WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) – The Democratic-led U.S. House
of Representatives Judiciary Committee, criticized for an
unorthodox impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, is
poised to vote next week on a resolution to formalize the
investigation, a person familiar with the matter said on
The panel has rebranded what was originally an oversight
probe of Trump’s presidency as an “impeachment” investigation,
with the aim of deciding by the end of the year on whether to
recommend articles of impeachment to the full House.
As early as Wednesday, committee members could vote on a
measure that would better define the investigation, according to
the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The committee’s current impeachment approach has been
criticized by Republicans for avoiding a precedent set during
impeachment inquiries against former President Richard Nixon and
former President Bill Clinton.
In those cases, inquiries were formally authorized by the
full House. This time, Democrats have steered clear of a House
vote that could prove risky for Democratic freshmen from swing
districts where impeachment is unpopular with voters.
For much of the year, House Judiciary Committee Chairman
Jerrold Nadler has focused on the findings of former Special
Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election
meddling in the 2016 presidential election and evidence that
Trump sought to impede the probe.
At least 134 House Democrats support an impeachment inquiry,
according to a Reuters head count. While that is majority of the
party caucus, the number remains well below the 218 votes needed
for the House to approve an impeachment resolution.
Since Mueller’s testimony in July, Nadler has broadened the
investigation to include allegations that Trump has improperly
mixed his business interests with his role as president, dangled
pardons to encourage official misconduct and paid money during
the 2016 campaign to silence women claiming to have had affairs
Though the new measure is not expected to be introduced
until Monday, the source said the resolution would allow staff
attorneys to question hearing witnesses, set procedures for
closed-door reviews of grand jury material, allow White House
counsel to respond in writing to the committee and usher in
The new procedures could be in place for a Sept. 17 hearing
at which Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is
scheduled to testify, along with former Trump White House aides
Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn.
It was not clear whether the panel would recommend the new
resolution for a full House vote.
A more formal investigation could strengthen separate
committee lawsuits seeking federal court orders to access
Mueller grand jury material and compel testimony from former
White House Counsel Don McGahn.