House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the full House will hold a vote this week that “affirms” the ongoing impeachment inquiry, after President Donald Trump, White House lawyers and Republicans blasted legitimacy of the investigation.
The vote is not about whether to impeach the president but whether to approve of the ongoing process. Still, it will be an indicator of the level of support for the Democrats’ decision to launch the process for removing Trump as president.
“This week, we will bring a resolution to the Floor that affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees as part of this impeachment inquiry, including all requests for documents, subpoenas for records and testimony, and any other investigative steps previously taken or to be taken as part of this investigation,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats on Monday.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has been leading the investigation by gathering witness testimony in closed-door sessions. Last week, a group of more than two dozen House Republicans stormed into the hearing room to protest the process, claiming that it is taking place in secret. But GOP members of the three committees that are conducting the impeachment inquiry are still able to attend the depositions and ask questions of the witnesses.
Pelosi also noted that Democrats were not required by the Constitution to hold a vote on the inquiry and that a federal court on Friday supported that argument.
But she wrote that they “were taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.”
“This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel,” she wrote.
Schiff indicated that the resolution also would establish a format for open impeachment hearings, an indication that the process will soon become public.
“The American people will hear firsthand about the President’s misconduct,” Schiff said in a statement.
Less than two weeks ago, Pelosi announced that Democrats would not take a vote on the inquiry, but she did not rule out a resolution in the future.
The inquiry centers on whether Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic White House hopefull Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. It also is looking at whether military aid to Ukraine was withheld unless the president, Volodymyr Zelensky, committed to conducting an investigation of the Bidens.
On Monday, the latest witness, Charles Kupperman, who was deputy to John Bolton when Bolton was national security adviser, defied a subpoena to appear. Kupperman is challenging the subpoena in court.
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, “We won’t be able to comment fully until we see the actual text, but Speaker Pelosi is finally admitting what the rest of America already knew — that Democrats were conducting an unauthorized impeachment proceeding, refusing to give the President due process, and their secret, shady, closed door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate.”
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