House set to vote for first time on guidelines for public hearings in Trump impeachment probe

Key Points
  • The House is expected to vote Thursday on a resolution outlining the next steps in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
  • The measure sketches out guidelines for public hearings and Trump's participation in the impeachment process.
  • It would be the first vote on matters related to the Trump impeachment proceedings.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol October 17, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

The House is expected to vote Thursday on a resolution outlining the next steps in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The measure, which sketches out guidelines for public hearings in the inquiry and the president's participation in the process, marks the first time lawmakers' votes will be counted on matters related to the Trump impeachment process.

Democrats such as Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., say the measure provides a "pathway forward" for the investigation into Trump's request for Ukraine to open probes involving his political opponents.

House releases resolution outlining impeachment probe process

But the White House and Republicans, who have previously maligned the Democrats for launching the impeachment inquiry without a formal vote, are not satisfied, with many calling the resolution a "sham."

"Codifying a sham process halfway through doesn't make it any less of a sham process," tweeted Rep. Jim Jordan, the Oversight Committee's ranking Republican.

The impeachment inquiry is examining Trump's request for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in July to "look into" unsubstantiated allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, as well as asking for a probe into a discredited theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, allocated by Congress, were withheld during this period without a clear explanation from the White House. That aid was eventually delivered in September.

After debating the measure in the Democratic-controlled House, lawmakers are expected to vote before 11 a.m. ET, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. The resolution was announced Monday and marked up in a House committee Wednesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had earlier argued against holding a vote to "authorize" the probe, defying pressure from the White House and the GOP and accusing them of attacking the process to distract from Trump's conduct.

"We're certainly not going to do it because of the president," Pelosi said in early October of a vote on the impeachment process.

Such dismissals, along with GOP complaints, bred speculation that some Democrats — especially freshman who flipped red-leaning districts in the 2018 midterm elections — were reluctant to be counted in any kind of formal vote. One such Democrat, New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, said this week that he will likely vote against the resolution.

But Pelosi confirmed Monday that Democrats would hold a vote this week on how the inquiry will move forward in the House in part to pressure the White House to participate.

"We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives," Pelosi said.