UPDATE: House votes 232-196 in favor of proceeding on Trump impeachment inquiry
UPDATE: The House passed a resolution on Thursday approving procedures for its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, opening a new and public phase of the investigation.
The vote, 232 to 196, was largely along party lines and Republicans objected, alleging that the Democratic inquiry is a farce that has been improperly conducted behind closed doors. House Democrats are now expected to begin holding public hearings in the next few weeks to present testimony against Trump.
Thursday's vote outlines what Democrats are describing as the next phase in the impeachment inquiry. It establishes ground rules for open hearings and gives the ranking Republican member on the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the ability to issue subpoenas — if committee chair, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., agrees.
It also calls for making public the witness depositions that have been done to date, and would allow the president or his counsel to participate in proceedings held by the House Judiciary Committee, which has the authority to advance articles of impeachment.
But if the president "refuses to cooperate" with congressional requests, "the Chair shall have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies, including by denying specific requests by the President or his counsel," the resolution says.
Republicans have decried Democrats' handling of the probe since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced in late September that the House was moving forward "with an official impeachment inquiry."
Pelosi said the inquiry was necessary after Trump acknowledged he'd asked Ukraine's president to investigate Trump rival Joe Biden and his son.
Republicans contend Pelosi didn't follow proper procedure because the House hadn't vote to formally proceed with the impeachment inquiry, as it had in the past. Democrats — and a federal judge — said that's not accurate.
"Even in cases of presidential impeachment, a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry," Washington, D.C., federal court Judge Beryl Howell wrote in a ruling on the issue last week.
But citing that lack of a vote, the White House vowed not to cooperate with the inquiry. Republican leadership has complained that witnesses were being questioned behind closed doors, and that the president was being deprived of "due process."
Democrats said the questioning was being done in private in an effort to stop witnesses from tailoring their testimony to fit others' accounts. Legal experts have compared the House's role in the process as a grand jury, and noted if the House votes on articles of impeachment, the Senate will have a trial on the charges where the president is entitled to a full defense.