Jan 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Cipollone falsely claims Republicans were barred from impeachment depositions

White House counsel and lead Trump lawyer Pat Cipollone falsely claimed during the Senate trial Tuesday that Republicans were barred from attending the House impeachment inquiry's closed-door hearings.

Reality check: Republicans who are members of the three committees conducting the impeachment inquiry — the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees — were invited to and did attend impeachment hearings, which took in place in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).

  • "Not even Mr. Schiff's Republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF," Cipollone claimed.
  • Head impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-N.Y.) responded that he would not suggest that Cipollone would "deliberately make a false statement,” but that "he's mistaken" and that Republicans were given equal time to question witnesses during the closed-door depositions.
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) led a group of House Republicans in storming a closed-door hearing in October to protest the alleged lack of transparency from Democrats — despite the fact that at least a dozen of the participating GOP lawmakers sit on one of the authorized committees.

Cipollone also claimed that the impeachment inquiry began when Democrats "made false allegations about a telephone call" and that Schiff began focusing on the second phone call when allegations about the first fell flat.

  • Reality check: The inquiry began when a whistleblower alleged that Trump sought to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son during a July 25 phone call. The other phone call, which took place in April, was never considered central to the allegations.

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