In a pattern established over four closed-door depositions whose transcripts were released this week, Republicans have used their allotted time to question the impeachment inquiry’s validity and accuse Democrats of shutting them out of the process.
But for all of the Republicans’ complaints about unfairness, the transcripts indicate they were fully involved in the questioning of witnesses during the sometimes-contentious closed door hearings. Over the course of the lengthy sittings, Republicans, Democrats and witnesses’ lawyers have clashed over the propriety of questions and the terms of the proceedings.
It mirrors their public attempts to discount the impeachment probe, including an attempt to storm the secure hearing room where the depositions have occurred.
The transcripts provide the fullest picture yet of the closed depositions, which have occurred over long days inside a stuffy room in the basement of the US Capitol. As the inquiry enters a more public phase, the back-and-forth that transpired in private provides a likely preview of upcoming open hearings, where procedural matters and questions of the impeachment probe’s legitimacy are likely to arise.