The House Democrats’ effort to impeach President Trump will hurtle into unknown territory this week as California Rep. Adam Schiff gears up for public hearings in the wake of Thursday’s party-line vote.
But with only 16 days left on Congress’s official calendar — and just 92 days until the presidential primaries — Dems are pushing their specialized process into hyperdrive.
“I don’t know what the timetable will be — the truth will set us free,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Bloomberg News Friday. “I would assume there would be public hearings in November.”
The constitutional process of impeachment starts in the House of Representatives, where a majority vote is all that’s needed to charge Trump with a crime — but that would not kick him out of the White House.
Schiff’s Intelligence Committee has scheduled a dozen closed-door depositions for the coming week, when the House is in recess.
Tuesday, Nov. 12 is the earliest date when Schiff’s public hearings can begin. Under the rules set by Thursday’s vote, Schiff alone will decide who takes the stand.
Republican committee members, who will be allowed equal time for questioning, can request the addition of exculpatory witnesses, but Schiff gets final say over their inclusion. And Trump’s legal counsel will be barred from Schiff’s hearings entirely.
But with another scheduled recess starting Nov. 22, the clock will be ticking.
Once Schiff wraps up his hearings, he will send a report to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Manhattan Rep. Jerry Nadler.
Nadler will mount a fresh round of public hearings to devise the articles of impeachment — the set of charges — that the House will vote on.
Trump’s attorneys will be allowed to participate in those hearings, a right that was given to Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon as well.
But in Trump’s case, there’s a significant catch.
Under the House’s rules, unique to the Trump impeachment, Nadler can shut the president’s counsel out of the hearings as punishment for refusing to cough up any documents or witnesses that the Dems demand — even items like his tax returns, that have nothing to do with the Ukraine controversy that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
“Just a precaution,” Nadler told Roll Call last week. “I hope we don’t need to use it.”
If the Judiciary Committee votes to affirm articles of impeachment, the matter will moves to the floor of the House for a vote. Pelosi wants that to happen before the holiday recess, scheduled to begin Dec. 12.
If she succeeds, the issue would move to the Republican-led Senate for a trial, where Senators would sit as jurors and a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict Trump of the House’s charges.
They would also decide on his punishment, which may — or may not — include removal from office.
Source: Read Full Article