- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2019

House Democrats released their resolution outlining the new procedures in the impeachment inquiry, laying the groundwork for the closed-door proceedings to be opened to the public.

In the resolution, House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff would be given the power to call open hearings in which only he and ranking member Devin Nunes — and a staffer if either yields — can ask questions for up to 45 minutes on each side.

Those hearings would then revert to the typical five-minute per member question rounds.

Mr. Schiff would also be given the authority to publicly release transcripts of the closed-door depositions.

The Ukraine investigation, lead by the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs  committees, have taken place at a rapid pace over the last few weeks, but all behind closed doors.

The heads of those three committees — Mr. Schiff, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Eliot L. Engel — along with House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said their investigation has already garnered “extensive evidence and testimony.”

“The evidence we have already collected paints the picture of a President who abused his power by using multiple levers of government to press a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 election,” they said in a statement. “Following in the footsteps of previous impeachment inquiries, the next phase will move from closed depositions to open hearings where the American people will learn firsthand about the President’s misconduct.”

The Judiciary Committee will receive a report from the three committees leading the Ukraine investigation on their findings and all the records from their investigations. It would also be able to craft its own rules on for its own hearings and procedures over impeachment, including how President Trump and his legal team can cross examine or call witnesses.

As explained in a fact sheet from the Democrats, the president and his team can respond to evidence, can request additional testimony or witnesses, and attend Judiciary hearings.

Though there is a catch — no more obstruction.

“If the President unlawfully refuses to cooperate with Congressional requests, the Chair shall have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies, including by denying specific requests by the President or his counsel,” the fact sheet reads.

Republicans have spent the last few weeks railing against the proceedings, slamming it as a sham, illegitimate, and unfair process that limited their participation and lacked due process.

The resolution would also grant the ranking members of the Intelligence and the Judiciary committees the ability to formally request their own witnesses and subpoenas, if they can get the chairs or committees to approve them.

“Any such request shall be accompanied by a detailed written justification of the relevance of the testimony of each requested witness to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution,” the resolution notes.

While these procedures mostly already exist in House rules, this resolution doesn’t give Republicans any real power in these proceedings. They’ve always been able to request witnesses from Democrats.

In a note to Republicans, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise continued to slam the impeachment inquiry as “tainted.”

“The resolution fails to provide the minority and the administration with the same due process rights which have been afforded in past presidential impeachments and is simply meant to authorize the production of a tainted document authored by Chairman Schiff,” a memo from Mr. Scalise’s office read.

Democrats were expected to put the resolution to a vote this week, but Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer softened that deadline earlier Tuesday morning as most members had yet to see what they’d be voting on.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide