Impeachment hearings: law professor Pamela Karlan had no patience for Rep. Doug Collins’s insults – Aaron Rupar Dec 4, 2019, 12:00pm EST

Republicans tried to turn House Judiciary’s first impeachment hearing into a sideshow, but Karlan wasn’t having it.

Stanford University Professor Pamela Karlan speaking into a microphone at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment.
Pamela Karlan of Stanford University testified before the House Judiciary Committee on December 4, 2019.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

During the first House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing on Wednesday, Republicans led by ranking member Doug Collins made it clear almost immediately that their strategy would be to interrupt the proceedings at every available opportunity and dismiss testimony from a panel of law professors as meaningless.

But during her opening statement, one of those law professors — Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor and appellate attorney — made clear that she had little patience for Collins’s tactics in particular.

“Here Mr. Collins I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts,” she said. “So I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”

Aaron Rupar


Doug Collins is making a mockery out of this

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Aaron Rupar


Pamela Karlan *is not* messing around: “Here Mr. Collins I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearings … I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”

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Karlan was responding to comments Collins made in his opening statement, including this shot at her profession:

America will see why most people don’t go to law school. No offense to our professors. But please, really, we’re bringing you in here today to testify on stuff most of you have already written about, all four, for the opinions that we already know out of the classrooms that maybe you’re getting ready for finals in, to discuss things that you probably haven’t had a chance — unless you’re really good on TV of watching the hearings over the last couple of weeks, you couldn’t have possibly actually digested the Adam Schiff report from yesterday or the Republican response in any real way.

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On Tuesday, the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to approve a report summing up its weeks of investigation, which included scores of hours of testimony both behind closed doors and broadcast to the American public. The report’s conclusion was damning — “that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection” — but easy to anticipate if you’d been paying attention to the two months of the impeachment inquiry.

The opening statements offered by Karlan and three other law professors made it clear why Republicans are focused on procedural distractions and making a mockery of the proceedings instead of defending Trump on the merits: Each of them with the exception of Jonathan Turley explicitly said that based on the record of last month’s witness testimony, they’ve concluded that Trump committed impeachable offenses.

The news moves fast. To stay updated, follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter, and read more of Vox’s policy and politics coverage.

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