On Wednesday House Republicans agreed to postpone an impeachment vote of embattled IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, and instead will hold Judiciary Committee hearings on the matter.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte agreed to hold a hearing next week in which Koskinen would testify under oath for the first time.
Lawmakers say a vote on his impeachment by the full House will follow, most likely in a lame-duck session following the November elections.
“Conservatives like due process, too,” Republican Rep. Todd Rokita told me. "Going right to the floor without a hearing would attract a witch trial accusation afterward.”
But, Rokita added, “I also understand that Koskinen ignored a subpoena . . . so this agreement actually forced his hand and got him in the hearing room."
Koskinen, an appointee of President Obama, has long been accused by conservative lawmakers of refusing to cooperate with Congress on investigations of alleged IRS harassment of conservative and tea party organizations.
On Tuesday, Republican Reps. John Fleming and Tim Huelskamp surprised colleagues and observers by offering a direct motion for a vote on impeaching Koskinen.
On the hearings, Fleming explained to me that "we asked the Judiciary Committee to do that almost a year ago, and it failed to hold a hearing. Jason Chafetz first made the motion for committee hearings, then I did, but nothing happened."
Judiciary Committee sources pointed out that Koskinen had appeared twice before the panel. However, as impeachment backer Rep. Mark Meadows said, “He was never under oath in either appearance.”
On Tuesday, President Obama called the impeachment move “crazy.”
Privately, senior Republicans expressed reluctance with the unusual move by more junior colleagues to remove Koskinen. One veteran lawmaker who requested anonymity told me: “Bob Goodlatte did have two hearings in Judiciary and so far there isn’t anything that’s come out to say we can just move ahead and impeach. But if he’s misbehaved in office, I say we should pass a resolution calling on Obama to fire him and then try to take away his pension.”
“This was all done by the time we came in for our [House Republican Conference] meeting Thursday morning,” Rep. Warren Davidson, the newest House member, told me. “And it’s not as though we’re going to send him to Gitmo. We’ll look at the charges, see just what he has done, and go from there.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.