This weekend, numerous major news outlets asserted that the televised House impeachment hearings were over. This made zero sense, considering that House Democrats were still in court fighting over witnesses and testimony. Sure enough, those reports have turned out to be misleading and/or wrong. While the House Intelligence Committee may be done with its portion of impeachment, at least one other committee is now getting started with hearings.
There will apparently be no televised hearings this week, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. But the House Judiciary Committee has announced that it’ll be holding its first televised impeachment hearing next Wednesday. The witnesses will be constitutional scholars, and the topic will be the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors. This might not exactly be appointment television, but it’s a crucial first step in explaining to the public why Trump’s actions are easily impeachable. It’s also notable that the House is inviting Trump’s lawyers to the hearing so that the Democrats can argue they’re being overly fair to him, and also presumably so that Trump’s lawyers can make fools of themselves for all to see.
We doubt this will be the only televised impeachment hearing that the House Judiciary Committee ends up announcing, as this first hearing seems designed to lay the groundwork for subsequent hearings with higher stakes. When Nancy Pelosi formally laid out the rules for House impeachment hearings, she stated that various committees would lay out their best evidence of Donald Trump’s impeachable actions, before each submitting a report, so it’s not surprising to see that more than one committee is taking center stage.
It’s not clear if other committees will also hold their own hearings. The House Oversight Committee was involved in the impeachment process until Chairman Elijah Cummings passed away. The House Financial Services Committee is said to have some of Trump’s secret banking records. The House Ways and Means Committee is close to obtaining Trump’s tax returns. For now, the House appears to be leaking this one additional hearing just to silence the false narrative that House impeachment hearings are somehow already over.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report