The House Judiciary Committee approved a resolution Thursday outlining its procedures for moving forward with an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, after a two hour debate in which Republicans accused Democrats of muddying up the issue.
Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) sought to move past the semantic debates, pleading that he “no longer care[d] to argue about the nomenclature.”
“This Committee is investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment. Some call this process an impeachment inquiry,” Nadler said. “Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms.”
The resolution passed in a party-line vote, 24-17. It sets up the protocols for questioning witnesses and for the President to formally respond to their testimony.
Throughout the hearing, Republicans mocked Democrats for failing to hold a full House vote on launching an impeachment inquiry and claimed that the new protocols the panel was approving were already within the committee’s authority.
“What happened today is great. The Judiciary Committee became a giant Instagram filter to make you appear that something is happening that is not,” Rep. Doug Collins, (R-GA) the top Republican on the committee said. He said that the difference between a formal inquiry and what was being voted on Thursday was “a world apart.”
While many Democratic members of the committee are some of the most vocal advocates for impeachment, the desire to charge towards a Trump impeachment is much more mixed among the broader House Democratic caucus.
Democrats in recent weeks have also sought to broaden their investigation into Trump. They’ve pivoted away from a focus on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report and toward other Trump episodes of alleged corruption and obstruction, such as his reported promises to aides that he’d pardon them for any law they broke in trying to build the wall along the southern border.
But Democratic oversight attempts have been stonewalled by an uncooperative administration, and the House has been slow to bring to the courts proactive legal battles over Trump’s compliance with their investigation. Whether Thursday’s resolution puts new vigor in the effort remains to be seen.
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