House Impeachment Resolution Authorizes Fishing Expedition Probes that Go Far Beyond Ukraine

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, right, accompanied by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, speaks about the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

The House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry resolution would officially authorize probes into U.S. President Donald Trump that are unrelated to the Ukraine-linked allegations that triggered the investigation to impeach him, including efforts to obtain the commander in chief’s tax returns.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the text of the resolution states that the measure orders “certain committees” to continue investigating whether there is sufficient evidence to impeach Trump and “for other purposes,” without explaining what those purposes are.

In other words, the resolution, expected to be voted on this week, would authorize any ongoing Trump investigations under the sun. The measure is expansive, breathing new life into a wide range of non-Ukraine probes, including an ongoing investigation by the House Judiciary Committee into whether Trump paid money to silence sexual affairs accusations.

Echoing some Republican lawmakers, the White House has rejected the resolution as an “illegitimate sham.”

House Democrat impeachment investigators are supposed to be trying to determine if Trump abused his power by allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for aid during a July 25 call.

A “whistleblower” complaint accusing Trump of making the alleged quid pro quo offer during the call triggered the impeachment inquiry. Trump and Ukraine have denied the allegation.

House Democrats, however, have signaled that they are moving beyond the Ukraine-linked allegations and making the impeachment probe a fishing expedition.

Some of the House committees authorized to investigate Trump by the resolution are not directly involved in the impeachment inquiry process.

So far, the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs have been conducting the investigation. Ordinarily, the House Judiciary Committee manages the argument for impeachment. During the impeachment investigation into Trump, however, the House Committee on Intelligence led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has taken the lead of the probe.

The resolution directs:

Certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes.

The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committees on Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and Ways and Means, are directed to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America.

The powerful Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee has demanded Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns. Trump has refused to release that information.

Meanwhile, the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees have subpoenaed some banks for years of financial documents from the president, his two sons, and daughter, as well as the president’s companies. The House panels have asked Deutsche Bank to hand over some of the Trump tax returns in its possession.

Some of the House committees mentioned in the resolution are also looking into potential conflicts of interest involving Trump’s businesses.

The Financial Services Committee, led by the ardently anti-Trump Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), is also “investigating possible ties between Russian financial institutions, Mr. Trump and anyone affiliated with him,” the Wall Street Journal noted in early May.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (R-NY), one of Trump’s most vocal critics, is also investigating Trump’s business dealings. Some of the committee investigations legitimized by the resolution are trying to revive the Robert Mueller Russian collusion hoax investigation.

The Democrat-led committees highlighted in the resolution have spent months investigating allegations that Trump used his office to make money in violation of the law, obstructed justice during the Mueller investigation, and paid hush-money to women.

Under the resolution, those investigations would officially become part of the impeachment inquiry, radically expanding the probe far beyond Ukraine.

The resolution orders the House intelligence panel to transfer the impeachment probe evidence it collects to the Judiciary Committee, which is expected to draft articles of impeachment based on the other committees’ findings.

If the Democrat-led House approves those articles, the Senate would then hold a trial to decide if they want to convict or acquit Trump. Two-thirds (67 members) of the Senate would have to vote in favor of convicting Trump to remove him from office.

Trump has accused the Democrats of trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election with their impeachment efforts.

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