Earlier today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that she’s holding a vote this week to formalize the impeachment inquiry procedures. This will result in not only the transcripts of the existing impeachment testimony being released, but also televised hearings going forward. Now it turns out the resolution will also take away one of the most effective tools that Donald Trump’s House GOP allies would have had going for them.
The difficulty with televised public hearings is that committee members from each party alternate asking questions in five minute increments. In Trump-era hearings, that generally consists of a House Democrat spending five minutes asking the witness serious questions, only to be interrupted while a House Republican spends five minutes promoting deranged conspiracy theories. But now that format is out the window.
The five minute alternating format will be waived during the televised impeachment hearings, according to a new report tonight from Politico. This means House Republicans won’t be able to jump in every five minutes and try to confuse the subject. Further, committee staffers will be allowed to question witnesses during the televised hearings, which will make the hearings more akin to courtroom testimony.
House Republicans can whine about these changes all they want, but they lack the votes to override the rules. Moreover, their endless complaining hasn’t helped Donald Trump any, as pro-impeachment poll numbers continue to rise. It looks like Nancy Pelosi is planning to give us the kind of competent, coherent House impeachment hearings that we deserve.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report