Nancy Pelosi Forgoes House Precedent, Fast-Tracks Impeachment Inquiry

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 28: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi speaks with Texas Tribune CEO, Evan Smith during a panel at The Texas Tribune Festival on September 28, 2019 in Austin, Texas. Pelosi was scheduled to speak before the announcement of the impeachment inquiry but the inquiry …
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The Democrats and much of the media not only want President Donald Trump impeached; they want it to happen as quickly as possible.

To that end, Pelosi bypassed House precedent on impeachment, which normally is a process that starts with the House crafting an impeachment resolution and taking a vote on the House floor.

On Tuesday, Pelosi made a unilateral decision to announce an impeachment inquiry was underway, empowering the numerous committees to continue their investigations into Trump and his administration.

The federal government states: “Under the modern practice, an impeachment is normally instituted by the House by the adoption a resolution calling for a committee investigation of charges against the officer in question.” 

In a blog in the Hill, even an anti-Trump commentator explained Pelosi’s unorthodox approach:

Ordinarily, such a resolution would be dropped in the hopper and referred to the Rules Committee, then reported to the House floor for a vote. Both the 1973 and 1998, the Nixon and Clinton impeachment inquiries were authorized by House adoption of such resolutions.

The press revealed that the leadership briefly considered establishing a special select committee to conduct the inquiry, but that was quickly dashed by caucus liberals defending Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s (D-N.Y.) right to preside over the impeachment proceedings. Instead, Pelosi directed the six House committees currently investigating President Trump and his administration “to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.” 

The press is also advancing Pelosi’s strategy, including USA Today, which published a story on Sunday headlined, “Nancy Pelosi has put the Trump impeachment inquiry on a fast track. Here’s the plan, timeline, and key players.”

The article begins with a false claim that Trump “abused his power by pushing Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.”

USA Today reported on “the plan:”

Some lawmakers want the House to decide whether to file articles of impeachment by Thanksgiving, a timeline that could avoid having the issue spill over into the 2020 election year.

The plan for now, according to lawmakers, is to prioritize the Ukraine investigation, which is being led by the House Intelligence Committee, while other panels wrap up their probes and send their best cases to the House Judiciary Committee.

Then lawmakers will decide whether to bring forward articles of impeachment, which would require a full House vote. If it passes, Trump would be impeached – sort of like a criminal indictment.

USA Today notes that if the impeachment articles are approved, the Senate would hold a trial, and then a 2/3 vote would be needed “for Trump to be removed from office.”

But as Reuters reported, removal is far from certain:

The Senate now has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents who usually vote with the Democrats. Conviction and removal of a president would require 67 votes. So, for Trump to be removed from office via impeachment, at least 20 Republicans and all the Democrats and independents would have to vote against him.

The Republican majority in the Senate could vote to immediately dismiss the charges against Trump without considering evidence.

No president has ever been removed as a direct result of impeachment.

USA Today said despite Congress being on a two-week recess “things are moving rapidly,” including setting up depositions of state department officials with ties to Ukraine.

And while some have criticized Congress taking a break, it is part of “the plan,” according to Democrats.

“I think it’s very important that members go home to their constituents and explain what they are thinking,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said in the USA Today report. “This is a matter of grave importance and the American people need to understand what is occurring.”

“It’s also a chance to possibly sway public opinion on the issue as voters remain fairly split on impeaching Trump,” USA Today reported.

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