Just weeks after House speaker Nancy Pelosi initiated an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, the House voted for a resolution that would formalize the proceeding and outline its future steps, effectively taking the inquiry beyond all remaining legal reproaches—even as Trump’s administration and most Republicans stand against it.
An overwhelming majority
The resolution was promptly passed by a vote of 232-196, with only two House Democrats voting against the motion. Speaker Pelosi announced the vote earlier this week in response to comments by Trump and his allies that the impeachment inquiry was invalid since the House had not officially approved it—even after a judge had ruled that Democrats had no legal requirements to hold a vote in the first place in order to go ahead with the inquiry proceedings.
“For weeks, the President, his Counsel in the White House, and his allies in Congress have made the baseless claim that the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry ‘lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding,’” Pelosi wrote in a letter. “They argue that, because the House has not taken a vote, they may simply pretend the impeachment inquiry does not exist.”
But though that argument, Pelosi said, has “no merit,” an official vote would neutralize process attacks by Republicans, helping the House move forward with the proceedings. Pelosi added that they’re “taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.”
Indeed, the Trump administration was preventing White House officials from testifying on the basis that the impeachment inquiry was illegitimate without a vote by Congress. The administration was instead dedicated to launching attacks against Democrats for their attempts to undermine Trump’s authority.
For example, after Pelosi announced that the vote would take place, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham released a statement on Monday saying that the Speaker was “finally admitting what the rest of America already knew — that Democrats were conducting an unauthorized impeachment proceeding, refusing to give the President due process, and their secret, shady, closed door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate.”
After these decisive results in the House, however, there will be little Trump and his allies can say on the legal front against the inquiry, as the process moves ahead from the investigative phase and into public hearings. Already two of Trump’s officials have given crucial testimony against the President, and they are reportedly willing to do so publicly at the hearings as well.
So, though the impeachment inquiry is just getting started, it’s already looking bad for the president. Only time will tell if anything will come out of it, but for now, the stage is officially set for what lies ahead.
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