U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler had one question for House Democrats on the Judiciary Committee Thursday morning.
“Are you conducting an impeachment investigation or not?” asked the western Pennsylvania Republican freshman, who represents Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette and Greene counties.
“If you are, just be honest with the American people,” he said. “Be honest with your colleagues. If you aren’t, then let’s stop these political games and let’s go to work for the American people.”
Reschenthaler’s inquiry came during a committee meeting in which members considered a resolution allowing the committee to use investigative measures to “consider evidence against the president,” according to U.S. Rep, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the committee.
Reschenthaler’s question picked up on criticism that Congressional Democrats’ messaging on impeachment is confusing. Nadler himself had already addressed the query in his introductory remarks.
“This committee is engaged in an investigation that will allow us to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to President Trump,” Nadler said. “Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature. But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat, and we are doing so.”
Nadler said the committee’s investigation will focus on allegations involving obstruction of justice, federal election crimes, self-dealing, and a “failure to defend our nation from future attacks by foreign adversaries."
“Under the procedures outlined in this resolution, we will hold hearings that allow us to further consider the evidence against the president,” Nadler said.
Reschenthaler said that approach amounted to “nothing more than an inquiry into whether to start an inquiry.” But Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, another Judiciary Committee member, said there was no mystery about the committee's activities.
"[T]he answer is yes -- we are engaged in an impeachment investigation," he told Reschenthaler.
The committee, which like the House itself is controlled by Democrats, voted in favor of the measures along party lines.