“The president’s counsel may respond in writing to information and testimony presented to the committee in open session,” the resolution says, adding that Mr. Trump’s lawyers may also be invited to review and respond to information kept secret if the chairman chooses.
One of the aides involved in drafting the resolution said that the president’s lawyers could yet play a larger, in-person role, as well, if they requested it.
There may be other benefits to taking a procedural vote, too. Though the resolution does not mention matters of decorum, Democrats believe the vote to adopt it will allow lawmakers to get around normal House rules that limit their ability to accuse the president of crime, the aide said.
The Judiciary Committee plans to finalize the resolution on Monday, the aides said, and could vote as soon as Wednesday to adopt it. Details of the procedures were first reported on Friday by Politico after Judiciary Committee aides briefed lawmakers on the planned vote, but the draft text has not previously been reported.
Lawmakers from the president’s party have oscillated between criticizing the mechanics of Democrats’ investigation and dismissing their’ impeachment efforts as a pathetic and futile hunt for nonexistent evidence to oust Mr. Trump. But without the votes to overpower the Democrats, they have little recourse but to vocally object.
“If they really want to do this, they have to bring impeachment to the floor,” the top Republican on the committee, Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, said on Fox News on Sunday. “This is simply a show. It is a travesty. And, frankly, they should be ashamed.”
The Judiciary Committee has been edging toward a full-scale impeachment inquiry since the spring, when Democrats began calling witnesses and demanding evidence related to a range of potential presidential misconduct.
But only in July, after testimony from Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, did the committee formally declare to a judge that what had begun as a regular congressional oversight investigation was now primarily focused on whether to recommend articles of impeachment.