Mr. Collins, a Georgia lawyer with an auctioneer’s cadence and a lawyer’s knack for tripping up committee business with time-consuming parliamentary tactics, is ready to make the proceedings as painful as possible for Democrats. He warned that if Mr. Nadler intends to jam articles of impeachment through the committee, he will go down in history as “a giant rubber stamp” for Ms. Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the Intelligence Committee chairman.
It will be up to Mr. Nadler, a loquacious progressive from Manhattan’s Upper West Side who is now one of the House’s leaders, to maintain order and inject gravity and fairness into the proceedings. Democrats have spent weeks speculating that his relationship with Ms. Pelosi had been badly strained by his earlier push for impeachment, which she publicly opposed, believing the process was too divisive and unlikely, in any event, to result in the president’s removal. Both sides deny it, but privately lawmakers around him conceded they were wary of comparisons to Mr. Schiff, who oversaw hearings in the Intelligence Committee with an iron fist and tight lips.
Republicans have been quick to weaponize Mr. Nadler’s patience against him in the past, taking advantage of his reticence to simply gavel them into silence. Mr. Nadler, in consultation with Ms. Pelosi and his members, will now have to decide how to handle requests from Republicans and the president’s lawyers, weighing a desire to demonstrate fairness against a determination to maintain forward momentum, shutting down any dilatory tactics.
“We will bend over backward to be fair,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington. “Let’s see if he stands straight instead of standing corrupt. Let’s put the onus on the president to for once perhaps behave.”
The clash will begin on Wednesday, when the committee summons legal experts to help inform its debate over whether Mr. Trump’s conduct warrants impeachment.
The panel is also expected to convene another session in the coming days for Mr. Schiff or his staff members to formally present the Intelligence Committee’s findings for consideration, a spectacle akin to the presentation of evidence by Ken Starr, the independent counsel, during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.