Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted to boost the panel’s investigation powers, with an eye to building an impeachment case against President Trump.

The party-line vote was 24-17, following “more than two hours of feisty debate,” reports The Hill.

“The move does not launch a formal impeachment process, but marks the first time a Democratic panel has voted on language that explicitly lays out how the party’s ongoing investigations into alleged presidential misconduct could lead to drafting — and eventual votes on — impeachment articles,” The Hill says.

Committee Republicans called the action “a charade,” and Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) came up with a colorful description of that view.
“Democrats followed the yellow brick road, and now they’re fully lost in impeachment Oz,” Collins said. “Try as they might, they can’t find their way out of the mess they’ve made because they think words don’t matter.”

But Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sought to clarify where things now stand:

“This committee is engaged in an investigation that will allow us to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment,” he said adding that “there’s no legal difference” between the terms “impeachment inquiry” and “impeachment investigation.”