Democrats are supercharging their attempt to impeach President Donald Trump with a resolution that would shuffle powers around, boxing out impeachment critics while giving Rep. Adam Schiff even more power.
The resolution’s stated objective is “directing certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives 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.”
In actuality, the move only puts more power into Schiff’s hands while apparently denying Republicans the right to call their own witnesses without approval.
According to the Washington Examiner’s assessment of the resolution, it strips the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees of their power of investigation.
From now on, only the Adam Schiff-led Intelligence Committee will be asking the questions.
Impeachment critics Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, as well as other Republicans on the committees no longer allowed to interview witnesses, are effectively being boxed out of a major part of the investigation.
“It’s totally one-sided,” Meadows told the Washington Examiner. “They can continue to do secret depositions. They have noticed depositions for John Bolton and others next week in anticipation of a positive vote Thursday. All it does is limit the committees that will be involved in the depositions.”
As for those in the Intelligence Committee, Schiff will have to approve any witness Republicans want to call forward.
“There’s no guarantee we can call any witnesses,” GOP Rep. Brad Wenstrup told the Examiner.
Republicans on the committee are now expected to submit a written request for any witnesses they wish to interview, along with their reasons for wanting to do so. Schiff has the final approval on all of these requests.
Under the guise of an apparent push for transparency, the resolution also allows Schiff to release redacted and censored transcripts of the committee’s actions but stops short of requiring it.
“It says they are authorized to disclose depositions, which means they can pick and choose which depositions they will release,” Meadows said.
In effect, Schiff not only has power over which witnesses are interviewed but what information is released. If he’s allowed to pick and choose like this, impeachment may be a breeze for Democrats.
Considering how his office coordinated with the original whistleblower in the Ukraine scandal, this may be the bit of power the lawmaker was hoping for.
Not every Democrat is completely on board with these new rules, however.
Two members of the party, Reps. Jeff Van Drew and Collin Peterson both voted against the resolution, signaling that cracks may be forming in the seemingly united push for impeachment at all costs.
Under Schiff’s partisan lead, this impeachment debacle is bound to get much messier.
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