Maine’s two U.S. House representatives, both Democrats, say they support the proposed House rules for the next phase of the impeachment process.
Both Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden say the rules are fair: they establish the process that will govern public hearings on the president’s activities, the questioning of witnesses, the use of subpoenas, and the release of transcripts of the private interviews that have already been conducted.
Pingree says the rules also establish when the president would be allowed legal representation.
“We didn’t have to do this, but it’s been a response to the Republican concerns that they want to see more of a process,” she says. “What I think is important is by passing this and setting out a process, it keeps the Republicans from continually talking about the process, as opposed to the substance of why was the President doing this and was it appropriate.”
Some of the testimony to the committees, including accounts of the president’s alleged use of military aid to push Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden, have already gone public.
Republicans in Congress are critical of the proposed rules, which they say fail to provide due process for the president to respond to allegations.
Golden rejects that argument, and says the rules offer “more protections to the president than either President Bill Clinton or President Richard Nixon received when they had an impeachment inquiry going on, that ultimately led to their impeachment.”
The first public hearings under the rules are expected within a few weeks. If the full House votes for any articles of impeachment, the Senate will hold a trial. It will take the vote of 67 senators to find the president guilty and remove him from office.
Both Pingree and Golden stress that they have not decided how they will vote. Golden won the Maine’s 2nd Congressional District by a narrow margin, and Trump won the district solidly in 2016. Golden says election politics will not play any role in his decision on rules or on an impeachment article.
“This isn’t about re-election, and it shouldn’t be,” he says. “It has got to be 100% about the country. There are certain issues when you are an elected official that are just too important to stop and think about yourself first. So, no, I will not be taking that into consideration.”
Updated 5:02 p.m Oct. 30, 2019