Once the floor was open for questions, it didn’t take long for a town hall meeting dedicated to discussing the ongoing presidential impeachment precedings to devolve into yelling, name calling, and finger pointing.
This week Congressman Markwayne Mullin has been traveling the second district holding town hall meetings for the purpose of updating constituents on the impeachment proceeding. Claremore residents were in attendance during his Wednesday stop at the MidAmerica Industrial Park.
“I want to tell you where we’re at, give you some background information, inform you of what’s happened and how we got to this point,then I’ll open it up for questions,” he said, kicking off the meeting. “Everything I’m showing you, everything I’m going through, it’s all documented. This isn’t my opinion, this isn’t my spin, this is their own words that I’m using.”
First, Mullin showed a news station’s video clip of Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff pointing out what he said were untrue statements.
“None of that is in the transcript,” Mullin said stopping the video. “Completely, 100 percent, made up...I don’t care if you’re republican or democrat, it should make your blood boil that not once, not twice, but three times within a week openly lied to the American people.”
Mullin moved on to discuss “the whistle blower account” saying: “Thirty-seven separate times the whistle blower said he/she was informed or told, nine times said I don’t know or have direct knowledge, 20 times referred to open publications. Not one single account in the whistle blower report was there firsthand account,” Mullin said. “Second hand knowledge doesn’t mean anything.”
Where are we now?
“Speaker Pelosi announced on Sept. 24 that she was beginning an impeachment inquiry. The House has still not voted to authorize an official impeachment inquiry,” Mullin said. “The House held a vote on Oct. 31 to outline the procedures for hearings moving forward.”
What is an impeachable offense?
“Treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. That’s article two, section four of the U.S. Constitution,” he read.
He then went on to explain the impeachment procedures in the House.
“The full House votes to authorize the impeachment inquiry. Every time this has happened in the past—Johnson, Nixon, Clinton— that vote was bipartisan to move forward. The only bipartisan vote that took place Thursday was two democrats voted with us and said ‘no, we’re not moving forward.’” he said. “The House investigates what, if any, high crimes and misdemeanors have taken place. The Judiciary Committee draws up and votes on articles of impeachment. The full house then votes on the articles, that means we vote on how we’re going to move forward.”
What happens from here?
“More than likely the president is going to move through the proceeding and be probably impeached out of the House. It’s going to be straight on party lines. If there’s any partisan, it will be on our side, I don’t think you’ll find any republicans voting for this. If anything, you’ll find some democrats are going to come over and vote with us,” he said.
Mullin said he predicts it will get the 218 votes necessary and move to the Senate.
“When it moves to the Senate, the House then works as the prosecuting attorney. The senators then work as a jury. The president, at that time, can have counsel for the first time...Then, our Chief Justice will preside over the hearings,” he said. “There hasn’t been a single president ever convicted...There is zero chance that Trump gets convicted as it moves to the senate?
So why are they doing this, Mullin asked.
“Democrats have been trying to impeach the president since the day he was elected,” Mullin said, playing another news video.
“What’s it about?” Mullin asked, setting up another video in which Al Green says, “I’m afraid if we don’t impeach this president he will get re-elected.”
Mullin continued, “What it’s really about is that they can’t run against his policies because his policies have been working for our country. You can’t go after his policies. So you can only go after his demeanor and tactics. We didn’t elect a politically correct president, that’s not who the American people elected. We’re tired of being politically correct.”
Before opening the floor for questions, Mullin painted a desolate picture of the capitol, and the country as a whole.
“It is probably one of the most contested times since I’ve been in D.C. People will say ‘is it really as bad as it seems?’ And I’d say ‘no, no it’s not. Most of us get along.’ But is it as bad as it seems now? Yes. In fact, it’s worse. I don’t think the news can even show the actual contempt they have for this president. I don’t think people understand how aggressive the democrat party in D. C. has become in attacking this president and everything he stands for,” he said.
From the second row, a hand was raised ready to ask a question before the congressman had finished his sentence welcoming them.
Prepared question in hand, a woman asked, “I saw on TV where you all barged into the Sensitive Compartmental Information Facility where they were holding the inquiry deposition, which is the discovery phase, with your cell phones which are against house rules, obstructing congress. Not only did you hold up the deposition for five hours eating your Dominos pizza and Chic-Fil-A, leaving your boxes of trash behind in the court room, but you also compromised our national security with your cell phones.”
She said she was appalled and embarrassed and reached out to the congressman’s office.
“You responded saying ‘An impeachment inquiry is a serious process and should be handled with respect. This must be transparent and a fair process. Every American deserves to hear for themselves what’s being said behind closed doors.’ My question to you, do you feel you treated the deposition fairly and with respect by compromising our national security, which is against the law? Also, those deposition hearings were conducted by both democrats and republicans to investigate behind closed doors to protect our country in order that they may not disclose top secret information,” she said.
Shouting erupted when Mullin attempted to interrupt the question.
“You were screaming transparency. Yet you voted against moving forward with the impeachment inquiry which means hearings will be heard in an open forum and will be transparent. You voted against this process,” she continued.
Mullin again attempted to stop the question. Again, voices got louder and the woman continued her line of questioning, raising her voice to be heard over the now-yelling crowd.
“Let me break everything down to you,” Mullin said. “Everything that was reported was absolutely, positively not true.”
The woman interrupted to say she’d researched the situation.
“I appreciate you researching it since everything online is true,” he said.
“We went down there for an interview. We walked in and said we wanted to see the transcript. It was only supposed to be five of us but more entered in as the media began asking questions...They had a list laid out of people approved to go in,” he said. “There were only about six republicans that were approved to go in. There was 12 democrats on there.”
He said as they stood there, they watched democrats walking in and being granted access.
“They said any democrats could get in, but only six republicans. So more and more started signing in. I thought, ‘I have the same clearance they do. I have the same rights they do,” he said.
“So we walked in. By the way, I did not take my cell phone in but I appreciate you assuming I did,” he said, eliciting more yelling from the room.
He said it was soon revealed that someone, a democrat, inside the room was using their cell phone to record.
“And as for the trash, I personally picked up everything and took it out,” he said. “I’m the guy when I walk and see trash, I’ll stop and pick it up. I’m that guy.”
To the woman who asked the question he said, “Tammy, I appreciate it. I appreciate the research you’ve done, but it’s not very good research,” he said.
The next question came from the front row—“How will history look back at this impeachment process?”
“Every time this has happened in the past it was passed on a bi-partisan path to move forward. And each time a crime had been committed prior,” he said. “I think it’s a black eye on the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi was using it as a political move. There is no other way to judge this. There has been no crime committed...They’re in search of a crime. The process is broken when they’re using it with political motivation to remove our Commander in Chief...and the world is watching.”