In-Depth: House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced this resolution of inquiry to force the DOJ to turn over records related to former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump and launching obstruction of justice and counterintelligence probes into his actions. He believes those records would help in terms of “showing the thinking and actions of the individuals who fueled investigations of President Trump for collusion and obstruction.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) concurred in his opening statement at a hearing to markup this resolution of inquiry:
“In essence, this Resolution seeks records relating to concerns expressed at the very highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI about President Trump’s allegedly illegal conduct, and his fitness for office. It also seeks records about the extraordinary measures that these leaders may have contemplated in view of these concerns. I certainly do not oppose efforts to learn more about whether, in fact, such discussions occurred and, if so, what prompted such alarm among Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. McCabe, as well as other FBI officials, that they would consider these unprecedented actions. Therefore, I will not oppose this Resolution.”
During his time as acting FBI director, Andrew McCabe alleges that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed bringing the cabinet together to remove President Donald Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein maintains he was joking, but McCabe insisted it was a serious discussion. McCabe also ordered an investigation into possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. McCabe was later fired on the recommendation of the Office of Professional Responsibility three days before he would’ve become eligible for retirement with full benefits, and DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred him for criminal prosecution for lying to federal investigators.
The House Judiciary Committee approved this resolution on a bipartisan 22-0 vote.
Of Note: Only the House has the ability to file a resolution of inquiry, as there’s no counterpart in the Senate’s parliamentary rules. Resolutions of inquiry are given privileged status in the House, meaning that the House’s ordinary business can be interrupted so that they can be considered, although the House can still choose to give precedence to other matters through a majority vote.
Once a resolution of inquiry is introduced, the committee must respond to it within 14 legislative days, or Congressional workdays. The committee can either report the resolution favorably, reject it, or revise it. If the committee chooses not to act within that time period, the resolution’s sponsor could request that the resolution be discharged (meaning it gets pulled out of committee) so that the House as a whole can then vote on it.
By rejecting a resolution of inquiry, the committee considering it isn’t necessarily saying that the subject of the inquiry is without merit or that the administration didn’t provide the requested information. It could mean that the committee received what it asked for and that what it got is enough to bring the administration in compliance with the request, meaning that further action was unnecessary.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: USAttorneys via Flickr / Creative Commons)