There’s a reason the House Judiciary Committee is sometimes informally called the House Impeachment Committee: it’s where the impeachment process begins. On Sunday morning, Chairman Jerry Nadler announced that the committee is sending document requests to more than sixty Trump-related people and entities. By Sunday afternoon, we learned that the list included four of Donald Trump’s family members. Now Ted Lieu, who also sits on the committee, is offering additional insight into the probe. Ted Lieu’s statement reads:
The House Judiciary Committee is starting a massive investigation into whether Donald Trump and his family and associates committed crimes or engaged in unethical misconduct. We cannot avert our eyes to the evidence plainly before us that crimes and other misconduct may have been committed by Trump and those within his orbit.
“Unlike the narrow scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation–whether there is enough evidence to charge a person with a crime related to Russian interference–the Judiciary Committee’s oversight mission is far more broad. We want to know if Executive Branch officials, including the President, committed any crimes or engaged in any unethical misconduct.
“We will hold hearings, interview witnesses, analyze documents and build a record. Our investigation will either exonerate Trump and those around him, or it won’t. We will then have a conversation with the American people on how to proceed after we conclude our investigation. I want to commend Chairman Jerry Nadler for his strong and steady leadership, and look forward to working with him on this critical investigation.
So what does this really tell us? Well, Congressman Lieu’s use of the word “massive” is a pretty good clue as to the sheer size and scope of the investigation. But here’s the key sentence: “We will then have a conversation with the American people on how to proceed after we conclude our investigation.” It’s not too difficult to figure out that the “conversation” will be about impeachment, indictment, ouster, and whatever else fits the bill.
It’s fair to say that the impeachment process against Donald Trump has now begun, even if no one involved is officially calling it that. Again, the House Judiciary Committee is where the impeachment process begins. They’re not launching this “massive” investigation out of mere curiosity. We all know it’s going to turn up a metric ton of incriminating evidence, and we know the impeachment/ouster hammer is coming. When Robert Mueller weighs in, he’ll just be piling on.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report