The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump moves this week from the comparatively closed-lipped House Intelligence Committee to what one Colorado congressman says may be the most partisan panel in all of Congress.
On Wednesday morning, a gavel will bang in the House Judiciary Committee and a new stage of the impeachment process will begin. In a crowded hearing room, two Coloradans will be among those questioning a panel of legal experts as the committee hashes out what presidential conduct is, and isn’t, impeachable.
“The hearing will basically involve one hour of Democrats questioning the panel about what is an impeachable offense, what did the Founders intend, and what are the parameters” of impeachment, said Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, to KNUS last week. “Then the Republicans will have a chance for an hour to question. Then each member will have an opportunity for five minutes to question.”
“We will see a stark contrast between what the liberal progressives believe is impeachable, at least with this president,” and what Republicans believe is impeachable, Buck predicted.
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Among the committee’s 41 members are Buck and Rep. Joe Neguse, a progressive Democrat from Lafayette. How they each spend their five minutes — the questions they ask, the remarks they make, the tone they use — will be entered into the history books and the annals of Congress.
Four constitutional law experts will testify in Washington on Wednesday, beginning at 8 a.m. Mountain Time. The president’s legal counsel, who was invited to take part, has declined. Trump called the impeachment inquiry “a hoax” and “a disgrace for our country” at the White House on Monday.
There were no Coloradans on the Judiciary Committee when, 21 years ago, it wrote and passed articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton. There were no Coloradans on the committee when, 45 years ago, it wrote and passed articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. Colorado wasn’t yet a state when President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868.
Buck and Neguse are, politically speaking, polar opposites, but are friendly toward one another and have found common ground on a few issues. Impeachment, which has divided the entire country almost evenly, is highly unlikely to be one of those issues.
Both are attorneys.