House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins interrupted Chairman Jerry Nadler at Thursday's articles of impeachment hearing with a point of order. For the umpteenth time since the impeachment inquiry against President Trump began, Democrats have ignored Republicans' request for a separate minority hearing so they can question their own set of witnesses.
Nadler explained why he would be ignoring Collins's point of order. First, he argued, there is "no precedent" for it. Back when the Democrats were in the minority, no Republicans lobbied for them to have their own minority hearings. When former Chairman Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) did schedule a minority day hearing back in 2005, he had a hissy fit and "shut off" the microphones and the lights, preventing witness testimony. As a result "there is no committee practice or precedent" supporting the practice here, Nadler said.
What proceeded was a debate over the rules of the committee.
Collins observed that, judging by Nadler's "lengthy answer," his point of order had clearly "struck a nerve." It is not the chairman's right to decide whether hearings are sufficient or not, the ranking member said.
Nadler insisted, "I ruled that the point of order is not well taken."
"That's painfully obvious," Collins responded.
The motion was tabled, and when Nadler asked the members to vote aye or nay, Collins yelled loudly, "Nope!" so everyone could hear him.
Sen. Ted Deutch (D-FL) accused Collins of mischaracterizing the committee's history. “There’s no right to a separate day” for a minority hearing, he insisted.
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) had a copy of the rules before her too, however, and was just as outraged as the ranking member that Nadler had again rejected the Republicans' request for a minority hearing.
"It says in the rules that you require to set a date for a minority hearing," she read. Yet, here the rules "have been thrown out of the window."
"I just can't believe it," Lesko said.
The congresswoman said she was denied access several times to the closed door hearings held by House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, who by the way shouldn't have led this impeachment inquiry in the first place. That has typically been a job for the Judiciary.
The committee has not had "one single fact witness in this committee at all," Lesko said. And yet, she's "expected to vote on the articles today?"
On the GOP's list of preferred witnesses in the inquiry include Chairman Schiff, and the whistleblower who filed the complaint against Trump.