WASHINGTON — North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, a senior member on one of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, has skipped the vast majority of closed-door impeachment depositions.
An analysis of the 15 closed-door deposition transcripts that have been released by House lawmakers shows that Foxx wasn’t listed as present at any of those proceedings. The transcripts from two additional depositions still haven’t been released.
As a member of the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, Foxx was among the 47 Republicans who had access to the depositions. She and Republican Rep. Mark Meadows — a staunch Trump ally who also sits on the oversight panel — are the only two North Carolina lawmakers who had access to the proceedings.
Foxx has referred to the inquiry as a “sham” and she supported a motion to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for pursuing what she called a “partisan impeachment agenda.”
Foxx’s office did not respond to a request for comment about her attendance, but Foxx confirmed to a Spectrum News reporter in a Nov. 8 article that she hadn’t been in the room for the 15 depositions prior to that.
She told the news outlet that she had reviewed materials from the depositions, but pointed to scheduling conflicts to explain her absences.
“Several depositions have been scheduled when Congress is not in session and other events have been scheduled in North Carolina,” she said. “Others have had their time changed, conflicting with other responsibilities in Washington, including my work as Republican Leader on the Education and Labor Committee.”
Foxx was also not listed as present in the transcript of a Nov. 15 deposition with U.S. diplomat David Holmes, who testified publicly before the Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Foxx may have entered the deposition after the attendance was logged, in which case her presence wouldn’t necessarily have been noted in the transcript.
The transcript for a Nov. 16 deposition with Office of Management and Budget official Mark Sandy has not yet been released; it’s unclear whether Foxx attended.
Her absence from most or all of the depositions contrasts with that of Meadows, who has been logged as present in all but one of the impeachment inquiry transcripts released so far and who has emerged as one of the top House messengers leading the defense of the president.
Meadows “believes that as a member of the Oversight Committee, it’s important for him to be present at these depositions so he can ask questions of the witnesses, listen to testimony, and fully understand the facts so he can speak accurately on the issues,” his spokesman Ben Williamson said in a statement.
Many House Republicans have assailed the private nature of the inquiry in recent months, including some who had access to the depositions but did not attend.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats defended the closed-door proceedings as one step of the impeachment inquiry. They called it a private fact-finding process, much like the work of a grand jury, where proceedings aren’t open to the public. They have since released most of the transcripts and have held several public hearings.