Sep 12, 2019

House Judiciary approves resolution outlining rules for Trump impeachment inquiry

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and its ranking member Doug Collins. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee approved Thursday a resolution that outlines the rules and scope for its impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The 24-17 vote was along party lines.

Why it matters: It's the committee's first vote on an action related to its ongoing impeachment probe and grants House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) wide-ranging powers moving forward.

Details: The resolution allows Nadler the ability to brand hearings as impeachment hearings and designate hearings related to the probe to either the full committee or a subcommittee. It also gives committee staff an additional hour to question witnesses and deems all information gathered in the probe private until Nadler says otherwise.

  • It stipulates that Trump's legal counsel is able to review and respond in writing to impeachment-related evidence only on Nadler's invitation.
  • The scope of the inquiry includes Trump's potential violations of the emoluments clause, hush money payments used to cover up alleged affairs and his alleged attempts to obstruct justice in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Yes, but: While the resolution formalizes the impeachment investigation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet publicly endorsed impeachment. However, a majority of House Dems support an impeachment inquiry.

The other side: Before the vote, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the ranking member on the committee, criticized Dems for creating "a giant Instagram filter" to make the resolution appear as formal impeachment proceedings.

  • "The chairman can do this at any time, because he wants the appearance of something that it's not. You're not in an impeachment inquiry," Collins said.

Go deeper: The impeachment whip list

Go deeper