I had a real problem with the Nov. 21 letter, “Dems pushing preordained impeachment outcome.” I thought the News Tribune did some fact-checking before publishing letters, but the paper printed the false statement that only Democrats were allowed to participate in the closed-door impeachment hearings. Both Republicans and Democrats were allowed in the “secret” room, and both sides were allowed equal time to question the witnesses.

Personally, I think closed-door hearings — which were held by Trey Gowdy on Benghazi, by the way — produce much more useful information than open hearings. But what I learned from the open hearings, from Ambassador Gordon Sondland, was that there was a quid pro quo and that everyone was in the loop, including President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giulani. They all knew that funds approved by Congress for Ukraine were being used as leverage for dirt on Joe Biden. I learned that mostly what Trump wanted was for the Ukrainian president to make a public announcement that an investigation would begin. Thanks to a brave whistleblower, this corrupt scheme was unsuccessful.

I learned from the hearings that the Republican Party is continuing to push a conspiracy theory that started in Russia that Ukraine hacked America in 2016. I believe Robert Mueller’s findings, the findings of our intelligence community, and other evidence show it was Russia that cyber-attacked America and that Russia is actively interfering now.

If, as the letter suggested, the outcome of the impeachment hearings is preordained, might it be because Trump is guilty?

Rhonda Swansen