U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner on Friday added his name to a list of Republican senators supporting a resolution denouncing the Democratic-controlled House for treating President Donald Trump unfairly in its impeachment inquiry.
Introduced Thursday by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a key Trump ally, the resolution calls on the House to conduct a formal vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry, as well as to let the president confront his accusers and give House Republicans the chance to call their own witnesses.
By Friday afternoon, 50 Senate Republicans had put their name on the non-binding resolution, leaving just three GOP members bucking their party — Maine's Susan Collins, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Utah's Mitt Romney.
“I had hoped Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi would turn away from the sharp partisanship that has driven the House process, but she has not," Gardner said in a statement. "I hope people will read the resolution and that everyone supports a fair and transparent process. This resolution shouldn’t be necessary, but when a serious investigation to get all of the facts turns into a political circus, it’s necessary to be reminded of it.”
Facing a competitive re-election bid next year in a state where Trump is deeply unpopular, Gardner has attacked the impeachment process as excessively partisan but has refused to say whether he thinks it was appropriate for the president to ask foreign powers to investigate a domestic political rival — the crux of the House Democrats' four-week-old impeachment inquiry.
Three House committees — including lawmakers from both parties — have been questioning administration officials behind closed doors for weeks, and House Democrats say they plan to conduct public hearings once they've completed a phase of the inquiry some compare to a grand jury's investigation, which take place in secret.
If the House votes to impeach Trump, the president would then face a trial in the GOP-run Senate, where both sides would be able to call and question witnesses.
Quoting a Washington Post editorial, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, an Arvada Democrat, on Friday pushed back against the GOP's criticism of the impeachment process.
"'Republicans have offered no persuasive defense of the president’s actions, because there is none,'" Perlmutter said on Twitter. "Instead they continue to perpetuate false claims and attack the process, a clear sign they are getting desperate."
The Colorado Republican Party, however, voted unanimously on Friday to support Trump and stand behind the Graham resolution, described by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck as condemning "House Democrats’ secretive, illegitimate impeachment inquiry."
“These shady, closed-door impeachment proceedings deny our president due process," said Buck, who doubles as the state GOP chairman, in a statement. "While House Democrats continue to waste taxpayer resources on endless fishing expeditions, Colorado Republicans applaud President Trump and his dedication to delivering outstanding results for the American people."
A spokeswoman for the Colorado Democrats tore into Gardner on Friday after his name appeared on a list of the Senate resolution's co-sponsors.
"Instead of letting a full investigation play out, [Gardner] is telling Coloradans that the facts don’t matter and is defending a president who has abused the power of his office in a desperate attempt to save face with the Trump base," said Alyssa Roberts in an emailed statement.
Also on Friday, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, attacked what he called "kangaroo court tactics" of Democrats pursuing impeachment.
Among other grievances, he cited his participation along with approximately 40 House Republicans in storming a closed-door committee meeting on Wednesday. Lamborn does not sit on the three principal committees conducting impeachment hearings, which are limited to committee members.
Nevertheless, his office pointed to his seat on the House Armed Services Committee as justification for why he should have been allowed to hear the testimony of Laura Cooper, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.
The president stands accused of attempting to use federal aid as leverage against Ukraine to prompt an investigation of political rival Joe Biden.
"I find it disgraceful that, as a Member of Congress, I have repeatedly been denied access to the information related to this phony impeachment process," Lamborn said. "The Democrats have acted with Soviet-style secrecy because they know that if the facts come out, the American people will realize that this whole process is a sham."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has not indicated when the testimony of witnesses will be made public.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect Rep. Doug Lamborn's comments.