Cline compares impeachment inquiry to Soviet trials

To no one’s surprise, Congressman Cline– who has railed against closed depositions in the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry– joined every other Republican Thursday to vote against a resolution setting out procedures for open hearings he said he wanted.

In a statement trying to justify his vote, Cline continued to complain about the process of the impeachment inquiry while remaining mum on President Trump’s efforts to coerce a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a domestic political opponent. Cline still hasn’t answered a simple question: Does he think what Trump did was right or wrong?

Cline says the impeachment resolution was approved “over the objections of Members from both political parties,” when in fact only two of 234 Democrats opposed it. Former Republican turned independent Congressman Justin Amash– who said correctly that “history will not look kindly” on Trump’s defenders– voted for it.

Most breathtaking of all, Cline wrote:

An impeachment process based on incomplete testimony heard in secret by only a privileged few is reminiscent of the phony trials of the Soviet era …

The testimony has been open to the 47 Republican members of Congress who sit on committees involved in the inquiry so far. The House Judiciary Committee, of which Cline is a member, will have an opportunity to hear evidence, debate and vote on whether to recommend impeachment to the full House.

If Cline knows anything about 20th century history, he should be aware that comparing the impeachment procedure to the Soviet show trials— including false confessions obtained under torture often followed by summary executions– is an insult to the victims of those trials.

He should be ashamed.

Cline will hold town hall November 4 in Waynesboro

Congressman Cline has announced plans to hold a town hall meeting on Monday November 4 in Waynesboro  from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Fishburne Military School in the library at 225 South Wayne Avenue.

According to the announcement:

Citizens of Waynesboro will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall.

Constituents may register for the town hall here.

Perhaps some of our Waynesboro readers can take the opportunity to ask Cline about some of the things he has said and done, as chronicled here and elsewhere, since he was sworn in as our representative in Washington.

Let’s hope that this time Cline allows for some actual dialogue between him and his constituents, unlike what happened at the “town hall” in Vinton last week.


Cline helps disrupt Congressional hearing

Judging from his latest Facebook post, Congressman Cline is actually proud of participating in a pathetic, desperate stunt that disrupted a Congressional hearing Wednesday morning.

(Watch Cline enter at 0.11.)

And if Cline joined his colleagues in entering a secure facility with a cell phone or other electronic device, he may have put national security at risk.

Responding to the complaints of Cline and other Republicans about hearings “behind closed doors,” The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips makes the following points:

All Republicans on the three committees involved in this inquiry (Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight) are allowed into the hearings. Lawmakers from other committees are not allowed in, be they Republican or Democrat.

These hearings are taking place behind closed doors because lawmakers think things will be more productive that way. “The private ones always produce better results.” That is not a Democrat we are quoting. It is a Republican, former congressman Trey Gowdy, who conducted the Benghazi investigation into Hillary Clinton a few years ago and pushed back against criticism that most of the hearings were in private. A Democratic aide working on the impeachment inquiry emailed around Gowdy’s comments on Wednesday to underscore that when the shoe was on the other foot, Republicans were fine with having things behind closed doors.


The Democrats may soon hold public hearings, reports CNN. Even when those hearings are public, lawmakers not on the key committees will not be able to ask questions.

This is not a court of law. Another talking point Republicans are using is to compare this impeachment proceeding to a criminal trial. In a criminal trial, the accused gets to sit through the prosecution, call his own witnesses, present his own defense.

But this is not a court of law, this is Congress. And the Constitution gives Congress broad latitude to decide how to conduct its impeachment inquiry. It can have a vote to formalize it, or not. It can hold closed-door hearings with witnesses, or it can open them to the public. How the House gets from considering impeaching a president to taking a vote to impeach the president is up to it. The president is not being charged with a crime, so the rules of a criminal trial do not apply.

Of course none of these Republican stunts will change the course of events or influence public opinion.

In a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 55 percent of voters voiced support for the impeachment inquiry, the highest level of support recorded in Quinnipiac surveys. Forty-three percent opposed the inquiry.

In the end, House Republicans’ disruption of Wednesday’s impeachment hearings also did little to derail the effort.

After the long delay, the planned impeachment testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper resumed inside the secure facility.

If it’s part of an effort by Cline and others to display their unflagging loyalty to President Trump, the question increasingly becomes: Why?


Cline joins failed GOP effort to change the subject on impeachment

Despite the efforts of Congressman Cline and other Republicans, the House of Representatives rejected a motion to censure Congressman Adam Schiff for his role in leading the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

As Amber Phillips of The Washington Post explains:

[T]he move is emblematic of Republicans’ broader problem: They don’t have much to work with to defend Trump from allegations that he used foreign policy to benefit himself politically. So they’re trying to get mileage out of a perceived blunder by the person designated as a boogeyman on the other side. That’s the reason Republicans are pushing to censure Schiff.

Despite his opposition to impeachment, Cline has yet to address the overwhelming evidence that Trump tried to get the government of Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political opponent Joe Biden. Cline is more comfortable denouncing what he perceives as the unfairness of the process– anything to avoid dealing with the President’s egregious abuse of power.

Cline and Griffith will hold town hall October 25 in Roanoke County

Congressman Cline has announced plans to hold a town hall meeting on Friday October 25 in Roanoke County from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Vinton Senior Center, 820 East Washington Avenue, Vinton, Virginia.

Ninth District Congressman Morgan Griffith will also participate. Roanoke County is split between Cline’s and Griffith’s districts.

According to the announcement:

Citizens of Roanoke County will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall.

Constituents may register for the town hall here.

Perhaps some of our Roanoke County readers can take the opportunity to ask Cline about some of the things he has said and done, as chronicled here and elsewhere, since he was sworn in as our representative in Washington.

Cline’s Q3 campaign finance report

During the first six months of 2019, Congressman Cline’s campaign committee reported raising $215,352.50.

Now the reporting is in for the first nine months of the year. Cline’s receipts for that period total $302,528.31, which means he took in another $87,175.81 between July and September.

Some noteworthy donations to Cline’s 2020 campaign during the third quarter:

–Walt Disney Productions PAC: $1,500

–Dominion Energy PAC: $2,500

–The Hershey Company PAC: $500

–Citigroup PAC: $1,000

–Bank of America PAC: $500

During the same period, Cline paid $21,836.01 to Republican fundraising consultant Laura Kilgore McMenamin of Alexandria.


Despite Buena Vista job losses, Cline stands with Trump on trade war

(Photo by WSET TV)

Despite the closure (due to Trump’s trade war) of the Northwest Hardwoods sawmill in Buena Vista at the cost of 30 jobs, Congressman Ben Cline said “he credits President Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge China for what he calls bad trade agreements that have hurt American industries.”

How many American jobs are you prepared to sacrifice in order to support Trump’s “challenge,” Congressman?

Cline’s form letter non-response

Replying to my recent message— asking Congressman Cline when he would start putting country above party and above his fear of being “primaried,” and stop overlooking Trump’s wild behavior and flagrant abuse of power– he has sent me the following unresponsive form letter.

October 4, 2019

Dear Mr. Zitver,

Thank you for contacting my office to express your opinion on the potential impeachment of President Trump. I appreciate hearing from you on this matter.

The potential impeachment of a President is a serious matter and must not be taken lightly, nor should it be used as a partisan political tool. Unfortunately, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I have witnessed Democrats on the committee repeatedly trying for months to find evidence to support a case for impeaching the President.

While there have been several resolutions introduced to authorize the initiation of formal impeachment proceedings, none has garnered enough support in the U.S. House to move forward. In fact, in a procedural vote that would have allowed impeachment to proceed, Congress voted 332-95 against the measure. Additionally, to appease certain elements within her own Democrat Caucus, Speaker Pelosi has now moved forward with an “impeachment inquiry” against the duly elected President without a vote of the full House. In every other impeachment effort, the decision to proceed was made by a majority of Members of Congress through a vote of the full House of Representatives.

In the meantime, our seniors are paying too much for their prescription drugs, our farmers need access to more markets, our immigration policies need reform, and our borders need securing. Unfortunately, all these issues will now potentially be sidetracked due to this partisan rush to impeach.

It is an honor to represent you and all of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance. To receive the latest updates from my office, I encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter at or like my FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Ben Cline
Member of Congress

The procedural vote on impeachment to which Cline refers occurred two months before the latest revelations on President Trump’s efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on a domestic political opponent.

Trump dismissed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s promise to work with him on  prescription drug prices and a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico as “camouflage for trying to win an election through impeachment.” That suggests an unwillingness by Trump– not Pelosi– to deal seriously on these matters.

As for immigration and border security, Trump thinks the solution lies in sharp spikes, moats filled with alligators and snakes, and shooting people in the legs. Do you agree with this approach, Congressman?

Congressman Cline, you write that it is an honor to represent me. The feeling is not mutual. It is not an honor to be represented by you.