The House Judiciary Committee plans to vote on a resolution as early as Wednesday to formalize procedures for its so-called impeachment inquiry in hopes of moving it along faster this fall, according to reports.
This is despite the full House never taking a vote on impeachment and only a third of the House backing impeachment or an impeachment inquiry, as well as a recent poll showing that impeachment is opposed by most Americans.
Sen. Doug Collins (R-GA), the ranking Republican on the committee, said in a tweet Monday that Judiciary Democrats “are trying to pull a fast one on Americans.”
“They know they don’t have the votes for the whole House to impeach, so they’re trying to adopt committee rules to govern an ‘impeachment investigation’ the House hasn’t even authorized,” he added.
Judiciary Democrats are trying to pull a fast one on Americans. They know they don’t have the votes for the whole House to impeach, so they’re trying to adopt committee rules to govern an “impeachment investigation” the House hasn’t even authorized.https://t.co/RAJHFLo9wu
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) September 9, 2019
Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who faces primary challenges from his left, has insisted that the committee’s investigation into whether President Trump has obstructed justice and should be impeached is “formal impeachment proceedings.”
Historically, an impeachment inquiry begins after a full vote in the House. The issue is then referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which would draft articles of impeachment for another vote by the House.
Without a majority support in the House, Nadler is effectively skipping the first step to begin an impeachment inquiry.
According to the New York Times:
Committee leaders hope the move will send a signal to Congress and the White House that their investigation is not only proceeding but intensifying, even as the broader Democratic Party caucus remains divided over the merits of ultimately voting to impeach Mr. Trump.
The committee has a draft resolution that will formalize procedures for the so-called impeachment proceedings, which Democrats believe will speed up the committee’s work.
The resolution, according to a copy obtained and published by Politico, would allow Nadler to designate subcommittees to conduct hearings to allow the investigation to move faster; allow staff in addition to lawmakers to question witnesses to allow for more questioning; set standards for information collected by the committee; and give Trump and his lawyers due process and allow them to offer input on the findings.
“What they’re doing is they’re going to try to change our rules and it’s really sad because what they’re trying to make it look more impeachment-like. They want to make it look like they’re doing something that they promised their base, because they’ve been out promising they would get this president,” Collins said on Fox News on Monday.
“They want people to believe something that’s not true. They want to continue to put a false narrative out there,” he added. “And really my concern is when does it cross the line of being a House Judiciary Committee, and when do they become just being part of the DNC campaign operations next year?”
Currently, more than 130 Democrats and one independent support impeachment or an impeachment inquiry. Democrats need 218 in the House to reach a majority and formally impeach the president.
During the House’s summer recess, more than 30 lawmakers came out in support of impeachment, with a steady number of Democrats coming out every week. However, it has now been more than a week since anyone has come out in support, with the House back in session and looking at a busy fall.
The latest polling on impeachment, by Monmouth University Polling Institute, showed that 59 percent of Americans oppose impeachment.
The Judiciary Committee also plans to look into payments by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.