Expert: Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Strategy Keeping GOP on Sidelines

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pauses at a news conference as House Democrats move ahead in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to unilaterally announce an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump instead of the traditional protocol of a floor vote on an impeachment resolution is making it difficult for Republicans to push back against the process and insulates Democrats in red districts. 

Real Clear Politics reported that the House has enough vote to pass a resolution — 223 supporting impeachment and 12 holdouts — and Pelosi’s staff said it’s not required to move forward with the impeachment inquiry.

Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne told RealClearPolitics in a statement:

There is no requirement under the Constitution, House Rules or House precedent that the House has to take a vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry. The Committees of the House now have robust authority under the House’s existing rules to conduct investigations for all matters within their jurisdiction, including impeachment investigations.

“For several decades, impeachment investigations have frequently been conducted without a full vote,” Etienne said.

In fact, for the two presidential impeachments in recent decades — Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon — the House passed a resolution and the move empowered the House Judiciary Committee to head up the investigation.

“This time, that committee is not driving the train,” Real Clear Politics reported. “Instead, when the House is in recess the next two weeks, members of two panels — House Intelligence, Oversight and Government Reform, and Foreign Affairs — plan to hold hearings and interviews on impeachment.”

Republicans claim that holding a formal resolution vote would give them a chance to conduct their own investigation into the whistleblower complaint, including subpoenaing documents and witnesses.

Cleta Mitchell, a conservative political law attorney, told RealClearPolitics:

Republicans would have the opportunity to get information from all sources and get it on the table. The process they are proceeding under through their committee attorney means they are the only ones who have the rights to gather information.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter that the GOP is being denied due process.

“Formal impeachment would actually afford due process and ensure both sides are heard,” Collins tweeted on Monday.

“It’s not America when you can simply ramrod a hearing without allowing the person who is being accused or the minority to have more rights,” Collins said in an interview with Fox News. “This is just not fair and the American people will see through this.”

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said he thinks Pelosi didn’t hold a vote because she’s trying to appease the more “radical” members of the party while protecting Democratic members in Trump-favoring districts from having to be on the record with an impeachment vote.

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