As the contentious impeachment markup approached its 12th hour — running well past predictions by officials on both sides of the aisle — one GOP lawmaker implored his colleagues to, essentially, wrap it up.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) complained that “I have not heard a new point or an original thought from either side in the last three hours,” calling the hearing an “institutional embarrassment.”
“The same talking points have been repeated over and over again, ad nauseum, by both sides,” he said. “Repeating a fact over and over doesn’t make it true, and denying a fact over and over doesn’t make it false. Everybody knows this. Everybody watching knows this.”
McClintock continued: “This hearing has been enough of an institutional embarrassment without putting it on an endless loop, so if I could just offer a modest suggestion: If no one has anything new to add that they resist the temptation to inflict what we’ve already heard over and over again.”
McClintock was preaching to the choir, at least on the Democratic side. His GOP colleagues were actually the ones dragging out the hearing, which officials on both sides originally expected to wrap up by 5 p.m. In fact, Republicans on the panel – as well as their spouses – had plans to attend the lavish White House Christmas party for lawmakers. Ranking Judiciary panel Republican Doug Collins’s wife even showed up to the markup in evening wear.
However, the GOP — sensitive to suggestions that it was hanging up the battle for Trump to head to a holiday party — decided to keep fighting and offering amendments well beyond what was anticipated. Collins, according to sources familiar with what happened, had to tell his wife they weren’t going to make the party. At one point, he sat with her in the back of the hearing room, held her hand and gave her a kiss on the head.
Just after 9 p.m., Democrats broke for a recess, as members grew weary and hungry. Democratic staffers, who hadn’t planned to order dinner for their members, scrambled to order Hill Country Barbecue and coffee for sustenance. That didn’t lift their moods much. Many lawmakers had planned to fly back to their districts this evening after the markup. Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) said he would have to miss a parent-teacher conference in the morning for his daughter.