The Democrat 'Star Chamber' approach to impeachment

Byron York:
There have so far been two hearings in the House Democrats' effort to impeach President Trump over the Ukraine matter. Both have been held in secret. One was Thursday, the other Friday, and the public does not know what was said in either. Two more are scheduled for this week, and they will be held behind closed doors, too.

The hearings are part of an effort to remove the president from office. There could not be a matter of more pressing public concern. There could not be a matter in which the American people have a greater stake. And yet the public has no idea what is being discovered.

Last week's sessions weren't just secret. They were super-secret. The first hearing, in which the witness was former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker, was held in what is known as a SCIF, which stands for sensitive compartmented information facility. It is a room in the Capitol, built to be impervious to electronic surveillance so that lawmakers can discuss the nation's most important secrets without fear of discovery.

The second hearing, in which intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson testified, was also held in the SCIF.

Were highly classified matters discussed at the Volker and Atkinson hearings? Apparently not. Neither interview was classified. And even if some classified information were involved, it would be astonishing for Democrats to believe they could attempt to remove the president on the basis of information that is not available to the public.

The secrecy, decreed by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, has taken Republicans by surprise. Some are now speaking out about it.

"Adam Schiff is running an impeachment inquiry secretly, behind closed doors, and he's making up the rules as he goes along," said Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe.

"These proceedings should be public," added Republican Rep. Jim Jordan. "Democrats are trying to remove the president 13 months before an election based on an anonymous whistleblower...and they're doing it all in a closed-door process."

"This is nothing more or less than a show trial for the media," said Rep. Devin Nunes, ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, noting that with secrecy rules in place, the public knows only what is leaked to the press. "The Democrats leak what they want to leak to build narratives."
...
This is a case where the whistleblower is going to have to do so in public at some point and Schiff needs to figure out a way to do it.  You cannot and should not impeach the President on the word of an anonymous source who is spouting hearsay.  That is absurd.

The Star Chamber courts in England were used against defendants in secret where the public could not see and where the defendant was not entitled to question the witnesses against him.  The Democrats are even cutting the Republicans out of the process.

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