Report: House Judiciary panel sets the stage for impeachment probe

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The House Judiciary Committee is preparing to vote on a resolution as early as next week that would give the committee powers to investigate President Donald Trump in preparation for impeachment proceedings, Breitbart reported.

Some of the language of the resolution was still being decided over the weekend, but a draft was expected to circulate on Monday with a possible vote on Wednesday. The resolution would allow the committee broader investigative powers to question witnesses and get information from Trump’s lawyers.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said publicly in August, while Congress was on recess, that it had already begun official impeachment proceedings, according to Politico — but it wasn’t clear what he was referring to in those comments.

Even some Democrats were confused about his comments, and they struggled to explain them to their constituents when they asked questions about impeachment. For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said that she didn’t think there was enough public support or cause for impeachment, although she does think Trump has done wrong during the campaign and as president.

Focus of the inquiry

It appears that Congress will be taking a closer look at so-called hush-money payments Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, made to two women who accused Trump of affairs. Trump has repeatedly said he didn’t ask Cohen to make the payments or authorize them and that Cohen was acting on his own in an attempt to protect him.

Cohen, who is now in jail on other charges, said Trump did direct him to make the payments, but he has not been considered the most credible witness. But the fact that Trump was never charged criminally based on Cohen’s accusations shows the weakness of the case against him.

At the beginning of the summer, only about 80 of over 220 House Democrats favored impeachment proceedings. Now, that number is up to 130. Still, many moderate Democrats facing stiff re-election challenges are aware that impeachment could backfire on them if the public doesn’t see it as justified.

Pelosi’s stance

For her part, Pelosi urged Democrats last month to make sure they had a strong case before moving forward with impeachment proceedings.

“It’s your voice and constituency, but give me the leverage I need to make sure that we’re ready and it is as strong as it can be,” she said.

“The equities we have to weigh are our responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution and to be unifying and not dividing. But if and when we act, people will know he gave us no choice,” Pelosi added. “If he cannot respect the Constitution, we’ll have to deal with that. It’s about patriotism, not partisanship.”

It’s clear Pelosi wants to see Trump impeached, if not tarred and feathered. But she’s politically savvy enough not to go for it unless — and until — it won’t hurt her party’s chances to maintain its power and gain even more.

That may or may not ever happen, but it looks like the Dems are ready to pounce if it does.

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