House Committee Pushes Impeachment Probe Forward, As Colorado Delegation Falls Into Party-Line Stances

State of Union
Andrew Harnik/AP
The Dome of the U.S. Capitol building is visible on the morning of the 2019 State of the Union, Tuesday, Feb. 5, in Washington.

The U.S. House moved closer to an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump as the House Judiciary Committee Chairman on Thursday approved guidelines for impeachment hearings.

Colorado Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse and Republican Rep. Ken Buck voted along party lines. Neguse was for the resolution, Buck was against.

While Republicans have been united against impeachment, the issue is more fraught for Democrats — with some advocating for a more deliberative approach, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi has been reluctant to echo the committee's assertions that they are in the midst of an impeachment probe.

At a news conference after the committee vote, Pelosi was on the defensive. She said she supports what the committee is doing, and "I salute them for that work." She said, though, that when she travels the country, "people are saying it's good to be careful about how we proceed."

Colorado’s delegation was also split. Reps. Diana DeGette and Jason Crow have been in favor of pursuing impeachment. But in July, Rep. Ed Perlmutter effectively voted against an impeachment resolution.

But Thursday after the committee vote, he tweeted his support for moving into the next phase of investigation.

With lawmakers divided, it's unclear whether the impeachment process will ever move beyond the committee's investigation. The committee would have to introduce impeachment articles against Trump and win approval from the House to bring charges. The Republican-led Senate is unlikely to convict Trump and remove him from office.

Still, the committee has persisted in advancing the impeachment issue, partly to bolster two lawsuits against the Trump administration as the White House has repeatedly blocked witness testimony and document production. The suits say the material is needed so the committee can decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment.

The first hearing scheduled under the new impeachment rules is with one-time Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Sept. 17. Lewandowski was frequently mentioned in special counsel Robert Mueller's report , which the committee has been investigating. According to Mueller's report, Trump asked Lewandowski to deliver a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting that he limit Mueller's inquiry.

In addition to Mueller, the committee is investigating the spending of taxpayer money at the president's hotels and properties and hush money payments Trump made to kill potentially embarrassing stories. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said all of those investigations will inform the decision on whether to vote on articles of impeachment.