"There's no ambiguity", Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler told reporters Tuesday, noting that the committee's hearings have always been about whether "to consider the possibility of reporting to the floor articles of impeachment".
The House Judiciary Committee is set to vote Thursday on new impeachment procedures, a move that Democrats are calling their next step in determining whether to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. If they're adopted, as expected, the changes would lengthen the time witnesses can testify, allow the committee to analyze evidence in closed session, and allow Trump to respond to allegations in writing.
Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, has repeatedly said his committee is now conducting a formal impeachment investigation, telling NBC reporters that the probe is getting more serious.
The caucus said in its statement that Trump "has repeatedly broken the law, committed impeachable offenses, and continues to obstruct justice".
"The unprecedented corruption, coverup, and crimes by the president are under investigation by the committee as we determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment or other Article 1 remedies", he said, referring to the US Constitution's section on legislative powers.
As more House Democrats publicly support an impeachment inquiry, aides said Monday that is exactly what the House Judiciary Committee is doing.
They walked through the three previous presidential impeachments - and what precedents could be relied on for a fourth. As the case for impeachment continues to build and the presidential election draws near, Democrats are essentially pocketing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation and moving onto what they view as less debatable indiscretions allegedly conducted by the president and administration, such as alleged violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause. The committee also subpoenaed former Trump aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter.
Pelosi has resisted calls to start an impeachment investigation out of concern that it could backfire politically, given tepid public support and near-solid Republican opposition. Mueller's report describes Trump dictating a message to Lewandowski to give to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of the special counsel's investigation to future election interference. By Monday morning, the committee had released a resolution detailing the new procedures for the Thursday vote. Though it sounds inconsequential, including the smaller, nimbler subcommittees in the inquiry would allow Democrats to speed up their work or steer less significant witnesses to the smaller panels.
With the Russia-Trump-collusion narrative having gone into full retreat, Democrats have begun to focus more on the president's business dealings, including the question of whether state and foreign dignitaries staying at Trump hotels and resorts violate constitutional rules for emoluments. Ocasio-Cortez has said that Republicans against Trump's impeachment should have to go on the record with a vote.
"We're getting more information, and we're organizing it", she said.
Pelosi has said she wants to make sure all means are exhausted before deciding whether to launch an impeachment inquiry, pointing to pending court cases and at least six ongoing congressional investigations under the Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and Intelligence committees.