The US House of Representatives has approved a resolution authorizing the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, despite Republican opposition arguing that the “Soviet-style” bill lacks transparency and due process.
The 232-196 vote ended up being almost entirely along party lines, with only two Democrats voting against and no Republicans voting for the resolution.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement strongly condemning the vote, criticizing House Speaker Pelosi’s (D-CA) “unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding.” The resolution, she argued, only codified “unacceptable violations of due process” in the ongoing inquiry.
The White House has dismissed the impeachment investigation, noting that Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) process would continue to be tightly controlled and held in secret, while withholding Republican and White House rights to cross-examine the witnesses and the right to issue subpoenas.
“The Democrats want to render a verdict without giving the Administration a chance to mount a defense,” the statement read.
The White House also condemned the resolution and the process laid out by Pelosi as an “illegitimate sham from the start”
The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019
Meanwhile, Trump branded the process “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!” in a tweet.
The resolution puts House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-California) in charge of the impeachment proceedings, while limiting the access of Republican members of Congress and White House attorneys.
The President’s misconduct makes today’s impeachment resolution necessary.
To honor our oath to the Constitution.
To honor the rule of law.
To hold this President accountable.
And show that nobody is above the law.
Not even the President of the United States. pic.twitter.com/AYH2Gmo7Gt
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) October 31, 2019
It comes following criticism from the GOP that the inquiry launched by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) 37 days ago has not been properly authorized by a full House vote, breaking with precedent established by the previous impeachment campaigns in US history.
In speeches on the House floor on Thursday morning, Democrats and Republicans both invoked the Founding Fathers, the Constitution and the defense of duty and democracy. Democrats maintain that Trump abused his power, undermined US national security and the integrity of elections – citing a July phone call with the president of Ukraine.
Why do Democrats keep quoting our founding fathers? I don’t think the founding fathers of this country had Impeachment in mind to get revenge for a giant loss.
— Kate ? (@kate_kcollins1) October 31, 2019
Today is about more than the fairness of the impeachment process. It is about the integrity of our electoral process.
Democrats are trying to impeach the President because they are scared they can’t defeat him at the ballot box.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) October 31, 2019
Trump and the Republicans have pointed out that none of these things are true, and that there was nothing untoward about the call. The White House has released a transcript of the call, which Schiff famously mischaracterized in a “parody” during a committee hearing. The Democrat-led interrogations of the people involved in US-Ukraine relations have been kept secret, with bits and pieces being leaked to friendly media outlets.
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) October 31, 2019
Republicans have called the process an attempt to overturn the 2016 election and influence the 2020 presidential vote, citing a prominent Democrat who said Trump must be impeached or else he will win re-election.
No US president has ever been successfully impeached. Richard Nixon resigned before an impeachment vote. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached in the House but not in the Senate, remaining in office as the result.
The House Speaker lied to the American public saying the process being voted on today — also called the Schiff Empowerment Act — gives Republicans and the White House the equal power as the crooked Democrats and their leader Adam Schiff in this sham impeachment process.
As Byron York reported earlier today at the Washington Examiner:
The resolution gives Rep. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, far-reaching power over the Trump impeachment. Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains the ultimate authority, of course, but, like a chairman of the board choosing a chief executive officer, she has picked Schiff to run the show. And in the resolution, Democrats will give him near-total control…
…The resolution also gives Schiff total control over whether transcripts of depositions already completed and those yet to be done will be made public. “The chair is authorized to make publicly available in electronic form the transcripts of depositions conducted by the [Intelligence Committee] in furtherance of the investigation,” says the resolution. That means Schiff can release transcripts, but it does not mean he must release transcripts.
“It says they are authorized to disclose depositions,” Meadows noted, “which means they can pick and choose which depositions they will release.” Perhaps Schiff will release them all. But he doesn’t have to.
The resolution would also give Schiff the authority to call and conduct public hearings on impeachment. Schiff will control the witnesses. Although there has been some discussion about whether Republicans will have the right to call witnesses, the resolution only gives the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Community, Rep. Devin Nunes, the right to ask Schiff to call a witness.
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) went point-by-point highlighting the absurdity of the Democrat Party’s impeachment resolution that gave all power to leaker-liar Adam Schiff.
— Karli Bonne’⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@kbq225) October 30, 2019
According to Roll Call, a provision in the resolution gives Democrats the ability to block key witnesses requested by the White House as the process moves to the House Judiciary Committee, led by chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY). Roll Call explains:
The provision gives Nadler broad discretion to punish Trump for stonewalling any aspect of Democrats’ impeachment investigation, not just allegations Trump withheld U.S. military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate his political rivals that are the primary focus of the inquiry.
If Trump doesn’t turn over his tax returns to the Ways and Means Committee or his financial records to the Financial Services panel — requests he and his counsel are currently fighting in court — Nadler can use his discretion to deny him and his counsel access to the impeachment proceedings.
In addition, while chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) can reject witnesses proposed by the Republican minority, the ranking member of the minority cannot challenge witnesses called by the chair. Though the minority can appeal the chair’s decision to a vote by the whole committee, the Democratic majority virtually guarantees that Schiff’s veto would be upheld.
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