Washington: House Democrats are laying the groundwork for the next phase of their impeachment inquiry with a vote this week on a resolution to affirm the investigation, set rules for public hearings and outline the potential process for writing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Credit:Getty
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a vote on the resolution, which would be the first formal House vote on the impeachment inquiry. It aims to nullify complaints from Trump and his allies – amplified last week when Republicans stormed a secure room used for impeachment interviews – that the process is illegitimate, unfair and lacking in due process.
Despite the move toward a vote, Democrats insisted they weren't yielding to Republican pressure. Pelosi dismissed the Republican arguments against the inquiry, including that impeachment can't begin without formal approval from the House.
"I do not care. I do not care. This is a false thing with them," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "Understand it has nothing to do with them. It has to do with how we proceed."
Trump has cited the lack of a House vote as a reason to refuse cooperation with the impeachment investigation. In the wake of Pelosi's announcement, the White House said nothing had changed.
Pelosi "is finally admitting what the rest of America already knew – that Democrats were conducting an unauthorised impeachment proceeding, refusing to give the President due process, and their secret, shady, closed door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate," said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.
Pelosi did not release the text of the resolution but said it would establish procedure for public hearings, authorise the disclosure of closed-door deposition transcripts and set forth "due process rights for the President and his Counsel."
It's unclear if that means that White House lawyers will be able to interview witnesses, or if Republicans will be able to call their own. Republicans have noted that the minority had those powers in previous impeachment investigations.
House critics of the process were unmoved. Represenative Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, said Pelosi is "admitting guilt" by holding a vote. "The problem is, they are already starting a tainted process," he said.
Senate Republicans, meanwhile, took a wait-and-see approach. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said it was a "good thing" the House was considering a vote. But when asked if Trump should cooperate fully once it passes, he replied, "I'll leave that up to the White House."
Source: Read Full Article