Impeachment inquiry ramps up as Judiciary panel adopts procedural guidelines

The House committee passed a resolution Thursday that would set the outlines for future impeachment investigation hearings.

9/12/2019 5:27:00 PM

NEW: In party line vote, House Judiciary Cmte. has adopted a resolution setting up guidelines for investigation to determine if the cmte. could eventually recommend articles of impeachment. The measure is not a formal impeachment inquiry to the House.

The House committee passed a resolution Thursday that would set the outlines for future impeachment investigation hearings.

The resolution passed along party lines, 24-17."Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in his opening statement Thursday.

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"But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat. And we are doing so."Earlier this week, Nadler told NBC News that the purpose of the resolution was to put into effect"certain procedures to make that investigation more effective," a necessary move given that"the inquiry is getting more serious."

Under the resolution, which does not need to be approved by the full House, Nadler can designate hearings run by the full committee and its subcommittees as part of the impeachment investigation. The committee's lawyers are also able to question witnesses for an additional hour beyond the five minutes that are allotted to each member of Congress on the panel.

Additionally, the president’s lawyers won't be able to respond in writing to evidence and testimony presented to the committee, and evidence can be received in closed session.“This is part of a natural evolution and we have laid that out," a Democratic aide told reporters Monday."The committee has intensified its investigation, the evidence has accumulated. The Mueller hearings were an important inflection point for the members, and this is the next step in the process."

The first hearing that the Judiciary Committee has scheduled in which the procedures will be in effect is slated for Sept. 17, when former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is scheduled to testify. The committee has also subpoenaed Rick Dearborn, former White House deputy chief of staff for policy, and Rob Porter, former White House staff secretary, to testify that day as well. The White House has previously blocked key witnesses from appearing before Congress.

While Democrats have not set a deadline for recommending articles of impeachment, staffers have suggested a pre-election year timeframe.“I think it’s fair to say it’s the goal by the end of the year, but it’s not a hard and fast deadline. That’s our goal,” the aide said.

Nadler himself has been less definitive on a potential timeline, telling NBC News this week: “I don't know. I'd like to do it rather rapidly.”President Donald Trump speaks at the White House on Sept. 11, 2019.Alex Wong / Getty ImagesHe added that the committee was now weighing these “very specific procedures” because “the inquiry is getting more serious.”

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There has been significant confusion among lawmakers about the status of the investigation. Nadler said before Congress’s six-week summer recess that the panel was already in the midst of conducting an impeachment inquiry. Other lawmakers have said that that hasn’t been made clear.

“It has been an impeachment inquiry, and it continues to be,” Nadler said this week. “We have said that this is — and we've told the courts and we've said it in the hearings — that we are examining the various malfeasances of the president, with the view toward possibly, the possibility of introducing, of recommending articles of impeachment to the House. That is what an impeachment inquiry is.”

The Democratic aide briefing reporters Monday echoed Nadler. “This committee is absolutely in an impeachment investigation,” said the aide, who asked not to be identified, adding that the panel is “going full steam ahead.”Yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s careful public stance on impeachment has not changed. “The public isn’t there on impeachment,” she reiterated to House Democrats during a conference call in late August — though she didn’t close the door on the possibility of moving forward in the future.

Asked Monday if she agreed with Nadler's statement that impeachment proceedings have already been taking place, she avoided answering directly. “I really don't know what the chairman said, I do know that we have been on a path of investigation and that includes the possibility [of] legislation or impeachment,” she told reporters.

Pelosi also said she had signed off on Nadler’s decision to hold the vote on the resolution Thursday to establish the panel's impeachment investigation procedures.“We have been in an impeachment investigation in that we have been investigating whether or not the Judiciary Committee is going to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., a member of the Judiciary panel, told reporters this week. “This allows us to formalize that and also allows us to utilize slightly different procedures that will be helpful to us as we go through an investigation because the five-minute back and forth is very difficult.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which Jayapal is a co-chair, took an official position Tuesday supporting an impeachment investigation.More than half of the House Democratic caucus —— have publicly backed an impeachment inquiry, including 17 out of the 24 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

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Impeachment wasa major issue during congressional town halls over the August congressional recessas a significant number of House Democrats, especially freshmen members, continued to wrestle with the issue.Republicans continued to argue that Democrats need to take an official vote to begin any type of inquiry.

“The House of Representatives is not engaged in formal impeachment proceedings, as House Democrat leaders continue to note. Formal impeachment proceedings have always been authorized by a vote of the full House, which Speaker Pelosi has been careful not to allow,” the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said Wednesday, calling the panel's planned Thursday action “a meaningless reiteration of existing committee authorities, allowing the chairman to keep this story in the news when moderate Democrats simply want it to go away.”

Rebecca ShabadRebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.Alex MoeAlex Moe is a Capitol Hill producer for NBC News covering the House of Representatives. Read more: NBC News »

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Morning_Joe Taking our money in salaries to overturn an election. The worst kind of theft imaginable. Morning_Joe All bs. They had guidelines for Clinton. Morning_Joe I want him to be impeached because I can’t stand having to see his hair every time I turn on the TV. Morning_Joe Are they going to impeach Trump for making America great again?

What a joke!! Vote these idiot democRATS out!! Morning_Joe I’ve seen this movie already. Morning_Joe Symbol of Democracy needs to be displayed above everyone’s desk in Congress! Reminder to Help maintain democracy!!! Morning_Joe Impeach trump Yay bureaucracy Apparently Nadler has never read the book the boy that cried Wolf

Nadler is being primaried for not impeaching, he is going to run this out for a year with useless time wasting stuff like this.. there is nothing to impeach Trump on, if there was, it would have already happened.. dems and our free democrat press had been looking for 2 years I hope that even with a party line vote, Republicans privately and off the record thanked Rep Nadler for proceeding with the impeachment inquiry

just look at the face of a silly ass 10th grader that we pay a salary to. he is a poster child for term limits and NY keeps electing this tried ole fart! maybe he is the sacrificial lamb and does not even know it! he will once the AG indictment begin!! The Dems are bullshitting us. Morning_Joe The Evilcrats just don't get it. You lost the election and now you are making sure LOL that you lose huge in 2020. America is sick of your antics.

MeetThePress This is a joke. Impeach for what? Winning an election? No collusion. No Obstruction. Dems have no ideas and have a clown car full of candidates in primary. If Nadler wanted the truth he would have the IG in for testimony. But that would be devastating to the Dems false narrative. Spineless fucks.

MeetThePress OMG. Just get on with it! MeetThePress 'We want accountability!' 'When do you want it?' 'We want it...eventually...' Team Pelosi - the choice of the Appeasement Generation. MeetThePress Ah yes....the ‘ol “investigate the need for an investigation” investigation MeetThePress So it is a sham political stunt?

Note to NBC So called News....there is no provision in the constitution that allows for an inquiry...this is political gamesmanship by Nerdler and his merry buch of idiots... Their goal is to smear the President and to try to get under his skin. MeetThePress Is this some sort of sick joke? RepJerryNadler

WTF Another stall tactic! lauferlaw Sounds pretty straight forward..... Nothing but a lame show that makes the liberal party look foolish everyday they continue this NONSENSE!!😝 Well this should be a slam dunk, NADLER & SCHIFF said they have absolute evidence that Trump colluded with Russia. Plus ensures Trump 4 more years. Awesome move.

This will mean nothing if they do not jail people who ignore subpoenas. ImpeachTrumpNow impeachtalibantrump 'guidelines', 'could eventually'? Well, that sounds like a whole lot of nothing other than fancy talk for pull my finger. Ugh. So in other words, every subpoena will be a no show and zero documents will be produced!

Fools How craptastic! GiveItUp everyone knows no matter what realDonaldTrump CANNOT BE TOUCHED... HE'S GOING NOWHERE playing politics and wasting time. Do the goddamn formal impeachment inquiry or don't do it, pretending to do it is pathetic But👇👇👇 He’s stealing! His family is stealing! He’s rolling back protections of natural resources!

Potential impeachment coming in the next 10-15 years Eventually after he leaves office. you guys play around screw up worse than TRUMP! trumps crszy do something now not 10 years later! It’s an investigation. Stop the semantics. Determine... eventually...recommend. SMDH Trump should be Impeached America Deserves Better

So long overdue.

Are Democrats conducting an impeachment inquiry? It depends who you askHouse Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and other committee Democrats say there's no ambiguity: They are now conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. brain-dead for trump Not if Nancy has anything to say about it. 🙄 Waste of taxpayer money again by Dems - they don’t have the votes. Just like the GOP didn’t for the Wild Willy blowjob in the Oval Office.

House Judiciary Committee approves guidelines for Trump impeachment probeThe House Judiciary Committee approved the parameters for its impeachment investigation into Donald Trump — the most significant step Democrats have yet taken as they weigh the divisive move You ever see a young couple trying to play house? They think they have adulting figured out and it’s sort of cute but naive from the outside looking in. That’s what this feels like. Then reality sets in and smacks them in the face. HouseJudiciary Why don't they investigate themselves. There is more evidence there.

House panel approves impeachment inquiry parameters as Democrats try to clarify their strategyThe House Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a resolution defining the rules of the panel's impeachment investigation, the first vote the committee has taken related to the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump. realDonaldTrump celebrating the elections ... Trump just invited the Taliban, Boko Haram and the Proud Boys to Camp David for a slumber party. Thanks for the rallying cry

House Panel Approves Procedures for Trump Impeachment ProbeThe House Judiciary Committee formalized procedures for its investigation into whether to recommend articles of impeachment against President Trump, ratcheting up a probe that has lasted all year. Make America Covfefe Again Take a good aim Jerry The urgency of the House to get rid of the moron is breathtaking.

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House Judiciary considers steps for impeachmentWASHINGTON, D.C. - The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee to consider steps to formalize an investigation that could lead to the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Having said much success aren't they 😂😂😂 They could start by throwing non-cooperating persons in jail for contempt like they do to everyone not in the government. Extract that cancer from the Whitehouse.