House Democrats reportedly held a closed-door meeting in the moments before the House Judiciary Committee began its first impeachment hearing Wednesday morning.
According to a Washington Post report Wednesday, multiple Democratic lawmakers who attended the meeting said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made clear that impeachment is coming, despite the lack of an announcement in moving toward a vote.
“Are you ready?” Pelosi asked her colleagues after describing the constitutional violations that President Trump committed in light of his Ukraine pressure campaign, according to the Post. Multiple members told the Post that the caucus met Pelosi’s remarks with shouts of approval.
According to a CNN report, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) said that after the meeting, Democratic lawmakers took up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) request to keep the discussion secret “because it’s family stuff.”
“You know, you’ve got your own family, you want to discuss things, you want to throw people out that don’t belong there,” Pascrell told CNN. “Nothing serious.”
CNN reported that staffers weren’t allowed in the meeting and members were banned from bringing their cell phones into the room.
Pascrell also told CNN that House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) briefed members on the committee’s impeachment report released Tuesday and that Schiff “made the right decisions” on the impeachment process. The Post added that Schiff also explained to colleagues that he did not wait for additional witnesses before issuing his report by referencing a recent newspaper editorial that urged Democrats to slow down and use the courts to force testimony from potential witnesses such as former national security adviser John Bolton. However, the Post noted that Schiff argued that the courts haven’t expedited the upholding of congressional subpoenas fast enough.
When pressed on next steps, Pascrell confidently told CNN that Democrats are “going to vote to impeach” and that “if the evidence is there, we will vote.” Pascrell added that “there is no anxiety” despite how Democrats are “not happy we’re at this point or doing this” but that “it’s got to be done.”
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) told CNN that Democrats kept the meeting confidential because “we’re at a really critical moment” and that they’re “going to be very thoughtful about how we move forward” given the House Intelligence’s impeachment report that contains “the fact that the facts stack up so tall against the President and his behavior.”