A resolution to authorize the House Judiciary Committee to launch an impeachment inquiry has been introduced into the House of Representatives by Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, joined by Representative Al Green of Texas. The resolution is patterned on the February 1974 resolution that authorized an impeachment inquiry against President Richard Nixon. As we explained in the Boston Globe:
[C]ongressional impeachments always begin with a critical first step: The House Judiciary Committee investigates whether to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House. The committee subpoenas documents and testimony, prepares legal analyses, and holds hearings. Through this investigation, the committee determines what the president has done, and whether it constitutes grounds for impeachment.
The full text of Representative Tlaib’s resolution (H. Res. 257) is:
Inquiring whether the House of Representatives should impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America.
(1) the Committee on the Judiciary shall inquire whether the House of Representatives should impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America;
(2) the Committee on the Judiciary or any subcommittee or task force designated by the Committee may, in connection with the inquiry under this resolution, take affidavits and depositions by a member, counsel, or consultant of the Committee, pursuant to notice or subpoena; and
(3) there shall be paid out of the applicable accounts of the House of Representatives such sums as may be necessary to assist the Committee on the Judiciary in conducting the inquiry under this resolution, any of which may be used for the procurement of staff or consultant services.
As with the Nixon impeachment inquiry resolution, the resolution does not specify any particular grounds, but leaves those for the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry to determine. In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent earlier in the week, Rep. Tlaib suggested that the inquiry begin with three areas of inquiry as potentially impeachable offenses: accepting unconstitutional foreign emoluments; making, directing, and concealing unlawful “hush money” payments to influence the 2016 election; and obstruction of justice.
We applaud Congresswoman Tlaib’s tremendous leadership at this critical moment for our democracy.