What's Next in the Impeachment Process?

"Technically, they haven't voted articles of impeachment yet."

WBEN Newsroom
October 31, 2019 - 6:50 pm

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WASHINGTON (AP/WBEN) - On Thursday, the house voted to lay out ground rules for the impeachment inquiry as it enters its public phase - but what comes next?

"Inquiry begins this process of what I think will eventually lead to an article of impeachment or articles of impeachment," said political analyst Carl Calabrese.

Divided House Passes Package of Impeachment Rules

Some are confused as to what yesterday's narrow 232-196 House vote actually means. Essentially, it simply passed a package of rules for the next phase of the Democrats' impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

"Technically, they haven't voted articles of impeachment yet, which is like an indictment," said Calabrese. "That indictment goes to a trial in the Senate, presided over by the Chief Justice. You need two-thirds of the Senate to convict and remove from office - that's 67 votes - and that's a really tall order."

Listen to Calabrese's full comments below:

GOP leaders called the rules "Speaker Pelosi's sham process designed to discredit the Democratic process" in their daily impeachment email to lawmakers.

Pelosi decided to have the vote following weeks of GOP claims that the inquiry was invalid because the chamber had not voted to formally commence the work.

The rules lay out how the House Intelligence Committee — now leading the investigation by deposing diplomats and other officials behind closed doors — would transition to public hearings.

That panel would issue a report and release transcripts of the closed-door interviews it has been conducting.

The Judiciary Committee would then decide whether to recommend that the House impeach Trump.

According to the rules for hearings, Republicans could only issue subpoenas for witnesses to appear if the entire panel approved them — in effect giving Democrats veto power.

Attorneys for Trump could participate in the Judiciary Committee proceedings. But in a bid for leverage, panel Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., would be allowed to deny "specific requests" by Trump representatives if the White House continued refusing to provide documents or witnesses sought by Democratic investigators.

The rules also direct House committees "to continue their ongoing investigations" of Trump.

Top Democrats think that language will shield their members from weeks of Republican complaints that the inquiry has been invalid because the House had not formally voted to begin that work.

Democrats have said there's no constitutional provision or House rule requiring such a vote.

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