The House Judiciary Committee voted this week on formalizing procedures for a growing impeachment inquiry, clarifying its investigative authorities and granting President Trump new due process.” The vote could come as early as Wednesday and will define the scope of the investigation. The House took similar steps before the impeachments of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
The Times viewed a copy of the three-page resolution, which is meant to help the Judiciary Committee speed up its work and “elicit more information than it otherwise could about instances of possible obstruction of justice and abuses of power” by Trump. By bringing the resolution to the floor, the committee is forcing the first public vote on whether to impeach Trump.
It’s becoming increasingly likely that such a vote would pass. As of late last week, at least 134 of the 235 House Democrats have voiced their support for an impeachment inquiry. This week’s vote could help clarify the next steps. One source who talked with Politico said the vote would increase the “officialness” of the committee’s ongoing probe of Trump’s many malfeasances.
The new procedures may include allowing the full committee or its subcommittees to conduct part of the impeachment inquiry. That would mean that smaller subcommittees could investigate with greater speed. The proposed procedures may define the methods for questioning witnesses who come before the committee. Some sources told the New York Times that the resolution might also contain due process measures for Trump, including allowing Trump’s legal team to have input on how the investigation should proceed.
The committee has an awful lot of material to work with. First, Trump has outright refused to cooperate with duly issued subpoenas for his financial records, forcing the committee’s hand and making impeachment the only way to bring all his misdeeds to light.
Moreover, Trump commits impeachable offences regularly. He has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits him from personally profiting off the presidency, on several different occasions. He’s being investigated for so many shady deals it is hard to keep track. And his behavior is growing more and more erratic, as evinced by last week’s peculiar insistence that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama — behavior so erratic it led him to break the law by displaying a weather map altered to look as if Dorian would strike there.
While prominent Democrats may differ on whether impeachment is the most effective tool to remove Trump from office, there’s no real disagreement he’s committed many impeachable offences. This week’s resolution just brings Trump ever closer to the punishment he so richly deserves.