House Democrats Start Their Path Towards Impeaching Trump
Although they have not launched an official impeachment inquiry, House Judiciary Democrats just showed that they have every intention of doing so.
Today, House Democrats took the most significant step towards impeaching President Trump. In a court filing, the House Judiciary Committee sought the grand jury material from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. In the filing, they argued the attainment of this material was necessary for their consideration of whether to impeach President Trump. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has now said they are seriously considering impeachment and other House Democrats have called their new efforts an “impeachment investigation.”
Today, @HouseJudiciary is filing a petition for 6e grand jury materials where we made clear to the court that we are considering impeachment, along with other options, under our Article I powers. Congress must hold this President accountable. https://t.co/GCvkGdsGD0
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) July 26, 2019
The view from Judiciary Dems:
Rep. Veronica Escobar: “Yes, we’re crossing a threshold with this filing.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin: “From my personal point of view, we are in an impeachment inquiry.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell: “This is an impeachment investigation.”https://t.co/c3JX8g0dZb
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 26, 2019
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has very publicly shown her restraint when it comes to impeachment, has reportedly greenlit this language, and has shifted her own language.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) July 26, 2019
This is the second time Pelosi has used “when” in her statements on impeachment.
Did so in the presser on the day of Mueller’s hearings and again today. https://t.co/MbXl42yB8e
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) July 26, 2019
To be clear, this is not a formal impeachment inquiry. To begin an impeachment inquiry, the House Judiciary Committee must vote on a resolution to begin one, and then the full House must vote on. Once passed, the House Judiciary Committee would then be endowed with grand jury powers which would strengthen their ability to compel witness testimony and documents currently being withheld by the Trump Administration.
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Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, and current CNN legal analyst, spoke to the wisdom of Nadler’s approach which seeks to flex the powers that would come with impeachment without yet formally launching the proceedings.
This is a wise approach by Nadler. It will be very difficult for any court to conclude that evidence uncovered as part of a criminal investigation of the president should be withheld from the House Judiciary Committee, which has the power to initiate impeachment proceedings. https://t.co/Qh5yD1jwXy
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) July 26, 2019
Impeachment hearings would command media attention in a way that many of the hearings Democrats have overseen haven’t. Launching an impeachment inquiry is just as much about upholding the Constitution as it is about highlighting Trump’s corruption for the American people. The inquiry would not only give the House Judiciary Committee increased legal leverage as we’ve discussed, it would be broadcasted live on networks across the US. This would likely shift public opinion on President Trump, as it did for Richard Nixon.
A reminder that impeachment is an indictment of the President from the House, which leaves the decision to convict and remove from office up to the Senate. It’s clear the Republican Senate will not convict Trump, but that does not mean impeachment would be fruitless and unnecessary.
As Rantt Editor Jossif Ezekilov pointed out in his piece on the Mueller hearings, President Trump’s corruption is unprecedented and warrants a rebuke:
Mueller had previously indicated his reluctance to testify, stating he would not deviate from the findings of his report. Even this, however, was an important testimony to provide for several reasons. First, and most importantly, most citizens and voters have not read the Mueller report, and so Mueller’s testimony was important in order to spell out the criminal wrongdoing the Mueller investigation uncovered.
Second, it provided an opportunity to dispel all of the falsehoods President Trump, his administration, and members of the GOP have flouted regarding the report: namely, that the investigation was a hoax, a witch hunt, that there was “no collusion, no obstruction”, and that it ultimately exonerated Trump. Lastly, it was a chance to affirm grounds for impeachment as the means to hold Trump accountable.
On all three counts, Mueller’s testimony delivered.
Pelosi’s methodical approach has worked up until this point, and in Rantt’s Community chat, which you can join here, we predicted that this approach would escalate. We predicted the timeline to impeachment would speed up after Mueller’s testimony, and as more public support grows heading into September, we’ll see some real movement. As we discussed above, this would take a full floor vote, so we still have a long way to go before we have the full force of the Democratic caucus backing impeachment.
Over 100 House Democrats now support launching an impeachment inquiry, and the list continues to grow. Watch closely how this plays out over the next month. During the August recess, we will likely see a growing town hall presence from impeachment advocates. This is where the American people can make a real difference.
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