CHARLESTON — U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., did not attend the deposition of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, taken during the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. That day, she toured a rock quarry in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
A week later, she missed out on testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, taken as part of the probe regarding whether Trump withheld foreign aid in order to obtain Ukrainian assistance in his reelection bid.
That morning, she attended a committee hearing on building cleaner, stronger buildings in light of climate change. That afternoon, she attended a subcommittee on Coast Guard and maritime transportation hearing, titled “China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative: Implications for the Global Maritime Supply Chain.”
During the testimony of Sondland, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Miller either appeared at various other committee and subcommittee hearings around Capitol Hill or toured her home district.
Transcripts detailing the depositions of all three, plus Kurt Volker, special U.S. envoy to Ukraine, do not list Miller in attendance. A spokesman for Miller would not comment on her whereabouts during the depositions.
“Congresswoman Miller has been present throughout the interviews as her committee obligations and schedule allowed,” said Miller spokeswoman Samantha Cantrell. “You’ve identified a few instances of those other commitments. Again, out of an abundance of caution for the security and process, we’re not commenting further on anything.”
The interviews have been conducted behind closed doors, although members of three committees handling impeachment proceedings may attend. Miller, who sits on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, can appear and question witnesses if she chooses, as she has acknowledged.
William Taylor, America’s top diplomat in Ukraine, reportedly testified that Trump threatened to withdraw American military aid to Ukraine unless that nation agreed to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a Democrat seeking to challenge Trump in the 2020 election, and his son, Hunter.
A transcript released Wednesday afternoon lists Miller in attendance. However, that same day, she joined other House Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia, in protesting “the Democrats’ secrecy regarding impeachment.”
A week later, she released a statement after voting against procedural rules surrounding the impeachment inquiry, alleging that the Democrat majority is operating on an assumption of guilt and “Soviet-style” tactics.
“Their investigation is centered around secret hearings and selective leaks designed to damage the president,” she said. “This process lacks transparency and fairness.”
While some Trump allies — namely GOP Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows — have used their ability to attend the meetings to discount witness testimony, Miller has avoided the fray.
Jay Wyatt, director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education, said he didn’t know whether there’s precedent for skipping out on impeachment proceedings.
“I think the thing with impeachment is, there aren’t that many of them, and as we’re learning, the precedents are sort of ambiguous in some cases,” he said.