Democrats Release Proposed Resolution Outlining Next Phase of Impeachment Inquiry

October 29, 2019 by Dan McCue
Rep. James McGovern.

WASHINGTON – House Democrats unveiled a draft resolution Tuesday afternoon outlining the next phase of their impeachment inquiry after weeks of closed-door witness testimony.

The document, which is scheduled to be marked up by the House Rules Committee Wednesday afternoon, was released by that panel’s chairman, Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts.

It establishes the procedures for open hearings by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, and releasing witness testimony.

The 8-page document opens by directing the House committees currently investigating the president to continue their inquiry “into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes.”

Those panels are the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the committees on Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and Ways and Means.

When it comes to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the resolution empowers its chairman to schedule public hearings as he sees fit.

During those hearings, the chair and ranking member will be permitted to question witnesses for equal, specified periods of longer than five minutes as determined by the chair.

The chair is empowered to confer recognition for multiple periods of such questioning, but each period of questioning shall not exceed 90 minutes in the aggregate.

Only the chair and ranking member, or a Permanent Select Committee employee if yielded to by the chair or ranking minority member, will be allowed to question witnesses.

At the conclusion of this initial period of questioning, the committee will then proceed with questioning under the five-minute rules of the House.

Ranking Member Can Propose Own Witnesses

To allow for full evaluation of minority witness requests, the ranking minority member may submit to the chair, in writing, any requests for witness testimony relevant to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution within 72 hours after notice is given for the first hearing.

Any such request shall be accompanied by a detailed written justification of the relevance of the testimony of each requested witness.

Additionally, the ranking minority member is authorized, with the concurrence of the chair, to subpoena witnesses or the production of “books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents.”

In the event, the chair rejects a proposal from the ranking member, the ranking member will be afforded the chance to appeal the decision to the full committee.

The chair of the committee has also been authorized to make transcripts of depositions available to the public, “with appropriate redactions for classified and other sensitive information.”

When its public hearings are completed, the Permanent Select Committee will submit a report and relevant materials, including any dissent from its conclusions to the Judiciary Committee.

As in the case of the witness depositions, this report will also be made public, “with appropriate redactions” as determined in consultation with the chairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Impeachment Inquiry Moves On To The Judiciary

Like the Permanent Select Committee, the Judiciary Committee will also hold hearings, this time with procedures in place to allow for the participation of the President and his counsel.

The Committee on the Judiciary is authorized to utilize additional procedures as it deems necessary for the fair and efficient conduct of committee hearings.

The ranking member of the Judiciary Committee will have the same power and rights that his counterpart had on the Permanent Select Committee.

When its work is completed, the Judiciary Committee will report any resolutions, articles of impeachment or other recommendations to the full House.

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