‘Mad Dog’ Doug Collins Is the Unlikely GOP Star of Impeachment
The Georgia Rep. is perhaps Trump’s biggest asset in the House inquiry
The House Judiciary Committee began its hearings in Trump’s impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, which means it’s also time for an unlikely figure, Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, to get a star turn of his own.
The four-term Republican and Iraq War veteran, who’s been the ranking member on the committee since last year, has long been known on the Hill for his folksy, affable demeanor. Since the launch of the impeachment inquiry in November, he’s also become one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest defenders — a position that’s left Democrats frustrated and Republicans singing his praises.
“He was not someone in the 115th Congress who took a great deal of interest in the investigations that were adjacent to this presidency, [but] since then he has gone to work like a madman,” said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican who also sits on the Judiciary Committee. “He has studied every transcript, reviewed the hearing material, and he’s done a great job leading our team.” Gaetz initially opposed Collins’ ascension to the top slot in the committee, in part because he sensed Collins had no interest in conducting investigations into the Obama administration or Hillary Clinton. But now Gaetz is singing a different tune: “I was clearly wrong in assuming that he was not up to the task when he initially expressed interest in that position,” he said.
Collins has also developed a reputation in D.C. as a workhorse, thanks in part to his efforts to usher through the First Step Act, which was the first serious overhaul of the nation’s criminal justice system in decades and was signed into law by Trump late last year. He’s apparently brought that same gusto to the impeachment hearings. On Wednesday, Collins tried to discredit the constitutional experts brought to testify before the committee, alleging they didn’t have enough time to prepare their testimonies. “He really is capable at the art of legislating,” Gaetz said. “And he’s now shown himself, you know, quite capable as well on these investigations.” (The constitutional experts didn’t see it that way: Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan coldly assured Collins that she “would not speak about these…