House Democrats have scheduled a vote on an impeachment resolution inquiry that is set to change the scope and transparency of their investigation into Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
“The House impeachment inquiry has collected extensive evidence and testimony, and soon the American people will hear from witnesses in an open setting,” a statement by the chairs of four committees leading the investigation read.
The eight-page resolution will allow the five House committees leading the investigation (Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Oversight, Financial Services, and Ways and Means) to continue their investigation with extra tools, including staff-led cross-examination for witnesses and the ability to authorize the public releases of deposition transcripts.
The resolution also lays the path forward for impeachment; the House Intelligence Committee will create a report and deliver its findings to the House Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee will then decide whether or not to draft the articles of impeachment.
“The evidence we have already collected paints the picture of a President who abused his power by using multiple levers of government to press a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 election,” the committee chairs concluded. “Following in the footsteps of previous impeachment inquiries, the next phase will move from closed depositions to open hearings where the American people will learn firsthand about the President’s misconduct.”
What it means for impeachment
For the past several weeks, House Republicans have been trying their best to disrupt the House impeachment inquiry, complaining that the investigation is a political attack against the president being conducted behind closed doors.
Now, with the impeachment inquiry entering its public phase, Republicans will have little choice but to accept the flow of damaging testimony that may have been previously protected due to its sensitive nature.
Ultimately, Thursday’s vote on the impeachment resolution is about bringing the investigation to the public, as well as reinforcing the House investigation with official, legal backing from Congress.
The House vote on the new resolution will come two days after an explosive testimony by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a national security official who listened in on the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. “I was concerned by the call,” Zelenskiy said in prepared remarks to Congress. “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”
Vindman’s testimony has convinced some intelligence committee lawmakers, like Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio), that key Trump officials committed perjury in their testimonies defending the president.
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) on the House Judiciary Committee defended Vindman on Twitter following right-wing smears attempting to bring the official’s character into question. “Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman is a patriot, and has served this country in uniform for decades,” Jackson Lee wrote.
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