SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The impeachment inquiry is set to enter a new phase, allowing the American people to watch for themselves.
Utah Representative Chris Stewart, who has been an outspoken critic of the process to this point, says he supports going public.
Open hearings are set to begin next week, meaning Americans from coast to coast can catch all the testimony at the same time as lawmakers.
“I’ve been deeply concerned in the past that we are doing this in secret. We can’t impeach a president and remove him from office in hearings that the American people don’t get to listen to, don’t get to watch and make their own judgment. So, I’m really happy that we are moving into open hearings,” said Stewart, (R) Utah.
But, Stewart hasn’t been happy with how the process has gone until now.
He says it has been unfair and fails to meet the standard of impeachment.
“Not a single witness has been able to come down to us and say this is what he did, and we actually think it’s criminal, not a single one has claimed he broke any laws,” Stewart said.
Congressional Democrats have a different view. They believe witnesses are backing up reasons to impeach.
“Ambassador Sondland explicitly admitted in his corrected testimony that a quid quo pro did most certainly occur,” said Representative Gerry Connolly, (D) Virginia.
Stewart says Democrats have been wanting to impeach the president since the day he was elected.
He says it should be left to the voters.
“Our founders got it right when they said “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and anything short of that, settle it at the ballot box. And, that’s where this should be settled, let the American people decide in 2020,” said Stewart.
He has been one of the most outspoken Republicans when it comes to the inquiry and has drawn criticism as a partisan defender of the president.
He says he calls it as he sees it, case by case.
“I was critical of him on the wall and family separation, I was very critical of him on some of his comments about the intelligence community, I was critical about his withdrawal of U.S. soldiers and how they did that in Syria. So, I just do what I think is right,” he said.
The televised public impeachment hearings are set to begin on Wednesday.