- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Rep. Adam B. Schiff on Tuesday told lawmakers that this week’s public hearings on impeachment would be a “solemn undertaking” and treat everyone, including President Trump, “fairly.”

In a letter to Congress members, Mr. Schiff, a California Democrat and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that is leading the impeachment effort, outlined the process that would be followed at the hearings that commence Wednesday.

“We intend to conduct these hearings with the seriousness and professionalism the public deserves. The process will be fair to the president, the committee members, and the witnesses,” he wrote. “Above all, these hearings are intended to bring the facts to light for the American people.”

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Mr. Trump and his Republican allies have criticized the House Democrats for rules that tilt the inquiry against Mr. Trump, who is accused of abusing his office by pushing Ukraine to investigate political rival Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter.

The rules, adopted by Democrats in a party-line vote Oct. 31, give broad authority to Mr. Schiff and other Democratic leaders to steer the hearings, including deciding which witnesses will appear.

Mr. Schiff also sent lawmakers a memorandum detailing the format for the hearings.

The first hearing will feature William Taylor, the U.S. charge d’affaires in Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, who oversaw Ukraine policy.

Both officials said in closed-door interviews with the impeachment inquiry that they had concerns that Mr. Trump was politicizing U.S. policy in Ukraine.

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. with opening statements by Mr. Schiff and Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee.

The questioning of the witness will last for up to 45 minutes per side, though Mr. Schiff can decide on shorter rounds of questioning provided both sides get equal time.

In the memo, Mr. Schiff reminded lawmakers to behave themselves and abide by the Code of Official Conduct for Members of Congress, which requires that they “shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”

“As Chair,” he wrote, “I will do my utmost during the hearings to safeguard the rights of the witnesses and all Members of the Committee, just as Committee Members.”

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