The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has voted to adopt a resolution aimed at stepping up its impeachment probe of President Donald Trump. The resolution will entitle the panel to qualify hearings as impeachment proceedings, while also endowing the committee with greater questioning powers.
"Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature", House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said at the opening of the panel meeting. "But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat. And we are doing so”.
Meanwhile, a top Republican congressman from Georgia, Doug Collins, has accused Democrats of pretending to launch an impeachment despite knowing they do not have enough votes for it.
"My colleagues know very well they don't have the votes to authorise impeachment proceedings on the House floor, but they want to impeach the president anyway”, Collins said. "So, they are pretending to initiate impeachment”.
The Democrat-led committee has been under fire by Republicans, who have slammed the Dems for avoiding a vote in the House, pointing out that impeachment inquiries into past US presidents have been authorised by the full House.
Moreover, Committee Chairman Nadler reportedly relied on the findings of the Mueller report over the course of the probe into Trump. The investigation has expanded to include allegations that Trump has improperly mixed his business interests with his role as president, and paid money during the 2016 campaign to silence women claiming to have had affairs with him.
The report on alleged Russian election meddling in the 2016 presidential vote and Trump's purported attempts to obstruct justice during the probe failed to provide any facts implicating or exonerating the US president.
The US House of Representatives has the sole authority to impeach or indict a sitting president, while the Senate has the sole power to make a conviction, according to the constitution. If Trump is impeached by the Democratic-controlled House, many believe the Republican-majority Senate will not uphold the action.