Democrats Push Pelosi to Hold Impeachment Inquiry Vote Next Week
House Speaker faces new pressure from lawmakers
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces new pressure from lawmakers to hold a House vote on impeachment next week.
Democrats are pushing demands for an official floor vote to open an impeachment inquiry after President Donald Trump dared them to go on the record.
Rep. John Garamendi of California told CNN:
"I think it's time for us to put a vote on the floor, a resolution for the inquiry structured in such a way that it can move forward with the full power of the Congress behind it."
White House counsel Pat Cipollone warned House Democrats Trump would not cooperate with a House impeachment probe unless a floor vote sanctions it.
“In the history of our nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the President without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step,” Cipollone wrote.
Garamendi believes that a vote would force the president to cooperate, or at the very least, give more legitimacy to the obstruction charges.
“They want a fight, then let us arm ourselves completely and totally with the full power of the Congress,” Garamendi said.
During Friday conference call with Pelosi, some Democrats were expected to urge a House vote, which they believe will quickly clear the 217-vote threshold needed to pass.
But Pelosi hasn’t signaled whether she’ll take the step on the impeachment vote, telling reporters last week a vote “is not anything that is excluded.”
On Friday, Pelosi touted 'increased' support of their effort to impeach Trump.
Pelosi wrote to Democrats ahead of lawmakers returning to the Capitol next week:
Mike Pence Checkmates Pelosi, Will Prove Trump Innocent By Releasing Transcripts Of His Call With Zelensky— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) October 10, 2019
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“This week, we have seen increased outside validation of our efforts to hold the President accountable."
Three House committees have been conducting hearings with witnesses who supposedly have information about Trump’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Trump administration blocked some witnesses from testifying, but other others plan to cooperate with subpoenas.
“Any efforts by Trump Administration officials to prevent witness cooperation with the Committees will be deemed obstruction of a co-equal branch of government and an adverse inference may be drawn against the President on the underlying allegations of corruption and coverup,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-California, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-New York, and Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said.
Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the White House was obstructing the Democrats' impeachment inquiry due to the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and the other vital witnesses being blocked from giving testimony.
“We consider this act today, and the withholding of the ambassador’s documents and other efforts to discourage other State Department witnesses, as further acts of obstruction of a co-equal branch of government,” Schiff said.
Schiff made the accusation after Gordon Sondland’s testimony was blocked by the State Department hours before his scheduled appearance at a closed-door session on Capitol Hill.