the United States Capitol
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 232-196 along party lines to pass H. Res. 660, a resolution that formalizes the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

All but two Democrats voted in favor of the resolution that authorizes the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees to move forward with the impeachment inquiry.

The resolution formalizes the procedures for the inquiry to determine whether or not sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Trump.

The resolution requires open hearings before the Intelligence committee. It also allows Republican members on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees to request and subpeona witness testimony, but provides the committee chairman the authority to deny that request.

The resolution provides for the participation of President Trump and his counsel to participate in hearings before the House Judiciary Committee that will follow the hearings before the House Intelligence Committee.

This follows Senate Republicans objections to the current process. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced a resolution, sponsored by 50 Republican senators, condemning the process with its lack of transparency and due process.

Senate Republicans complained that House Democrats ignored precedents established during the impeachment inquiries of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

McConnell said that the House resolution falls “way short” of the process they expect during a Senate floor speech on Wednesday.

It does not confer on President Trump the most basic rights of due process or, seemingly, alter Chairman Schiff’s unfair process in the House Intelligence Community in any way whatsoever. Chairman Schiff can continue doing this behind closed doors without the President’s participation, so long as he holds at least one public hearing at some point

He’s not even required to make all the evidence he obtains public. He alone gets to decide what evidence goes in his report. And the resolution doesn’t even give the President any rights in the public hearing that it requires Chairman Schiff to hold.

The resolution merely seems to contemplate that, maybe…someday in the future…at some other phase of this…due process might finally kick in. But only if the House Judiciary Committee feels like holding hearings and calling its own witnesses.

In other words: ‘No due process now, maybe some later, but only if we feel like it.’

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