(Oct. 17). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should transfer the ongoing impeachment investigation from the House Intelligence Committee. It does not have proper ongoing jurisdiction over most of the subject matter involved, and its chairman, Adam Schiff, has been discredited.

The White House’s admission that there was indeed at least a partial quid pro quo involved in withholding military assistance to Ukraine makes it all the more crucial that the House impeachment investigation be conducted in ways the public will see as fair and legitimate. As the case for impeachment of President Trump becomes more powerful, so does the need for public confidence in the proceedings.

As noted before, this means the House should hold a vote to formally designate impeachment proceedings and that it adopt clear, transparent rules to govern the investigation. It also should mean that the proper committee should take the lead. Precedent from earlier impeachments suggests that either the Judiciary Committee or a special “select” committee should run point.

Even if Judiciary or a select committee isn’t assigned the lead role, the Intelligence Committee should not be. According to the subject matter at hand, Foreign Affairs, not Intelligence, should now take over.

The reason the Intelligence Committee originally had a role was because the first whistleblower came from the intelligence community and filed his complaint with the inspector general for intelligence. That’s what allowed the dishonest Schiff to become the face of the investigation. But that doesn’t mean he should continue to be that face. The questions at hand involve almost nothing related to traditional intelligence operations. They involve foreign relations and military aid.

The Foreign Affairs Committee’s website lists its jurisdiction as exactly that: “oversight and legislation relating to: foreign assistance (including … security assistance), national security developments affecting foreign policy; strategic planning and agreements … [and activities] related to the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act….

[The full column is here.]



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