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INSIDE POLITICS

Ranking Members Set Rules For Impeachment Debate. Aired 12:30- 1p ET

Aired December 17, 2019 - 12:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:30:00] COLE: -- Mr. Trump out of office, so we must do everything we can to stop Trump and his extreme agenda now," unquote.

Mr. Raskin, on August 8th, Chairman Nadler stated with respect to the Judiciary Committee's hearing regarding the Mueller report that, quote, "This is a formal impeachment proceeding," but the House -- unquote. But the House did not actually authorize impeachment proceedings until the adoption of H.Res. 660 on October 31st.

So I believe it's important to clarify for the record when formal impeachment proceedings actually started. Is Chairman Nadler correct when he said they started on August 8th, or did they begin when the House authorized them on October 31st?

RASKIN: Forgive me, Mr. Cole, I was not actually prepared to answer that question, but I think that the Judiciary Committee has taken formal positions which we can track about this question.

I would just direct you to, again, Article I, Section 2, Clause 5. The House of Representatives is the sole power of impeachment and can design and structure impeachment as it sees fit.

COLE: Well, it...

COLLINS: Mr. Cole, can I just add -- certainly not outside of House rules they can't -- not without passing a resolution that then gives them power and authority that goes outside of House rules. That's the problem we had with this all along, is they were going outside of House rules. And again when counsels are not -- you know been here forever and they are trying to make this happen, this is what happened this year; they went outside of House rules. That's -- that's the problem I've had with this and we can discuss that more in depth.

COLE: Well, I think the spirit behind this suggested this has been going on for quite some time, longer than the formal proceedings. Mr. Raskin, on December 10, 1998 during the Clinton impeachment proceedings; Chairman Nadler stated in the House Judiciary Committee that quote, there must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment supported by one of our major political parties and opposed by another.

Such an impeachment will produce divisiveness and bitterness in politics for years to come and will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions. Do you believe that this impeachment, which is supported by only one political party, has produced bitterness in the current political climate?

RASKIN: So -- Well, again, I'm going to have allow the Chairman Nadler to speak for his own words but ...

COLE: I certainly understand.

RASKIN: Yes. So look, there -- there's been a lot of bitterness and division in our country for several years now proceeding any impeachment proceedings and it's a sad thing and I hope that everybody rallies around the Constitution because it's the Constitution that will get us through this difficult time in our history.

Let me just say about the -- you know the Clinton impeachment, so the conduct that President Clinton was charged with which was -- he hadn't been convicted or prosecuted for perjury but he was -- he was essentially charged with perjuring himself in describing private conduct, the sexual affair.

And the conduct that we're looking at today goes right to the heart of why impeachment is in the Constitution. Impeachment is in the Constitution because of public offenses by political leaders against democracy itself.

So I think you cannot compare what President Clinton was impeached for by the House of Representatives and I hold not brief for his conduct in anyway, but I don't think you can compare to the massive overwhelming and unrefuted (ph) evidence we have that the president of the United States today has tried to drag a foreign power into our elections to his own political advantage.

COLE: Wasn't exactly the question I asked but let me turn to Mr. Collins and see if you agree with Mr. Raskin, if there's anything you would disagree with there. And what's been the impact of this process on the domestic politics of the country, since it has been essentially partisan in nature.

COLLINS: Look, not trying to -- you know and again, I'll -- I'll cut some slack that he was trying to answer for a chairman's own words and -- and I get that. But I think there's several things -- let's -- let's just talk here for just a minute.

Let's -- let's -- let's unpack what has happened here because the only thing I appreciate really out of the whole last few minutes was the chairman trying to bring in to about (ph) impeachment. I agree with him on that point that this is about impeachment.

What I disagree is it's not about abuse of power, it's not everything else, and it was sent -- come a lot better from the majority if they have not had a long history, a written record. This is something that you would love to see in the law because it's a written record of motive.

You've seen it since the day that he was elected. You seen it in this whole process working out. You saw it last year when my chairman ran for the job because he would be the best for impeachment.

[12:35:00]

What was hanging out last year for impeachment. What became of the Mueller report that didn't give them everything they wanted. And then we came into a call. This is -- this is a pattern.

And look, I've said this to -- to my chairman who I respect, you got the votes. You just voted. You got the votes. You can go explain it to the American people. Talk about -- talk about afflicting an election, this is what -- what we're looking at.

But there are some few things here though that is interesting. As I said earlier on, time and clock are terrible masters. And I've heard it so many times from the -- from the chairman of this committee, the chairman of my committee and others. We've got to do this because of the 2020 election.

Well put a candidate up that's worth voting for. How about that instead of going after a president who you're having trouble beating because of the things that have happened with unemployment, with the economy going good and everything else. That's what political primaries are for. Not this.

When you look back -- and I still never got a answer to my question I had just a few minutes ago about have we now set a standard that if you run for president you can do anything you want to overseas and not get investigated for it.

Not (ph) got that question answered. But in response to also the chairman's question about requesting stuff. As the chairman knows and also my chairman knows because my chairman likes subpoenas. I likes to threaten them anyway.

But the secretary of defense responded. He said it was open to negotiation for you. Secretary of State, part of the document dump was part of that. In the House Judiciary Committee, the dump that we did get from the Intelligence Committee had OMB record from the budget committee in it.

I mean there are issues that -- that I have had problems with all year in this. And you know if you didn't receive a letter as we have done in the past when we were in the majority under President Obama and know (ph) in fast and furious and other times, the thing that amazes me is it seems like the majority this year all of the sudden discovered that the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch don't play Well, together in the sandbox.

This is not a shock for any of us who have been here under the Obama administration. We saw this happen over and over. I was on oversight my first two years here. My former legislative director is here, she's in the room.

We pulled our hair out of this. This is -- we had IRS, we had everything else and we was constantly being stonewalled and stopped. Had to actually issue subpoenas in which finally the courts did rule.

And I think this is your problem, the courts ruled many years later that -- that Attorney General Holder did violate, you know, not giving the information out. And that was actually done.

But it was many years later. Again, your timing clock is a -- current (ph) calendar is a terrible master and you're having to do this because you promised it. You promised it. This is -- we're carrying through on a promise here.

You know the other things is we talk about fairness here. That -- that my friend said that this has been completely fair. Nobody's questioned the fact that our folks got to question the witness. Nobody's questioned that fact (inaudible).

But what about the fact of the majority preventing witnesses under rules from using agency counsel, even under the auspices of a -- of an impeachment investigation. How about cutting off Republican questions and refusing to allow the third branch to even rule on claims of privilege when one was actually done.

You actually withdrew from the -- the law suit. So again, it's not a matter of time here. It's not a matter of fact. Again, when we go back to it I cannot repeat this over and over again because it comes up with Mr. Raskin, it's come up with the Chairman, it'll come up again many other times.

Put pressure on a world leader. Folks, this pressure is -- is amazing me because the guy who is supposed to be in pressure denied it ever happened. On multiple occasions one of his own members of the cabinet said we never talked about conditionality. Yermak said we never talked about conditionality of aid.

The only times that they talk about this outside of presumption and hearsay -- presumption and hearsay -- their main witness Sondland said it was presumption. Well, that's what I presumed. Because when he actually asked the president straight up what do you want, he said I want nothing.

I just want him to do what he -- what he promised and he ran on. That's all he did. So it's presumption and hearsay. And granted, this is not a court of law because believe me, this would have been over a long time ago.

We wouldn't have gotten to this place. The rules have allowed it to get to this place because majority rules in this -- in this place. But here's the problem, the pressure issue is sad because again, to continue this line of thought after the president of the Ukraine has came out and denied it and denied it and denied it and denied it.

ou're either calling him a pathological liar, a world leader, or you're calling -- as was actually (ph) -- he was actually called in our committee last week a battered wife. He was actually called that. Compared to a battered wife. How low have we sunk. This is the problem because at the end of the day -- and we can go into our (ph) process files, we can go into everything else, But you know something? I made -- I don't want to say it's a mistake, but I took my own chairman at his word. When I read about his comments from 20 years ago, when he said the Judiciary Committee should never take a report from a third party and actually not try to investigate it itself. Otherwise we've become a rubber stamp.

Congratulations, our Judiciary Committee became a rubber stamp. I hope recover because that's all we're doing right now, is just rubber- stamping what Adam Schiff did under his own rules, under his own time frame, under his own ways. Again, a man who has also been out for this president since day one and would not come and testify. That's the most amazing, shocking thing to me in this whole process.

[12:40:00]

But when you understand where we're at here, I can understand why Mr. Raskin, who is eloquent in his discussion of the Constitution and why we have an impeachment, let's just cut to the fact. You don't like the guy. You don't like the conversation, you don't like how he does business.

Because at the end of the day, when you start talking about the pressure on a foreign power to do something for you personally, again, we're -- to even get to that remotely, you're having to change words in the transcript. Instead of, "do us a favor for our country" -- do us -- you have to change it to "me."

You have to change the facts. And the last time I checked, this country is not real kind to those who are accused -- having those who are in power change the rules to fit their game. That's not due process.

But I'm going to go back over it because the chairman actually said, here's why we're here. There are four facts that never change. Four facts that will never change, and it goes straight to the heart of anything said outside of abuse of power or anything else.

There's no pressure, President Trump, President Zelensky. The transcript shows no conditionality of aid and an investigation. And the only one relied upon over 600 times in the Intelligence Committee report was Mr. Sondland, who after he got past his perfect opening statement, when questioned, said, well, that's what I presumed it to be.

And then when actually talked to the president of the United States, he was told, no, all I want him (ph) is to do his job, nothing else. And then when he actually said, I had a conversation with Mr. Yarmuth, Mr. Yarmuth said there was nothing discussed of conditionality. So how do you put this much faith in Mr. Sondland when he has conditionally told stories that change?

And all of the rest were hearsay, all of the rest were actually going off of other things. And even Colonel Vindman, who is -- who I respect as a -- as a soldier, actually said, when the question was asked, is it OK to have this call? Said yes, it's OK for a president, can do that, to ask for a political investigation because it happens, and he even said that.

So the question comes back, the Ukrainians were not even aware their aid was withheld. And Ukrainians didn't open an investigation to get the money. COLE: Let me ask you, is this the first partisan impeachment inquiry in the nation's history?

COLLINS (?): Yes.

COLE: Has the president ever been impeached without votes from the minority party before?

COLLINS: I think there is -- there is some discussion about that with the Johnson impeachment from many years ago, but that was also when the Congress itself set him up with a law, so I think you have to say that was an impeachment -- this is a -- in the modern-day era, this was (ph) a partisan impeachment.

COLE: In March of this year, Speaker Pelosi said impeachment must be, quote, "compelling and overwhelmingly bipartisan." Only Democrats voted to authorize the impeachment inquiry, there's bipartisan opposition to the inquiry, it appears there'll be bipartisan opposition to the articles.

Ranking Member Collins, given all of that, do you believe the upcoming vote on H.Res. 755 comports with the standard set by the Speaker herself?

COLLINS: No, it comes nowhere close.

COLE: Is your belief that the -- meeting an arbitrary deadline's more important to the Democratic majority than building a viable case, if in fact there is cause for impeachment?

COLLINS: Their own words convict them of that.

COLE: The premise, these articles of impeachment, rests on a pause placed on Ukrainian security assistance. A pause, by the way, of less than two months, 55 days, I believe.

Democrats have spun creative narratives as to the meaning and the motive of this pause, but offered no factual evidence. Did Ukraine ever initiate investigations into the Bidens?

COLLINS: No.

COLE: Was the aid ultimately released?

COLLINS: Yes.

COLE: Do you believe the taxpayer dollars of the American people were well-served by the pause?

COLLINS: They were. In fact, the president himself, not policymakers, not administrative officials in different offices are not the ones who have final authority to decide if that is going to be -- that's the president's call, that's the president's decision. And he made a call.

COLE: Is it unusual for aid to be paused on by a chief executive?

COLLINS: No.

COLE: Did the Democratic majority subpoena all core witnesses with firsthand evidence on an potential quid pro quo with the Ukrainian controversy?

COLLINS: No.

COLE: Has anyone in the Trump administration been charged with or convicted with a crime under the current allegations related to the Ukraine?

COLLINS: No.

COLE: Let me continue. It's my understanding that the minority properly exercised its right under clause 2(j)(1) of Rule XI to demand a minority hearing. Is that the case?

COLLINS: That is correct.

COLE: What day did you ask for that hearing?

COLLINS: We asked for it on the first day of our -- when we convened in the Judiciary Committee.

COLE: I believe that was December 4th...

COLLINS (?): Mr. Sensenbrenner?

COLLINS: I don't remember the dates in front of me, December 4th...

COLE: I have it right in front of me...

COLLINS: Good.

COLE: ... so I'll be happy to provide that.

Has that hearing been scheduled?

COLLINS: No, it was summarily dismissed by the long letter which was told that, in essence, that it was dilatory. I've never seen a minority hearing called dilatory.

COLE: On the very first day a request could have been made.

[12:45:00]

Mr. Raskin, are you familiar with the following statement: The minority is entitled to one additional day of related hearings at which to call their own witnesses if the majority of the minority members make their demand before the committee's hearing is gaveled to (ph) close?

RASKIN: I believe -- I believe I think Mr. Collins invoked that at our hearing.

COLE: So you are familiar with that? RASKIN: Yeah, I'm just familiar from that. Actually, I wasn't aware of it before that.

COLE: Statements posted on the Rules' majority website, in a document entitled, quote, "House Rules Which Govern the Committee Hearing Process," unquote. Based on review of the hearing video, the minority properly presented their request to Chairman Nadler before the original hearing concluded.

Are you familiar with a memo written by former -- Mr. Raskin, I'm sorry, I should have made that clear -- by former Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier regarding the application of the House Rule governing a minority hearing day?

RASKIN: No.

COLE: OK.

Chairman McGovern, I ask unanimous consent that this memo be made part of the record. And will note that the memo states in part that a point of order may lie against a reported measure in which the minority's demand for a hearing was improperly rejected.

MCGOVERN: Without objection, and I'll ask unanimous consent, if I can, to also ensure it in the record, our response to your letter and we can talk about that after your questioning.

COLE: Yes, sir. Certainly appropriate. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

During the markup of H.Res. 755, Chairman Nadler overruled the ranking member's point of order against consideration of the resolution and interpreting that the rule requires that the minority hearing day occur prior to the consideration of the relevant measure or matter, would permit the minority to improperly delay proceedings (ph).

Were you trying to improperly delay proceedings, Mr. Collins?

COLLINS: No, I was actually, at one point in these hearings, actually have the proper following of rules.

COLE: So, again, this -- you made this request the very first day of hearings, is that correct?

COLLINS: We did.

COLE: OK. The hearing at which the demand was properly made was entitled in part, quote, "The Impeachment Inquiry of Donald J. Trump," unquote.

My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have offered a number of reasons why Chairman Nadler's refusal to schedule a minority hearing's appropriate. I'd like to take a moment to respond to those.

My colleagues claim that the legislative history of the rules suggests that it was designed as a backstop to ensure the minority gets at least one witness at a hearing. I do not find this reasoning to be compelling. If that indeed was the purpose of the rule, the plain reading of the text and the reason itself would say otherwise.

While traditionally it has been used as a negotiating point between the majority and minority regarding the number of witnesses, the mere fact that the minority has a witness at a hearing does not mean that there's an implicit waiver of the right to demand the minority day hearing.

There are times in which the minority waives the right to a majority day hearing, for example, our discussions regarding Medicare for All hearing, we waived that right to a minority day hearing in order to secure two more witnesses.

Mr. Collins, at any time did you waive your rights under Clause 2J1 (ph) of Rule 11?

COLLINS: No, I did not. And I believe that's why we're here today, actually.

COLE: Yes. Did you request a second witness day? And did they provide that second witness the second witness -- second witness, excuse me, did they provide that second witness in exchange for waiving your rights for a minority day hearing?

COLLINS: No, it was not even discussed.

COLE: OK. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have previously quoted Joint Committee on Organization of Congress 1966 recommendations which stated that a minimum safeguard be established for, quote, "those infrequent incidents when a witness representing the minority position are not allotted time."

Perhaps the 1966 majority was more willing to provide witnesses to the minority. However that's not the case today. Witness was allotted time in this case but not witnesses. In other words, we didn't get anything in exchange for our right not being exercised. And while this may have been one reason for the adoption of the minority hearing day provision, it doesn't render meaningless the plain reading of the text.

So we've spent a long time on this, but we think it's very important. We simply weren't given something that we think by right we should have had and would actually subject this to a point of order.

My colleagues also claim that Chairman Nadler is not required to schedule the minority hearing day before the matter is reported out of committee. You've got to be kidding. In other words, we cannot agree that the House intended that the right for the minority hearing day can be fulfilled by scheduling a hearing on a measure after the measure is voted out of the full committee. I mean, that just doesn't make any sense.

So, Mr. Collins, with the presumed passage of these articles of impeachment, isn't the minority hearing day now irrelevant?

COLLINS: I believe it is. And I believe that's the concern that many of us have who institutionally love this place. [12:50:00]

COLE: OK.

Mr. Raskin, even if Chairman Nadler didn't believe the House rules required him to schedule the minority hearing day prior to marking up the articles of impeachment, as a member of both Judiciary Committee and Rules Committee, we agree it would have been better for the institution and the American people to prevent (ph) all this disagreement (inaudible) just to schedule the hearings, it's just one day?

RASKIN: Thank you, Mr. Cole.

Again, I just learned of it the other day when Mr. Collins raised it. And I looked at the rule and the rule does say that the chair of the committee is not required to schedule the minority hearing as a condition precedent to the continuing course of legislative action.

And I -- having been in the minority for my first term here, I feel your exasperation about that, that it might not happen before the bill passes. And if we want to make a change to that rule I think that's absolutely something that we should talk about for future congresses.

COLE: Well, I appreciate that. I appreciate the sentiment behind it because I know it's sincere.

Again, I can go on and on on this. But we do believe, Mr. Chairman, it's a violation of the spirit (ph). And we appreciate your letter very much, was very respectful, we tried to make ours respectful when we made the request.

MCGOVERN: It was.

COLE: To us that the facts are clear, Chairman Nadler ignored a right of the minority in committee, being ignored by the Democratic majority now, and by doing so it fundamentally alters the tools available for the minority and all future minorities. So I do hope the Rules Committee will correct this misguided decision, refrain from waiving all points of order against the bill, and at the very least have the matter debated on the House floor.

Mr. Raskin, after the adoption of a H.Res. 660, and before the Judiciary Committee's first hearing pursuant to that resolution, Ranking Member Collins wrote seven letters to Chairman Nadler on the subject of the committee's consideration of impeachment.

On November 12th he wrote Chairman Nadler regarding the manner in which the Intelligence Committee conducted their investigation. On November 14th he wrote Chairman Nadler demanding that the same transparency and fairness that existed in prior impeachment inquiries be prioritized in the current inquiry. On November 18th he wrote Chairman Nadler regarding the credibility of a particular witness, the chairmanship's coordination with certain witnesses to conceal basic and relevant facts. On November 21st he wrote Chairman Nadler asking that he obtain all documents and information from Chairman Schiff pursuant to House Resolution 660 and its accompanying procedures. On November 30th the persistent Mr. Collins wrote Chairman Nadler asking for an expanded panel and a balanced composition of academic witnesses to opine on the subject matter at issue during December 4th hearing.

On December 2nd he wrote Chairman Nadler asking for clarity on how he plans to conduct the impeachment inquiry referencing five previous letters he had sent, the questions that were never answered. And on December 3rd, he wrote Chairman Nadler reminding him of his recent letters requesting the Judiciary Committee provide the president due process with the Intelligence Committee and Chairman Schiff did not.

It's my understanding that Chairman Nadler never provided a response to any of these letters. To your knowledge, does Chairman Nadler generally not respond to letters from ranking minority members?

RASKIN: No. And I will concede that Mr. Collins, like the aforementioned John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, is a prolific letter writer. I don't know whether or not they engaged in conversation to follow up on any of those. But of course, you know, we're all together on a daily basis pretty much.

So I just -- I can't speak for the chairman.

COLE: OK. Well, I just want to note for the record when we sent a letter to my Chairman, he did respond. And we appreciate that very much.

COLLINS: Mr. Cole?

COLE: Yes, I'm turning to you next. Go ahead.

COLLINS: Thank you. Yes, it's regular in my committee. We don't get a lot of answers. And this was an area in which we got one answer on our witness list. That was it. The other one was a discussion that I had when I asked for another witness and it turned into an interesting conversation on, were you asking for three to two? Were you asking for ratios? And all I was asking for was another witness. And told me it was too late and that he could add it -- that's the only (inaudible) I got.

I appreciate the chairman is under a lot of pressure (inaudible) time on calendar do kill you.

COLE: I do too. And I recognize that. And that's true of all of this. But, you know, this committee does, in the sense, have a special responsibility to make sure the other committees, you know, operate according to our rules and use common currency.

Mr. Collins, the articles of impeachment are based on a report written by Chairman Schiff and transmitted to the Judiciary Committee, correct?

COLLINS: That is correct. COLE: Did that impeachment report rely on hearsay to support their insertion?

COLLINS: Yes.

[12:55:00]

COLE: What explanation does Chairman Schiff provide when asked why hearsay rather than first-hand testimony evidence was incorrectly presented as evidence?

COLLINS: Well, besides his own discussion of making up the phone call to start with, but also he has not really provided one because he didn't come testify in my committee.

COLE: Well, did you ask Chairman Nadler to invite Chairman Schiff to come testify?

COLLINS: I did.

COLE: Just to be clear, you were asked to vote on articles of impeachment against our commander in chief based on a report full of unsubstantiated allegations and hearsay, and you were not permitted to ask the author of the report any questions?

COLLINS: That is correct. All I got was a staff member.

COLE: I'd like to note for the record, Mr. Chairman, that Chairman Schiff refused to discuss the report with the minority, yet he was more than willing to appear on "Fox News Sunday" just two days ago. It's, unfortunately, abundantly clear that Schiff's reports (inaudible) documents rather than result of a transparent, thorough, bipartisan investigation.

Though (ph) also worth noting for the record, I'll ask you this Mr. Collins -- as the president represents (ph) -- you know, this is a really odd thing for us, because generally the Judiciary Committee is the main committee of impeachment. That's historically been the case. That's clearly not the case here.

COLLINS: No.

COLE: The Committee on Intelligence is the main committee of this impeachment. The president have any counsel there?

COLLINS: No. Somewhere along the line we lost our right to be the impeachment -- you know, to work on impeachment. We got it at the end to finish it, but we lost it.

COLE: Well, it's -- there's a difference between window dressing and substance. I mean, two or three hearings at the end where you don't even question the author of the report -- well, you're not allowed to question the author of the report on which impeachment is based.

The president never had representation there. In the past we always had representation -- you were at Judiciary, the president was there, he could ask questions. But the main place where all these things come out of, the president was specifically excluded and you were not -- in what's supposed to be the main committee, you were not allowed to ask the author of the principal report any questions...

COLLINS: Mr. Cole, you have just presented in a short -- something which I have always admired about you (ph) -- the crux of this whole problem.

By the time it got to Judiciary Committee, this was a done deal. The train was on the -- not even on the tracks, the train was past the station, they just had to run to catch up to it. It was already decided what they wanted to do.

And so here it is -- and I've heard this argument, and you can dress this up, window dress it any way, but I think when we go to the institutional integrity problem that we have here, when you get -- when you do -- whatever you think of H.Res. 660, the only place it truly provided the opportunity for fairness for the president and the administration was in the Judiciary Committee, because at that point in time they would have been able to, you know, ask for witnesses. By the way, which they were turned down. All these things that they were -- but there were never opportunity (ph).

There's no way -- and I don't care how much the majority produces up, there's no way you can call in four (inaudible) professors, two staff members, and that's the only hearings you have to provide any opportunity for the president to question and get anything out of them.

But I have heard from my majority colleagues -- which as a former defense attorney I think it's pretty funny -- "Well, if he's innocent, then tell him to come prove it." When is that ever a part of what we should be doing here? Really? I don't think any of my civil libertarians in the Democratic aisle, they ought to be just laying awake at night saying, "How can I be associated with this?" Because no matter what you think, there's a way to do this fairly, and they could still get their results. Because, by the way, they still outnumber us and they've been trying to do this for three years.

COLE: Mr. Raskin, did you have any conversations with Chairman Schiff about the contents of the report?

RASKIN: I'm certain I have along the way, yes.

COLE: Really? Because nobody on our side, evidently, had any conversations.

To your knowledge did Chairman Nadler have any conversation with Chairman Schiff about the contents of the report?

RASKIN: Oh, I'm sorry, when you said "the contents of the report," you mean the substance of what's in the report?

COLE: Yeah.

RASKIN: Well, I think this is... COLE: None of our people have had the opportunity.

RASKIN: Well, I think as a committee, we've been talking about the substance of it for a long time now. I had not -- I mean...

COLE: Well, we've been talking about substance of the report. We haven't had any opportunity to question the person who actually authored the report...

RASKIN: Oh, I see what you mean, OK.

COLE: ... either formally or informally, to my knowledge.

RASKIN: Well, the -- again, the counsel for the Intelligence Committee came over to discuss all of the factual findings that were in the Intelligence Committee's report of...

COLE: He's not the principal author of the report. He's the counsel for the committee. The chairman's principal author. And -- and, by the way, a fact witness as well, in many ways.

RASKIN: Yes.

COLE: And so...

RASKIN: If I could respond to this general line of attack, House Resolution 660 had a number of significant procedural productions for the president, even on the House side. And as you know, the role of the House is to act as the grand jury and the prosecutor, and the actual trial takes place over in the Senate.

But still, we had very significant procedural -

[13:00:00]