House Will Vote To Formalize Impeachment Procedures In Ongoing Inquiry< < Back to
Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a letter to Democrats on Monday that the House will vote to formalize the procedures in the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Trump.
The resolution will outline the terms for public hearings, the disclosure of deposition transcripts, procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee, and due process rights for President Trump.
Senior Democratic aides said the resolution will be released on Wednesday, with a House vote on Thursday.
“We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives,” Pelosi wrote.
So far the White House has refused to comply with the investigation because the House had not voted. It is unclear if passage of the resolution will change White House strategy as the investigation intensifies.
The White House and congressional Republicans have criticized Democrats for not voting at the onset to authorize the impeachment inquiry with a full House vote, as Congress did during the Clinton impeachment. Neither the Constitution, nor House Rules, requires that but it gave Republicans a unifying talking point to attack the inquiry so far.
Republicans were quick to move the goal post following Pelosi’s announcement. “We will not legitimize the Schiff/Pelosi sham impeachment,” tweeted Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff is leading the impeachment investigation.
Congressional Republicans have largely focused their lines of defense on the process and not on the substance of the allegations against Trump and that he abused his office to pressure Ukraine to advance investigations that would help him politically. House GOP strategy will also have to evolve as the investigation takes a more public turn.
So far the inquiry has taken place behind closed doors. Schiff has promised public hearings, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., has said he would like the House to wrap its work on impeachment by the end of the year. The House is currently scheduled to be in session just 19 more days this year, putting Democrats under an ever-increasing time crunch.
If the House approves any articles of impeachment against Trump, it will trigger a near immediate trial in the Senate to decide whether or not to remove him from office. The most recent impeachment trial of Clinton in 1999 lasted five weeks. Many lawmakers say they would like to conclude the impeachment process before ballots start being cast in the 2020 presidential election, which kicks off Feb. 3 with the Iowa Caucuses.