Members of the House Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to set the parameters of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, CNN reports.
This is the first action that House Democrats have taken towards impeachment, as party members have struggled in recent weeks to produce a unified message about impeachment proceedings, as reported by Politico.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., took a firmer stance when he said Thursday, “Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature.”
Nadler clarified that the vote does not move to begin impeachment proceedings, according to CNN. Instead, it will give the panel greater authority to investigate whether they should recommend articles of impeachment against the president.
CNN reports that the committee’s vote gives the panel the authority to deem committee hearings as impeachment hearings, as well as allow staff to question witnesses at these hearings. It will also give Trump and his lawyers the opportunity to formally respond to any evidence that is presented at committee hearings.
Republican lawmakers have responded with skepticism to the committee’s vote, claiming the move does not give the committee any powers that they did not already possess, according to Politico.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who is the highest-ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Thursday, per Politico, “The Judiciary Committee has become a giant Instagram filter,” adding of Nadler, “He wants the appearance of something that is not.”