The biggest question of them all is: Why won’t you hold a House vote on a formal impeachment inquiry?
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave her public blessing last week for House Democrats to launch a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump, members of the GOP House leadership read her the riot act.
Not only did she announce her support of an inquiry before reading the transcript of the Trump/Zelensky call (which hadn’t even been released at the time), but she also didn’t name the specific alleged impeachable offense Trump committed.
Furthermore, she sidestepped having the House vote on a formal impeachment inquiry, which has been the process the three times this issue has come up before (for Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton).
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise has become one of the more vocal members of the GOP leadership on this issue. He made the rounds over the weekend on the cable news networks asking questions Democrats either aren’t answering or aren’t answering honestly.
On Fox and Friends Saturday, Scalise brought up House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff’s “parody” reading of the Ukraine call in which he made up a conversation that did not happen. Scalise also pointed out that in spite of the impeachment fever that has consumed Democrats, House Democrats did not cancel a two-week recess. He found it odd that the House has not had an actual vote on an impeachment inquiry (transcribed):
Oh, by the way, if they were so serious, why did Adam Schiff have to start his committee hearing with a parody, a joke, trying to make fun of this and actually lying about what really happened and trying to make up a conversation between the president and Ukraine President Zelensky?
Why, by the way, if it’s so serious, and think about this, Nancy Pelosi is saying she wants to start impeachment proceedings against a president of the United States. She didn’t even require a House floor vote, which has always been the case to start impeachment. But, if she really thought he should be removed, why did she then leave town for two weeks? The next two weeks, Congress will not be in session.
He said if Pelosi and all House Democrats onboard with impeachment were serious, they’d stay in Washington, DC, and “work day and night to get to the bottom of the facts.” This is all about appeasing the Democratic base, not facts, he asserted.
Watch his interview below:
He brought up the lack of a floor vote in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd on Sunday:
Scalise: It sounds like you’re reading a lot of these Democrat talking points. The people that have been saying for years that the president was involved in all these other things and then none of it turned out to be true. The Mueller investigation was their ticket to impeachment.
Shouldn’t, by the way Chuck, shouldn’t they first have voted to start an impeachment inquiry, which has always happened? This is only three times in the history of our country that Congress has moved articles of impeachment. And they wouldn’t even do that.
It’s like they’re trying to shield their members from voting on this while they continue to go down the drumbeat of impeachment. Because, as the author of impeachment articles said, he’s concerned that president will get reelected. That’s not why you impeach a president. We’ve got an election next year to deal with that.
I won't let the media get away with reciting Democrat talking points.
The fact is Pelosi broke precedent & started this baseless impeachment inquiry without a vote.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) September 29, 2019
The lack of a House vote on a formal impeachment inquiry appears to be one of the biggest issues Scalise and other GOP leaders like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have with the Democrats. McCarthy tried twice last week to get a resolution to the floor that expressed disapproval over no impeachment inquiry vote. The resolution was tabled both times.
If you’re getting the impression that House Republicans are being deliberately left out of this process, you’re not the only one. Sen. Chuck Grassley raised alarm bells over this on Saturday:
Why are House Democrats cutting House Republicans out of the process of developing Articles of Impeachment and not following same procedures used in Nixon and Clinton impeachments???? Seems like a political motivation not a constitutional one!!!
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) September 28, 2019
Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, took it a step further in an interview he did with Lou Dobbs Thursday. He suggested the reason Democrats aren’t putting this to the House for a vote is because that’s when “due process rights have to kick in.” Here’s what he said (transcribed):
This week, we saw something that should disturb every American. We saw the Speaker of the House abuse her power … by going before the American people and basically lying by saying “we’re going to start an impeachment inquiry. It’s now formal.” She’s not truthful about that.
If they were really serious about that, they’d have to put it on the floor. If they actually put it on the floor, that meant – and this is something nobody reports – when they actually do an impeachment inquiry it means that all of a sudden due process rights have to kick in. It can no longer be the Adam Schiff Lying show story, it can no longer be the Jerry Nadler I Don’t Know What I’m Doing show.
It now has to be set where there’s due process, where there’s subpoena rights for myself as the ranking member [and] for the chairman. There’s places where the president and his legal team can weigh in. It becomes a formal proceeding. All they want to continue to do now is have the show. That’s why they don’t put it on the floor.
His comments about Pelosi, Trump, and due process start at around the 1:45 mark below. Watch:
In formal impeachment proceedings, the president gets to defend himself, and both sides of the aisle have subpoena power. The Speaker is leading her caucus down a fake “impeachment” path because she knows they’ll lose on a level playing field.https://t.co/ijXdsSxiIO
— Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) September 27, 2019
Although the House is on a recess for two weeks, select members of at least three key House committees will still be conducting impeachment-related business:
On Friday, Schiff, along with Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel and Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding documents related to Ukraine by Oct. 4. (The House is not scheduled to return from recess until Oct. 15.)
Additionally, a press release from the three chairs said the committees have scheduled depositions for five State Department officials over the next two weeks.
House Democrats say they want the inquiry to move “expeditiously,” and while Pelosi said Thursday she has not given the relevant committees any deadline for finishing their work, Rep. Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, told BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM she and the other chairs believe they can finish their work before the end of the year.
And if Scalise, McCarthy, and Collins are correct, it will largely be done without any Republican input or any due process for the president.
Calling this a stunningly dangerous precedent to set doesn’t quite seem to cover it.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.