. You can watch his full interview in the video below.