The resolution also provides a glimpse of the next steps in the process, putting House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) in a lead position, as he has been so far. Under the terms of the resolution, he will be able to designate open hearings, and to publicly release depositions of witnesses who testified behind closed doors. The Intelligence Committee then will issue a report with its findings, and refer it to the House Judiciary Committee, which will be tasked with drawing up the articles of impeachment.
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When public hearings start, counsels on each committee staff will be allowed to question witnesses for periods of 45 minutes, before going to the traditional practice of five minute rounds for each lawmaker.
When the Judiciary Committee holds its hearings, Trump’s legal team will be allowed to present their case, submit written requests for additional testimony and other evidence, raise an objection to testimony given and cross-examine witnesses.
“If the President unlawfully refuses to cooperate with Congressional requests, the Chair shall have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies, including by denying specific requests by the president or his counsel,” the resolution states.
The top Republicans on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees will be able to subpoena their own witnesses, but only with the concurrence of their Democratic chairman.
The vote on the resolution will give the first indication of the breadth of support for carrying forward with Trump’s impeachment.
Republicans have been attacking the process as less than transparent, as it has taken place in private in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center. Only members of three committees conducting the inquiry — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — have been allowed to participate. But that includes members from both parties.
The House Rules Committee will take up the resolution on Wednesday, with a vote of the full house on Thursday.
“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 chairs of four committees said in a statement. “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.”
The statement came from Schiff, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), and Acting House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the resolution “continues this scam by allowing Chairman Schiff, who repeatedly lies to the American people, to hold a new round of hearings, still without any due process for the president.”
“The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee,” she said in a statement. “Even then, the White House’s rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written.”