Republicans who demanded public impeachment hearings leave as questions start

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GOP Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows walked out of the hearing room almost as soon as testimony began.

For weeks, House Republican lawmakers have condemned Democrats for the process in which they've conducted the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.

GOP lawmakers said that the closed-door depositions the House was holding were fundamentally unfair, and demanded public hearings begin.

Yet as soon as the House Intelligence Committee held its first public hearing on Wednesday, two GOP lawmakers who loudly demanded public hearings previously walked out of the room.

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Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina — two of Trump's top defenders on Capitol Hill — both left the room as soon as Democrats started questioning the witnesses seated before them, according to multiple reports.

The two men left as soon as Democrats began questioning Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine who had just issued damning new testimony about how Trump had conditioned critical U.S. military assistance to Ukraine on its willingness to investigate his political rivals.

Both Jordan and Meadows have made public statements demanding a public inquiry in the past.

Back in October, Jordan spoke at a news conference Republicans held after storming a secure area of the Capitol to disrupt a closed-door deposition — endangering national security in the process.

"I think the American people, as I said before, they understand fairness and they instinctively know that what is happening here is not fair," Jordan said.

"We need this done in the open so the American people can see it," he added.

Meadows, for his part, sat down with the Daily Caller to demand public hearings in the inquiry.

"Why should the American people, why should your viewers, the people that read the Daily Caller on a regular basis, why should they not be able to judge for themselves what is happening?" Meadows said in the interview. "It's one thing to keep members of Congress out, it's another thing to keep the American people out."

Wednesday's hearings, with Taylor and George Kent, the State Department deputy assistant secretary overseeing European and Eurasian affairs, mark the first public hearings in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry and are set to be followed by several more public depositions.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted by Trump earlier this year, is set to testify on Friday. Jennifer Williams, aide to Vice President Mike Pence, former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, and Timothy Morrison, a top National Security Council adviser on Russia and European matters, are expected to testify on Tuesday next week.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer and European affairs expert for the National Security Council, is also set to testify on Tuesday. Vindman has become a favorite target of Trump, who has called the lieutenant colonel a "Never-Trumper" and suggested Vindman — who fled persecution of Jews in the former Soviet Union with his family when he was 3 years old — was somehow disloyal to the United States.

Several other hearings are expected to be held later in the week.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.