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House Democrats to define scope, authority of Trump impeachment probe

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) reads a news report on May 08, 2019 in Washington, DC.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on Thursday on a resolution that outlines the panel’s authority and scope in an expanding impeachment probe into President Trump, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Though House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has previously said the committee is engaged in "formal impeachment proceedings," the resolution marks the committee's first official acknowledgement that it is considering articles of impeachment. Up until now, the committee had been claiming in court filings that it requires certain materials for the purposes of impeachment, but had not defined the investigation in Congress.

Details: If approved, the resolution would allow Nadler to designate hearings related to the probe to either the full committee or a subcommittee.

  • The resolution would also give committee staff an additional hour to question witnesses and deem all information gathered in the probe private until Nadler says otherwise.
  • It also allows Trump's legal counsel to review and respond in writing to impeachment-related evidence on Nadler's invitation.

Yes, but: While the resolution would formalize the impeachment investigation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet publicly endorsed impeachment, creating some confusion about how leadership will proceed. More than 130 House Democrats — a majority of the caucus — currently support an impeachment inquiry.

The other side: House Republicans on Monday accused Democrats of attempting to circumvent House rules and called for a full vote on an impeachment inquiry on the House floor.

  • House Judiciary Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) told Fox News on Sunday: "If they really want to do this, they have to bring impeachment to the floor. This is simply a show. It is a travesty. And, frankly, they should be ashamed.”

Context: The resolution comes a month after Nadler claimed on CNN that his panel had opened an impeachment inquiry.

  • During Congress's 6-week recess, the committee expanded its probe to include Trump's potential violations of the emoluments clause and hush money payments used to cover up alleged affairs during the 2016 presidential campaign.
  • Previously, the probe included only the allegations that Trump attempted to obstruct justice in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Read the full resolution: