House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that she will not hold a full vote in the House to formally launch an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, despite his refusal to cooperate with the inquiry, unless she does so.
"There's no requirement that we have a vote," Pelosi said. "We're not here to call bluffs. We're here to find the truth to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This is not a game for us. This is deadly serious."
Three congressional panels are leading the inquiry into Trump, including the House Oversight, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees, with each one issuing subpoenas for documents and testimony. Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said this week he would not cooperate with House Democrats conducting the impeachment inquiry and would not comply with requests for documents or testimony.
Trump responded on Twitter Wednesday morning, saying Republicans have had their rights stripped in the impeachment inquiry.
"Republicans are totally deprived of their rights in this Impeachment Witch Hunt. No lawyers, no questions, no transparency! The good news is that the Radical Left Dems have No Case. It is all based on their Fraud and Fabrication!" Trump wrote.
President Trump has also stated that he would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry unless House Democrats bend to his request and hold a vote to officially launch the inquiry. During the impeachment inquiry into President Richard Nixon, the House held a formal vote on February 6, 1974, which gave the Judiciary Committee the authority to investigate whether there was enough evidence to impeach Nixon. Similarly, during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, House Republicans held a formal vote on October 8, 1998, voting to commence impeachment proceedings against then-President Clinton.
The formal vote by the full House is generally used as a tool to compel officials in the executive branch and other potential witnesses to testify and provide documents relating to the inquiry. However, Pelosi said that there was no need for a full House vote, as the three committees currently conducting the impeachment inquiry was not having an issue securing witness testimony and records.
The Constitution of the United States gives the House full authority and the "sole power of impeachment," however, it does not specify how an impeachment inquiry should be conducted. Past impeachment hearings have relied on tradition and formality, something that congressional Republicans have pointed to, in calling the impeachment inquiry against Trump illegitimate.
The impeachment inquiry against President Trump was announced by Speaker Pelosi on September 24 following revelations from a whistleblower complaint that said Trump had attempted to use military aid to Ukraine as leverage in an attempt to get newly-elected President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to launch an investigation into the son of his political rival, former Vice President, Joe Biden. Trump has stated that his conversation with the Ukrainian president was "perfect" and he had done nothing improper during the phone call.
However, 225 Democrats in the House and one Independent disagree with the president's assessment of his July 25 call with Zelenskyy, and have gone on record as supporting the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Public support for impeachment has also steadily risen in recent weeks, with a recent Gallup poll finding that a slim majority of 52% of Americans support Trump's impeachment and removal from office.
Photo: Getty Images