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'Disappointing': Rep. Welch Witnessed GOP Lawmakers Disrupt Closed Committee Meeting On Impeachment

Rep. Peter Welch seated at a Capitol Hill committee meeting
Andrew Harnik
Associated Press File
Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, seen here at a Sept. 26 House Committee hearing, witnessed Republican House members disrupting a closed-door committee meeting Wednesday that was part of the House's impeachment inquiry.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch says he's disappointed that a group of roughly two dozen Republican House members entered a secure facility Wednesday to disrupt a committee meeting that's part of the House's impeachment inquiry.

Three House committees were meeting in a closed door secure location to take testimony about alleged efforts by the Trump Administration to tie military aid to Ukraine to an investigation of vice president Joe Biden and his son. Welch, who sits on two of the committees – Intelligence and Oversight – witnessed the GOP protest.

"There's really in effect a 'sit in' by Republican members to stop proceedings, and it is disappointing because obviously we've got to do our business, and it's another indication frankly that instead of talking about the merits, they want to not only assert that there are process violations but they want to stop the process altogether."    

Welch says Republican claims that Democrats are conducting impeachment proceedings in secret are false, because all Republican committee members have access to the information.

"And you can sit there just like I've been sitting there, so they in fact do have access on the same terms and conditions as Democrats have access," Welch said. "You simply have to be a member of one of the three designated committees, so it's really false."   

Among the things Welch has heard during those closed-door sessions is testimony from the former Ukrainian ambassador William Taylor.

Welch said Taylor told the panel Tuesday that there's no question the Trump Administration withheld aid to Ukraine until the country launched an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

The House is expected to vote on an impeachment motion sometime after Thanksgiving but before mid-December. Democratic leaders decided to postpone an impeachment vote to hold public hearings.

“We would want to have public hearings so all Americans would be informed as to what the information was,” Welch said.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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