Oct. 29 (UPI) -- House Democrats on Tuesday released the text of a resolution they plan to vote on later this week to formalize impeachment inquiry procedures for President Donald Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday that the chamber plans to vote on the resolution Thursday. The measure lays out the next steps to follow through on the inquiry sparked by a whistle-blower's allegations that Trump attempted to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
The resolution establishes procedure for open hearings, authorizes the release of deposition transcripts and outlines how the intelligence community can transfer evidence to the House judiciary committee
It directs "certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, president of the United States of America, and for other purposes," the document says.
The document gives House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the lead role in the investigation, giving him power to organize the questioning of witnesses. The committee will take over the probe, which until now has been handled by three committees, including intelligence, foreign affairs, and oversight and reform.
The resolution also gives House Republicans the power to request their own documents and testimony.
The document will go to the House Rules Committee for markup before the Thursday vote.
Pelosi said the resolution was not legally necessary but the House decided to take the vote "to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives."
"For weeks the president, his counsel in the White House and his allies in Congress have made the baseless claim that the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry 'lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding.' They argue that, because the House has not taken a vote, they may simply pretend the impeachment inquiry does not exist," she wrote.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the impeachment probe a "sham" in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
"The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the judiciary committee. Even then, the White House's rights remain undefined, unclear and uncertain -- because those rules still haven't been written."
"Under the House rules you championed at the beginning of this Congress, major legislation is required to be posted 72 hours in advance of a vote," the Republican leaders of the House committees on oversight and reform, foreign affairs, and intelligence said.
"Yet, here, on the gravest and most solemn work the House can do, you are forcing the House to consider a resolution with text that is still not available two days before the vote."