August 15, 2022

House Dems announce rule changes to make Trump’s impeachment inquiry just like Nixon’s

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The House Judiciary Committee just announced that they’re planning to reveal an impeachment roadmap and a key change to the way they operate with the intent of holding Watergate-style hearings.


All impeachment inquiries originate in the Judiciary Committee, and now they are planning a formal resolution to lay out procedures for this fall’s impeachment inquiry, which Politico first reported late last night.

As a result, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) will be given additional powers to rapidly convene hearings, on a vote which a reliable source on the Hill close to the process just told the Washington Press, “will take likely place this week, likely on Tuesday or Thursday of this week because, on Wednesday, Congress will primarily be dedicated to commemorating the September 11th attacks.”

One of the House Judiciary Committee’s biggest proposed changes will be abandoning its much-maligned 5-minute alternating partisan question format, in favor of the same hearing plan that turned the two top Senate Watergate committee counsels into key actors in that probe, which CNN revealed as part of their report with significantly more details:

[The resolution] is expected to follow the precedent set in 1974 over the committee’s procedures during then-President Richard Nixon’s impeachment proceedings.

[It is], sources say, is expected to make clear that future House Judiciary hearings can be conducted in ways different from most congressional hearings since the panel is considering impeachment.

For instance, the resolution is expected to authorize committee staff counsels to question witnesses, something that is typically not done at congressional hearings.

The Press’ well-placed source says that the House Judiciary’s planned impeachment procedure resolution is a major escalation which is arising based upon Speaker Pelosi’s remarks after the Mueller Hearings.

“If it comes to a point where the ‘cone of silence’ and the obstruction of justice and the cover-up in the White House prevents us from getting that information, that will not prevent us from going forward. In fact, it’s even more grounds to go forward.

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“This is going to cut through the Trump White House’s obstruction of Congress,” says the Press’ source. “Nixon’s third article of impeachment was for his and all the president’s men obstructing Congress.”

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Questioning by the Watergate counsels Sam Dash for the Democrats and Fred Thompson for the Republicans led to many of the key moments that led to President Nixon’s departure.

In particular, Thompson gained a reputation for even-handedness after his line of questioning set up GOP Senator Howard Baker’s famous line, “What does the president know, and when does he know it?”

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Ironically, both Baker and Thompson preferred to help Nixon from their perches on the committee investigating him, yet, their efforts in public led directly to his downfall.

We already witnessed a similar moment in this summer’s Mueller Hearings when Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) quite accidentally got the tight-lipped former Special Counsel to say he would indict President Trump at the end of his term.

In both of the above cases, Republicans with a conscience set out to win political battles but instead, revealed key information to the public that hurt the president of their own party.

Lastly, the new House Judiciary impeachment resolution — which other outlets reported will be on Wednesday, but the Press’ source is adamant will not be on that day — is to provide the committee with clear methods for handling an anticipated flood of confidential grand jury evidence from the Mueller Probe.

Today’s news is a very important milestone on the roadmap to holding President Trump accountable, and the House Judiciary Committee is voting on formalizing their impeachment inquiry primarily because his blanket cover-up has reached the point where the House of Representatives has to escalate their official proceedings against him.

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also a mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition, and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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