Congress to Hold First Floor Vote on Impeachment Inquiry

October 28, 2019 by Dan McCue
Representative Adam Schiff, D- Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol, Oct. 2, 2019. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives will hold the first floor vote on the Trump impeachment inquiry, laying out the rules for the remainder of the ongoing investigation.

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to start marking up the resolution introduced by committee chairman, Rep. Jim McGovern, at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The resolution is expected to be put up for a vote on the House floor on Thursday.

In a series of tweets Monday, Rep. McGovern said his intent with the resolution is to ensure “transparency and provide a clear path forward as the House prepares for the public phase of the impeachment inquiry.”

“This is a solemn time for our country … ” McGovern continued. “There is mounting evidence that the President of the United States betrayed his oath of office by abusing his power, endangering our national security, and compromising the integrity of our elections.

“Every Member of Congress took an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That is what we intend to do,” the committee chairman said.

Several House committees have been investigating President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine since late September. Since then congressional Republicans have been accusing their Democratic colleagues of dispensing with impeachment precedents and denying the president his due process rights.

Until now, the Democrats have said they did not need a formal vote of the full House to authorize the proceedings. In announcing the decision to hold a vote this week, they say the purpose is to affirm the proceedings while moving them on to a new, more public stage.

In a letter to her colleagues on Monday afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “For weeks, the President, his Counsel in the White House, and his allies in Congress have made the baseless claim that the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry ‘lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding.’  They argue that, because the House has not taken a vote, they may simply pretend the impeachment inquiry does not exist. Of course, this argument has no merit. …”

“The Trump Administration has made up this argument – apparently out of whole cloth – in order to justify its unprecedented cover-up, withhold key documents from multiple federal agencies, prevent critical witnesses from cooperating, and defy duly authorized subpoenas,” she continued.

“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,” the speaker continued. “We are 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.”

At the White House, presidential press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “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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