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South Florida Lawmakers Share Thoughts On Vote To Begin Impeachment Hearings

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida lawmakers shared their thoughts Thursday night following the historic vote to begin impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump.

In a near party-line vote, Congress will begin to hold public impeachment hearings against President Trump.

The president tweeted the impeachment inquiry is "The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!"

Congressman Ted Deutch says otherwise.

"The American people will fully be able to see the full story, to understand the depths of the effort by the president through Rudy Giuliani and others to use foreign policy for his own political gain," he said.

Congresswoman Donna Shalala says Thursday's "yes" vote doesn't mean she's made up her mind.

"It doesn't mean that I am going to vote for impeachment. I'm going to wait until all the evidence has been laid out,"she said.

Mario Diaz-Balart, South Florida's lone-standing Republican congressman, said in a statement:

"By any objective measure, the process that Democratic Leadership has been utilizing, and now is ratifying, is an absolute violation of fairness, transparency, due process, and House precedent. As Hamilton said  in federalist papers (#65) about the impeachment process, '… the greatest danger [is] that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.'"

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson defended the previous process by describing a grand jury type setting.

"What you don't want to do is have one witness come and, it's public, and it sort of takes what the next witness says because they could say the same thing or know how to react," she said.

The resolution approved Thursday also allows the president and his counsel to question witnesses.

But Democrats can strip the president's rights if he doesn't cooperate.

Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says this still means both sides will be heard.

"We just need to put to rest any doubt that my Republican colleagues and the White House, and this president will not have due process through the investigation," she said.

In a statement to CBS4 News, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says this vote means three things:

"Our elections and national security cannot be recklessly threatened by this President. Mounting evidence shows that Trump betrayed his oath and abused his power by withholding vital military assistance to Ukraine to combat Russian aggression and pressured the Ukrainian President to investigate his political opponents, all for his own personal and political gain. For that, there must be accountability. So I support today's vote to fully investigate whether President Trump pressured a foreign country to investigate his political opponents, interfere with the 2020 election and determine whether there were attempts to cover up that conduct. No one, including this president, is above the law."

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