CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. House of Representatives is slated to vote Thursday on moving forward with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, establishing a procedure for the ongoing investigation.
The resolution comes after lawmakers have worked behind closed doors for the past month, which has drew Republican pressure for an open process.
Democrats and Republicans will be allowed 45 minutes each to question hearing subjects, and the president or his legal counsel can take part in proceedings by the Judiciary Committee. Such actions include attending hearings, responding to evidence and submitting requests for additional information.
Republicans have demanded the process be open; multiple members of the House of Representatives — including West Virginia’s Alex Mooney and Carol Miller — protested a closed-door deposition last week, delaying the hearing for five hours.
Fifty Republican senators have backed a resolution calling the House to open its investigation. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., co-sponsored the resolution on Oct. 24 following its introduction.
Capito said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” the president and his counsel need the opportunity to be heard.
“Which is why I’m finally glad that Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi is finally going to put to her conference whether we should open these hearings up in a way that they traditionally been done when President Clinton or President Nixon were facing the same thing,” she said.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said while the Constitution does not mandate a specific process for handling impeachment, he is satisfied with the resolution.
“I always knew they had to have a vote to proceed. They now believe they can proceed,” he said on “Talkline.”
“They’re going to have articles of impeachment that they want to indict the president on for impeachment. We haven’t seen that yet. There is going to have to be evidence. Is there going to be one article? Two, three or more?”
Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified to House investigators on Tuesday about a call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader; Vindman, who sits on the National Security Council, said he was so concerned about the president’s call, in which Trump asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, he notified his superiors about the possible danger to national security.
Capito called the allegation “concerning,” but the remarks need to be put in context.
“Let’s get the process fair and transparent, and then we and everybody can make a judgment,” she said.
Capito previously said there was nothing in the phone call she considers an impeachable offense.
Manchin said the House must prove the president’s action was an abuse of his power, adding Trump and his staff need to cooperate with investigating lawmakers.
“You’ve got nothing to hide. You say you’re innocent. Do it, show them. Don’t hold people back,” he said.
The House’s resolution states if Trump refuses to cooperate, lawmakers could impose actions including denying requests from the president and his legal team.