(WASHINGTON) — A showdown House vote on moving the impeachment process forward is set for Thursday morning, indicating that Speaker Nancy Pelosi thinks she has the votes to pass a resolution that calls for public hearings and new procedures — without Republican support. The vote — the first to put all House members on the record on the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump — is scheduled to happen before noon after about 90 minutes of debate. Pelosi called for the vote on Monday, she said, to try to undercut complaints from Trump and congressional Republicans that the secret process so far was unfair and illegitimate because there had been no formal full House vote on impeachment.House Majority Whip James Clyburn has already whipped the resolution with rank-and-file-Democrats, though an aide declined to disclose the results of the vote count. “This resolution provides a clear path forward as the House prepares to begin the public-facing phase of its impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Donald Trump and requires serious consideration,” a senior Democratic leadership aide noted. “Sending a Whip Question is a part our process to ensure we have an accurate vote count; we’re confident that we’ll have the votes to pass the resolution.”On Wednesday afternoon, the House Rules Committee held a hearing to set the parameters of debate, as well as make any potential tweaks to the resolution. Republicans and Democrats will debate the resolution there, but any changes would require majority consent. Democrats hold a 9-4 edge over Republicans in the committee, virtually assuring the Rules Democrats will prevail in any contested dispute over the resolution.House Republican aides criticized Democrats for bifurcating the impeachment process between the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, arguing that Democrats have “no justification” for denying Trump and his counsel the same due process rights and ability to take part in hearings across panels. They also argued that Democrats aren’t making the process transparent by denying Trump and his counsel access to investigative materials that the House Intelligence Committee gathers but does not report to the Judiciary Committee. While the terms set forward for the Judiciary Committee are “certainly closer” to past precedent, one aide said, it’s a “matter of how Democrats will want to carry it out.” Pelosi and Democrats took similar heat from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will oversee a Senate trial, if it comes to that. Calling it a “bizarre process,” McConnell said, “The resolution merely seems to contemplate that maybe, maybe someday in the future at some other phase of this due process might — might finally kick in. But only if the House Judiciary Committee feels like holding hearings and calling its own witnesses. in other words, no due process now, maybe some later, but only if we feel like it.” A full House vote on the resolution is expected to conclude Thursday before lawmakers split town for a 10-day recess. The vote is not expected to win unanimity in the 234-member Democratic Caucus, though Democrats appear confident they’ll get a simple majority — 217 votes — to clear the resolution.Freshman Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who represents a congressional district carried by Trump in 2016, said he plans to vote against the measure. “I just believe it’s the right thing to do. I think we’ve spent all this time and all this money, all this energy, all this effort, and all this toxicity exists here, because of what’s going on. I want to get bills done,” Van Drew, D-N.J., said. “I’ve seen things that are distasteful and make you feel uncomfortable, and I don’t like they way they termed, I don’t see them as impeachable.” The National Republican Campaign Committee has sent more than a dozen emails targeting vulnerable Democrats, including Van Drew, whose votes on impeachment could imperil their reelection prospects next year. “The obsession the socialist Democrats have with impeaching President Trump instead of accomplishing the things they promised on the campaign trail will cost them their majority next November,” NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer, R-Minn., noted. The House of Representatives is not in session next week, so any public hearings at the House Intelligence Committee are not expected to commence until the week of Nov. 11 at the earliest. Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
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