BEATRICE – Asked about the impeachment inquiry going on in Washington, a Nebraska House member initially deflected the question, preferring to focus on something he sees as more important.


"We have a trade agreement, that has the votes, that I believe Speaker Pelosi's even in support of, but she won't schedule it. And, this trade bill has priorities that the Democrats have been requesting, literally, for decades".


Nebraska 3rd District House Republican Adrian Smith acknowledged in an interview at KWBE Wednesday that much the energy is now being devoted to impeachment of the President. Smith said in the area of trade, he is not a fan of tariff’s as part of trade negotiations.


The impeachment inquiry will move from closed-door hearings to public hearings, beginning next week, focusing on testimony given to House committees investigating the Trump administration for its alleged withholding of foreign aid to Ukraine. Smith is critical of the process used in the investigation so far.
"Republicans on the intelligence committee were in the room but had no power to subpoena witnesses. My observation was that Adam Schiff subpoened witnesses according to who he wanted to hear from....and then it would appear to be there were selected leaks of various testimony".


Transcripts of testimony are now being released, ahead of the public hearing phase of the investigation next week. Smith described it as an attempt to reverse the last presidential election….one where Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton but was victorious in the electoral college vote.
Smith said, "It's unfortunate that there is so much bickering going on, because we've got big issues that need to be resolved. Trade is among them. And, I'm hoping to get my bill passed to rename Homestead National Monument to a historical park".


Smith was asked about the concern of foreign interference in U.S. elections, which the nation’s intelligence agencies said happened in the 2016 election.
"I think it could happen again. I would imagine there have been attempts even prior to the last presidential election. We should all be concerned about that. I'm convinced there are a lot of efforts to maintain election security and integrity".


On that bill to rename the national monument near Beatrice as a national park, Smith said it is awaiting full floor action in the House and Senate.
"The best thing to take place is the local community making sure that folks were on board and that it didn't start out in a controversial state. That helped me do my job in communicating to committee members. When you look at actual floor time, obviously time resources are limited, even without impeachment. Now, it's even more limited with so many resources devoted to impeachment. But, I'm still optimistic that we can get this done, in a timely fashion.


Smith says it may be possible to move the legislation forward by attaching it to another bill.