A draft resolution that would formally launch an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump was released Tuesday morning by House Democrats, laying out the rules for Congress to release existing findings to the public and conduct future hearings.
A spokesperson for Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said the congresswoman had not yet decided how she planned to vote when the resolution comes to the House floor for a scheduled vote on Thursday. “Republicans were allowed zero input into the crafting of this resolution, and weren’t even allowed to see it until this afternoon,” Angie Riesterer, Herrera Beutler’s spokeswoman, wrote in an email. “Jaime is going to take some time to determine whether due process and fairness concerns were met.”
Under the proposed rules, the House Intelligence Committee would need to convene open hearings and release a written report to share its findings. Transcripts of witness interviews in closed-door hearings would be shared with Judiciary Committee members, who would then weigh the evidence and decide whether to draw up articles of impeachment.
The resolution largely follows the road map laid out during the 1998 impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton. It empowers minority leaders to subpoena witnesses and evidence, though Democratic committee leaders would need to sign off on the subpoenas. If Democrats don’t, then the full committee would vote on the Republicans’ proposal.
House Res. 660 would also ensure equal time to question witnesses for majority and minority leaders of the House Intelligence Committee.
For the past month, Herrera Beutler has called on the House to hold a formal vote on opening an impeachment inquiry, citing a lack of transparency in the investigation. A formal inquiry, she told The Columbian’s Editorial Board on Oct. 9, would grant House Republicans subpoena power, and therefore bipartisan legitimacy to the investigation.
“If they (Democrats) really believe they can prove it, then why not let us subpoena people?” Herrera Beutler asked.