Yesterday was Halloween, and in true form, the House Democrats were in full swing to celebrate. They honored this day with a vote, one to establish rules for an Impeachment inquiry. Mind you, this was not a vote to validate an inquiry to Impeach the President, but a vote to establish rules for an on-going investigation. Predictably, the vote was right down party lines, with Republicans all voting against this resolution.
The Republicans and the President asked for a vote to validate and start an inquiry in a fair and impartial manner. That did not happen. Instead, the Democrats put together rules to follow in the future, rules that were heavily slanted towards creating a narrative for impeachment, rather than to make the process fair and mirroring the established rules of law.
How is this going to work? Well, Chairman Schiff will continue his closed-door hearings without any change in behavior. He will still silence Republicans that wish to question witnesses in a manner that will not support an impeachment narrative. He will still be the sole person to be able to summon witnesses, the Republicans on the panel will not be able to subpoena anyone. The President’s defense team will not be allowed in these closed-door hearings. In short, nothing changes for Adam Schiff and his one-sided hearings.
Once Adam Schiff is confident that he has a narrative that is strong enough to play with the American public, he will turn the investigation over to Jerry Nadler and his Judiciary committee. At this point, Republicans and the President’s team will be allowed to subpoena witnesses as long as the entire Judiciary panel agrees to it, effectively giving Jerry Nadler, a long-time hater of the President the power to determine who may be called to testify. Further, Republicans and the Presidents team can cross examine Democrat’s witnesses, just as long as Jerry Nadler agrees to the line of questioning. At this point Republicans and the Presidents team can also see transcripts of Adam Schiff’s closed-door hearings, but without their participation in the process, those transcripts are subject to a great degree of disbelief.
Further, all other committees that are investigating the President are encouraged to continue on, in the hope of finding any other possible damaging evidence.
The Democrats believe that having a vote for these so-called rules will shield their members from weeks of Republican complaints that the inquiry is invalid because the House had not formally voted to begin the work. They are hoping that the American public will accept their “trick” as a “treat” and that they can now move on with their “witch hunt” with the end-goal of impeachment within sight. It is appropriate that they did this sham vote on Halloween!