Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the House Democrats did a thing today. A rather big thing.
They finally succumbed to pressure by the White House to hold a vote on impeachment, passing a “resolution” clarifying the procedure ahead in their “formal impeachment inquiry”. Still, this doesn’t equate to introducing articles of impeachment against President Trump, but is rather a childish “you wanted a vote, you got a vote” sort of moment.
Deep within these rules of engagement are some caveats that have conservatives in the House furious, induing one that would allow the Democratic leadership to essentially veto any testimony brought forth by the Republicans.
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.
The move is likely to draw wide condemnation from MAGA country, who have already deemed the Democrats’ previous efforts as an irreversible smear campaign against the President, who himself tweeted today, simply, “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!”.
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