You might have missed it.
Yesterday, on CNN and later on MSNBC, Chairman Jerome Nadler confirmed that the House Judiciary Committee’s hearings on the Mueller Report were a formal Impeachment Inquiry, something that had been asserted in previous Court filings but sort of publicly disbelieved as a mere ploy for a favorable ruling.
Not so said Nadler, this is the real deal.
The impeachment inquiry Trump feared is already here
By Amber Phillips, Washington Post
August 9, 2019
His statement makes clear what a lawsuit filed Wednesday by his committee states: that the “Judiciary Committee is now determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the President based on the obstructive conduct described by the Special Counsel.”
In fact, Democrats may have already begun an impeachment inquiry without most people noticing and without the fanfare (and potential political backlash) of a big announcement that it’s happening. In a court filing in late July to get the full, unredacted Mueller report, the Judiciary Committee argued that it needed the information because it “is conducting an investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment.” Since then, Democrats’ language has only become stronger in court filings, culminating with Nadler’s statement that impeachment proceedings have begun.
What that means: Democrats are taking the first step in this process. They have launched an impeachment inquiry to investigate what, if any, “high crimes and misdemeanors” Trump may have committed. If the investigation concludes that he has, the committee will draw up articles of impeachment and the Judiciary Committee and then the full House vote on it.
This is happening at the start of Congress’s August Recess (which is going to stretch until Sept. 9). So between now and then, any action will happen only in the courts. Once Congress is back, they can hold hearings highlighting the Mueller report, but their key witness and key documents could still be tied up in a legal battle.
Impeachment proceedings are the most intense, and dramatic, kind of congressional investigation.
Consider: Democrats are already investigating issues including whether Trump obstructed justice in the special counsel investigation, whether he had a role in illegal hush-money payments during the campaign, whether his business had money laundering ties to Russia, and much more. Trump has resisted handing over information in 20 investigations, leading to legal battles.
Most recently, House Democrats are suing Trump’s administration to try to get his tax returns and suing to get Trump’s former White House counsel, Donald McGahn, to testify about key moments in the Mueller report. (That’s the lawsuit they filed Wednesday where they said McGahn’s testimony is key for considering impeachment.) All that is in addition going to court to get the unredacted Mueller report.
Many of these investigations could get wrapped up into an impeachment investigation. And because that investigation carries the weighty “i” word, it guarantees news coverage and eyeballs on all future hearings Democrats have in this committee.
A catalyst for embracing the impeachment term seems to have been former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s III testimony in July to two House committees, where he laid out what his report found: that Trump’s campaign welcomed Russia’s help and Trump may have obstructed justice.
“We all looked up after Robert S. Mueller III’s testimony and realized that we are in an impeachment inquiry,” Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg.
“In every meaningful way, our investigation is an impeachment inquiry,” Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, wrote in an op-ed in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, right as a majority of House Democrats said they supported taking the first step toward impeachment.
Arguing in under-the-radar court filings that the committee is beginning an impeachment inquiry is one thing. It could be a legal strategy that doesn’t carry much political weight. The “i” word strengthens Democrats’ case to get grand jury information underlying the Mueller report, or to force McGahn to testify, since Congress can argue it, too, is a judiciary body conducting a court proceeding, and it needs evidence to do that.
But having the chairman of the committee key to impeachment openly, and clearly, stating that an impeachment inquiry has started escalates things. The impeachment inquiry that Trump has feared is here.
I don’t understand this desire for concealment by Democrats. Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio is a felon and a traitor. Is Impeachment now reserved only for consensual Blow Jobs? Even there the man is a self documented serial sexual abuser who associates with Porn Stars (not that there’s anything wrong with Sex Work) and Pedophiles.