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Democrat Jared Moskowitz ratchets up his trolling of GOP impeachment probe

Democratic lawmaker Jared Moskowitz is increasingly working to turn the GOP’s impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden into a spectacle as the evidence gathered by his committee appears to still lack the votes to pass even the hardline Republican-held House of Representatives.

Mr Moskowitz was spotted on Capitol Hill on Wednesday wearing a mask bearing the likeness of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, an apparent reference to the testimony of Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas wherein Mr Parnas claimed that the allegations against the Biden family were a Russian propaganda op.

It was the second headline-catching move of the day by the Democrat from Florida, who has emerged as a persistent thorn in the side of Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on which he serves. Mr Moskowitz has repeatedly gotten in angry back-and-forth arguments with Oversight Committee chairman James Comer, who has resorted to childishly insulting his colleague’s appearance as Mr Moskowitz has berated Republicans for pursuing what he has derided as a sham inquiry.

This week, another one of those public displays of tensions on the panel took place at Wednesday’s hearing when Mr Moskowitz dared Republicans to pass a motion to advance the impeachment inquiry to the full House of Representatives, and called the motion himself. Republicans on the panel refrained from supporting it, leading Mr Moskowitz to accuse them of pursuing the probe with no end in sight or target in mind.

“Let’s just do the impeachment,” he said during the committee’s hearing on Wednesday. “Why continue to waste millions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money if we’re going to impeach because you believe you’ve shown he’s committed a high crime or misdemeanour? What are you waiting on?”

Jim Jordan, a member of the committee’s Republican side, responded: "We don't do snap impeachments like you guys. We actually do the facts.”

A spokesperson for the GOP majority on the panel, meanwhile, claimed that Mr Moskowitz was not a “serious member of Congress” in a statement to Newsweek.

The hearing of the Oversight Committee on Wednesday came as the White House issued a letter to Mr Comer earlier this month calling on him to end the investigation of the president if no impeachment vote is to take place. A spokesperson for the president reiterated that call after this week’s hearing.

"That hearing was embarrassing for House Republicans. A total waste of time. It’s time to move on from this sad charade. There are real issues the American people want us to address," Ian Sams told Fox News. The conservative network was among the critics of the GOP’s investigation on Wednesday, and reported that the probe had “fizzled” with no “clear path forward for the investigation”.

Republicans have made no indication that they will end the probe or take any meaningful steps forward to move the investigation towards a potential Senate trial, even as the probe has now dragged on for months and as a second GOP-led investigation into Mr Biden’s DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas travelled through the House, failed to pass the chamber, later successfully passed the chamber, and then appeared to die on arrival in the Senate.

Any attempt by the GOP to end the impeachment inquiry would likely result in a backlash on the far right, with Donald Trump and his allies in the House likely to turn their fire on more moderate members of the caucus if the probe fully implodes.