Kendra Horn and Markwayne Mullin

Oklahoma Reps. Kendra Horn (left) and Markwayne Mullin

Oklahoma’s Republican U.S. representatives angrily denounced the Democratic majority’s rules for the impeachment inquiry into charges against President Donald Trump, which were approved Thursday morning in a party-line vote.

The state’s lone Democratic representative, 5th District Congresswoman Kendra Horn, voted for the resolution, saying it “ensures transparency, due process and includes more protections for the president than any other president before.”

The state’s four Republican members echoed party leaders, with 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern saying the proceedings are “Soviet-style, single-sided justice,” a phrase used earlier in the day by Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

Democrats, Hern said in a Facebook post, have “already made up their minds that he’s guilty. There is nothing any witness can say that will change their minds. Rest assured that this circus will not end until they reach the verdict they want.”

The Oklahoma delegation’s remarks primarily addressed the investigation process without mentioning the actual accusations being investigated. Those include asking foreign governments to go after certain political opponents, improperly withholding federal aid and obstruction of justice.

Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin not only denounced the resolution but attacked Horn after she tweeted a chart she said shows the rules approved Thursday are more fair than previous impeachment proceedings.

Mullin said the chart only applies to hearings before the House Judiciary Committee and not to other committees investigating Trump.

Mullin also slammed Horn’s earlier statement explaining why she had decided to vote for the resolution.

“This is not a vote for impeachment,” said Horn, who had been one of only five Democrats not to endorse impeachment. “It is a vote to create clear rules for effective public hearings and ensure transparency for the American people. As I’ve said all along, I always look at the facts in front of me and vote in the best interests of Oklahomans.”

“This vote says you support the sham process to impeach our president,” Mullin tweeted in response. “It is very much a vote for impeachment.”

The only Oklahoma House member currently facing a difficult re-election campaign, Horn was immediately hit with a wave of Trump campaign ads targeting vulnerable Democrats.

Third District Congressman Frank Lucas, the only member of the Oklahoma delegation in the House when President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, also complained about what he said were unfair rules.

“The process the House has laid out with the passage of this resolution fails to preserve the right of the minority, it fails to ensure the right of due process for the President, and it fails to guarantee that the alleged evidence be published for the American people to judge for themselves,” Lucas said in a written statement.

In a Thursday tweet, Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole, the Rules Committee’s top-ranking Republican, repeated his assertion that the process will be unfair to Trump.

“Today’s impeachment process resolution fails to give the minority the same rights present during the Clinton impeachment, & it fails to offer the same due process protections given to both Presidents Nixon & Clinton,” Cole tweeted.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, who would, in effect, be a member of the jury if the House votes for articles of impeachment against Trump, continued to voice his opposition to the entire proceeding.

“Instead of doing their jobs, Dems continue to carry out a sham impeachment resolution in a historically unprecedented manner,” he tweeted. “Lack of basic due process rights and transparency for the American people — this is just more games.”

“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,” said Oklahoma’s other senator, James Lankford. “Voting to continue a one-sided, partisan investigation does not make it legitimate.”

Experts say the situation is complicated by the fact that both the 1998-99 impeachment of Clinton and President Richard Nixon’s 1974 impeachment played out in different ways.

The investigation leading to Nixon’s resignation actually began with Senate hearings into the 1972 election and the appointment of a special prosecutor, then moved to the House. Some of the investigatory phase — which Democrats say the proceedings against Trump are still in — was conducted in private but most of it was made public before the House vote to impeach.

Because Nixon resigned, a trial before the Senate — which experts say is generally when due process comes into play — was never held.

Clinton’s impeachment came at the end of a 4-year investigation by a special prosecutor, who’s report became the basis for the impeachment proceedings. Committee hearings were fairly perfunctory.

Observers say the closed hearings held by three House committees follow rules set out by Republicans for hearings into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi affair. Committee members of both parties have been allowed in the meetings.

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Randy has been with the Tulsa World since 1979. He is a native of Hinton, Okla., and graduate of Oklahoma State University. Krehbiel primarily covers government and politics. Phone: 918-581-8365

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