House Democrats on Thursday will take the biggest leap of their impeachment campaign against President Trump, staging their first floor vote on the explosive topic and laying the groundwork to shift the process from closed-door obscurity to the televised spotlight.
The stakes are high. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has long argued that bipartisan backing is a crucial element in impeaching any president, and the vote to establish rules for the public-facing phase is both a signal that Democrats think their case is airtight and a strategy for winning a greater portion of popular support.
“This process determining whether he should be impeached will be open to the public view, just as it should be,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).
It remains unclear when the open-hearing stage will begin. But after weeks of private depositions, there’s a growing sense that the shift is imminent.
“I don’t know if it’s the final week,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday, referring to the closed-door phase, “but I think it’s getting close.”