House passes resolution that lays out formal rules of the Trump impeachment inquiry

RT: Nancy Pelosi, 191015
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, October 15, 2019.
Leah Millis | Reuters

House Democrats on Thursday passed a resolution outlining the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The 232-196 vote passed nearly along party lines, with no Republicans voting for the resolution. Two Democrats — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — joined Republicans in voting against it.

The lone independent congressman, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, voted for the impeachment inquiry resolution.

The measure, which sketches out guidelines for public hearings in the inquiry and the president’s participation in the process, marks the first time lawmakers’ votes will be counted on matters related to the Trump impeachment process.

In a blistering statement, the White House said that the vote by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic caucus does “nothing more than enshrine unacceptable violations of due process into House rules.”

The White House and Republicans have attacked the behind-closed-door impeachment proceedings since Pelosi first announced inquiry last month. Many Republicans had previously called on Democrats to hold a vote to formalize the inquiry — but GOP leaders nonetheless attacked the resolution when it was introduced this week.

The White House’s statement claims that Democrats have “conducted secret, behind-closed-door meetings, blocked the Administration from participating, and have now voted to authorize a second round of hearings that still fails to provide any due process whatsoever to the Administration.”

“The Democrats want to render a verdict without giving the Administration a chance to mount a defense,” the White House claims. It also lambasts Democrats for not failing to act on substantive legislative issues, such as “reducing gun violence” — though Democrats have urged Trump and the GOP-held Senate to support a bill on gun background checks that was passed in the House earlier this year. 

Trump blasted the impeachment inquiry just after the vote passed: “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!”

The vote followed a morning of debate on the floor of the House, where Democrats attacked Trump’s alleged abuses of power and Republicans lambasted the way the impeachment inquiry was being conducted.

“We are not here in some partisan exercise. We are here because the facts compel us to be here,” said Rules Committee Chairman James Mcgovern, D-Mass., who introduced the resolution earlier this week. 

I don’t know why the republicans are afraid of the truth,” Pelosi said. “What are we fighting for? Defending our democracy for the people.”

In a Fox News interview, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said, “We’re not getting our way today, because it’s not a fair process.”

Meadows criticized the text of the resolution for allowing House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif, to “once again to control everything that’s going on.”

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