In what appears to be a compromise with Democrats who have called for impeachment proceedings against President Trump, a number of House Democrats have begun to suggest hearings in the House to censure the president.
A House resolution to censure the president would not carry significant consequences and would basically serve as a formal reprimand. However, censure hearings might enable Democrats to bring to light evidence against the president and create something of a spectacle that might assuage Democrats who are calling for impeachment. A censure resolution would not require support from the Senate, or even from House Republicans, in order to proceed.
Regardless of whether Democrats decide to move forward to censure Trump, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D.-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is planning to conduct committee hearings next week to review information contained in special counsel Robert Mueller III’s report. Nadler has indicated that Mueller himself will be called to testify.
Speaking in an interview on WNYC radio, Nadler stated, “I think it’s very important that [Mueller] testify before the American people, even if he doesn’t say anything beyond what was said [in the report]. Most people are not going to read the 448-page report.”
In a parallel move, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) stated Tuesday that his committee also plans to hold hearings on the Mueller Report and likewise expects the recently retired special counsel to attend. Both the Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee have issued a number of subpoenas to the White House and the Justice Department seeking a broad range of information in support of their investigations into the 2016 presidential election.
Schiff stated on Tuesday, June 4, “The Justice Department has started to provide some of the materials that we have asked for on a rolling basis. We hope that will continue.”
The number of Democrats who have publicly called for impeachment of the president has grown to over 50 in recent weeks, including several high-profile candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has cautioned her party that an attempt to impeach the president would need to be supported by “ironclad” evidence, substantial enough to convince Senate Republicans to go along with impeachment. This is far from likely, given the lack of conclusive evidence that surfaced in Mueller’s investigation.
Senate Republicans have also vowed to quickly quash any effort to impeach President Trump on the basis of collusion with Russia or on obstruction of justice.