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.