(WASHINGTON) — The resolution empowers House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff with the responsibility to “designate an open hearing or hearings,” where the Republicans and Democrats will have “equal specified periods of longer than five minutes,” to question witnesses.It also states there could be multiple periods of questions, but “not exceeding 90 minutes in the aggregate.” That means the Democratic chair and the ranking Republican (Schiff and Rep. Devin Nunes) may yield time to Intelligence Committee staff, totaling up to 45 minutes each when counted up with their own questions. Rank and file members are limited to five-minute question periods.Nunes could propose minority witnesses, but it’s up to Schiff to grant access and determine whether the potential witness is “relevant to the investigation.”If Schiff concurs, Nunes could also issue a subpoena for a witnesses, and is authorized to seek the production of “books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers and documents.”If Schiff denies a proposed action by Nunes, he could appeal to the full committee, where Democrats hold a 13-9 edge in membership.As chairman, Schiff is also authorized to post electronic copies of transcripts of depositions conducted by the Intelligence Committee, although the transcripts could include redactions of classified and sensitive information.The Intelligence Committee is directed to issue a report to the Judiciary Committee on its findings as well as any potential recommendations.The resolution “authorizes the Committee on the Judiciary to conduct proceedings relating to the impeachment inquiry,” including such procedures “as to allow for the participation of the President and his counsel.”Like the public hearings at the Intelligence Committee, the resolution authorizes Judiciary to “promulgate additional procedures as it deems necessary for the fair and efficient conduct of committee hearings,” consistent with procedures and rules of the House. It also gives the Judiciary ranking Republican, Rep. Doug Collins, the power to subpoena, but that power is subject to the approval of Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.The last line of the resolution empowers Judiciary with the ability to send articles of impeachment to the House floor: “The Committee on the Judiciary shall report to the House of Representatives such resolutions, articles of impeachment, or other recommendations as it deems proper.”But it’s unclear whether there are sufficient votes from Democrats to pass the resolution on their own.“We have to consider whether or not it’s ready to go Thursday,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters at a briefing in his office Tuesday morning, adding he “hopes” it’s done because it would “facilitate the next steps” of the Democratic inquiry.House Republicans say they will not cooperate with Democrats, arguing the process has been tainted by Democratic singular rule on the closed-door depositions to date.Rep. Tom Cole, the senior Republican on the House Rules Committee where the resolution is expected to face a hearing as soon as Wednesday, said Republicans are in a wait and see mode, stressing they’ve been party to no discussions or negotiations.Hoyer and Pelosi have also tried to argue that the potential vote is not on “impeachment” but rather a vote to transparently demonstrate the process by which the public elements of the inquiry would play out in the coming weeks.House Minority Whip Steve Scalise has called the Democratic inquiry a “Soviet process,” and complained that 75 percent of lawmakers representing 230 million Americans haven’t been able to participate in the proceedings so far. He further expressed frustration that Republicans can’t call witnesses, and said the process is “not rooted in fairness.”Republicans panned the resolution in a letter to the House Rules Committee, accusing Democrats of working to “retroactively legitimize” their impeachment efforts.“No matter how hard you try to legitimize this sham impeachment inquiry, it cannot hide the Democrats’ goal of re-litigating the results of the 2016 presidential election,” Reps. Jim Jordan, Nunes and Mike McCaul, the top Republicans on the House Oversight, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs Committees respectively, wrote.
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