The impeachment inquiry resolution put forth by House Democrats includes a “loophole” that would give the majority party, or Democrats, on the Judiciary Committee the power to reject witnesses requested by the White House, Roll Call reports.
Democrats released the text of the inquiry resolution on Tuesday, which Republicans say does little to nothing to address their concerns moving forward.
According to Roll Call, a provision in the resolution gives Democrats the ability to block key witnesses requested by the White House as the process moves to the House Judiciary Committee, led by chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
Per Roll Call:
Under the House Judiciary procedures, Trump and his counsel will be invited to attend all panel proceedings and ask questions. They can also request additional evidence or witness testimony, but the “committee shall determine whether the suggested evidence is necessary or desirable.”
In other words, the provision gives Nadler and fellow Democrats on the committee power to reject White House witnesses as a form of retribution.
“While those due process rights generally align with ones afforded in the previous two presidential impeachments, they provide a big caveat that allows Democrats to strip Trump’s rights away as easily as they gave them to him,” Roll Call explains, adding that the provision applies “to Trump’s stonewalling of any ongoing probes in the Intelligence, Oversight, Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, Financial Services and Ways and Means committees.”
Roll Call explains:
The provision gives Nadler broad discretion to punish Trump for stonewalling any aspect of Democrats’ impeachment investigation, not just allegations Trump withheld U.S. military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate his political rivals that are the primary focus of the inquiry.
If Trump doesn’t turn over his tax returns to the Ways and Means Committee or his financial records to the Financial Services panel — requests he and his counsel are currently fighting in court — Nadler can use his discretion to deny him and his counsel access to the impeachment proceedings.
When Roll Call asked him about the provision, Nadler remained tight-lipped, describing it simply as a “precaution” and adding, “I hope we don’t need to use it.”
As Breitbart News reported, the impeachment resolution also stifles the minority party’s ability to call on the “whistleblower” to testify, giving House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who has been conducting impeachment depositions in a secret room in the Capitol Hill basement, unprecedented power:
In addition, while chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) can reject witnesses proposed by the Republican minority, the ranking member of the minority cannot challenge witnesses called by the chair. Though the minority can appeal the chair’s decision to a vote by the whole committee, the Democratic majority virtually guarantees that Schiff’s veto would be upheld.
The House approved of the rules for the impeachment probe Thursday morning, 232-196.