The House has finally voted to pass a resolution confirming the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, establishing a rule set which the inquiry must follow, although if we’ve learned anything so far, that likely won’t stop Democrats from breaking those rules.
The measure passed with both parties voting nearly strictly along party lines with only two Democrats – Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew voting against impeachment. Former Republican now turned Independent, Justin Amash, voted to pass the resolution.
Republicans and Democrats engaged in a fiery floor debate ahead of the vote, with legislators from both sides lobbing pointed barbs.
Republicans had, by far, the more significant complaints, charging that the Democrats were engaging in a “witch hunt” on Halloween, that they were launching a “coup” against the President, and that the impeachment inquiry itself was “pre-ordained,” and that Democratic legislators were just looking for an excuse to start the process.
Rep. Debbie Lesko called out the Democrats on Twitter, arguing that the impeachment inquiry a “sham” and pointing out that the “resolution” that Democrats seemed so eager to label a mere “codification” of previously agreed-up standards keeps the public — and Republican legislators — in the dark.
“Transcripts aren’t required to be made public,” Lesko explained of the resolution’s guidelines. “Exculpatory evidence does not have to be turned over.”
“Democrats are misleading the public once again. This does not open up the process, nor does it provide transparency,” she continued.
Following the vote, Republicans launched an attack on Pelosi, pointing out her clear reversal from just months ago in March when she claimed during an interview that she opposed impeachment.
“It’s so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it,” Pelosi said during the interview.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy asked, “What has changed since March?”
In all the hearings, there’s nothing compelling, nothing overwhelming, so the speaker should follow her own words and that bipartisan vote on that floor and end the sham that has been putting the country through this nightmare,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy added, “[Republicans] believe in the rule of law. But unfortunately, in Nancy’s House, we do not.”
The formal passing of the resolution puts Adam “Shifty” Schiff in charge of the full inquiry, and gives the little weasel the power to order subpoenas and compel testimony.
The main difference is that now Republicans are allowed to defend the President.
The GOP can now to issue their own subpoenas and present their own testimony, but any rebuttal witnesses, or witnesses presented in defense of the President, must be approved by Schiff, the operating chair of the investigation.
The resolution also calls for an “open hearing or hearings” where the President’s allies can present their case in defense of Trump, but only after Democrats have presented their case.
All witness requests must be submitted to Chairman Schiff for approval: “to allow for a full evaluation of minority witness requests, the ranking minority member may submit to the chair, in writing, any requests for witness testimony relevant to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution within 72 hours after notice is given.”
Schiff, of course, has played a rather questionable role in the inquiry before it even technically began. Reciting an “imagined” conversation between Trump and President Zelensky, helping the whistleblower write his complaint, and blocking Republicans from asking certain questions just to name a few of the wrongdoings Schiff has committed thus far.
The White House harped on the one-sided rules when responding to the vote.
“With today’s vote, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have done nothing more than enshrine unacceptable violations of due process into House rules,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters.
So far, Democrats have conducted the impeachment inquiry mostly in private, behind closed doors, and occasionally, in a SCIF — a specially created classified information zone within the Capitol.
The resolution sets the stage for Democrats to bring the hearings out into the open — something that will, no doubt, provide some measure of relief to Republicans who say they’ve been cut out of the process so far.