Over the past couple weeks the House impeachment inquiry has carried out the necessary process of interviewing witnesses in private, as any valid criminal investigative process would, in order to prevent any witness coordination and minimize witness intimidation. The question has been when this phase of impeachment would end, and where it will go next. Now Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is delivering answers.
Speaker Pelosi has sent a letter to House members explaining what happens next. The lengthy letter, obtained by Politico, says this in part: “This week, we will bring a resolution to the Floor that affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees as part of this impeachment inquiry … This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel.”
So where does this get us? It means House Democrats are about to take everything public. Transcripts of the existing testimony will be released. Upcoming hearings will be televised. The closed-door phase of impeachment is about to end, and the House will begin taking its impeachment argument directly to the public. To be clear, even though the resolution will be voted on this week (MSNBC says Thursday), this next phase won’t necessarily begin this week; the current round of closed-door witness testimony isn’t quite over yet.
What’s remarkable is that, based solely on what’s surfaced in the media thus far about Donald Trump’s recent scandals, the polls say that a growing majority of Americans already think Trump should be impeached and removed from office. This number should climb even higher once the bulk of the evidence and testimony against Trump soon becomes public.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report