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Oklahoma lawmakers express mixed opinions over Oct. 31 House impeachment inquiry vote

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James Lankford

Sen. James Lankford talks to a reporter Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C. 

Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation commented on Thursday’s House impeachment inquiry resolution.

According to NPR, the House of Representatives passed a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry by a 232-196 vote. According to the draft of the resolution, it enables the chair of the House Intelligence Committee to have open hearings and allows the president and his attorneys to cross-examine witnesses.

Sen. James Lankford said in a press release he did not support the inquiry as the resolution was written.

The private hearings will be continued without participation from the president or his legal team, Lankford said in the press release. Republicans will not be able to call witnesses until the Democrats decide to move to public hearings, Lankford said in the release. Once in public hearings, Democrats must agree to every witness that Republicans call.

“Clearly, the rules created for this politically motivated investigation are focused on the witnesses that agree with the Democrat view, not based on the facts with a balanced view,” Lankford said in the release. “Voting to continue a one-sided, partisan investigation does not make it legitimate.”

Rep. Tom Cole said this process is different from past impeachment processes, such as action related to former presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

“Today’s resolution sets forth a process for impeaching the president of the United States,” Cole said. “It is not a fair process, it is not an open process, it is not a transparent process, but instead a limited, closed process with a pre-ordained outcome.”

Republicans submitted 17 amendments that Cole said in the release would make the impeachment process more fair and that would provide more rights for everyone involved, but they were all denied.

“Without due process and without a fair process that respects minority rights, I do not believe the American people will regard this process as legitimate,” Cole said in the release. “A legitimate process is one that offers protections for everyone involved. And without those protections, this will be seen as just another partisan exercise, one the majority has been pushing since the first day of the 116th Congress.”

Rep. Kendra Horn said in a press release that after much consideration, she approved the resolution because it will create more transparency through more effective public hearings.

“As I’ve said all along, I always look at the facts in front of me and vote in the best interests of Oklahomans,” Horn said in the release. “The questions before us are serious, and I approach them without any predetermined opinion or judgement. I took an oath to defend the Constitution, and will weigh the facts as they are presented in a thoughtful, fair and transparent manner.”

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