Ever since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared an impeachment inquiry two weeks ago, she has said in interviews and elsewhere that calling for a floor vote in the U.S. House on the issue was not a Constitutional requirement.
While she’s technically correct, not calling for such a vote gives off the appearance of not having confidence that your caucus will carry through with their stated support of either an inquiry or impeachment itself. It’s also an indicator Pelosi doesn’t want to put some vulnerable House Democrats on the hot seat in a crucial election year.
Plus, as a fired up Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) noted Tuesday, Pelosi’s refusal to do so has hamstrung House Republicans and Trump’s legal team:
… because there has not been a vote to launch an impeachment inquiry, because the minority does not have any rights for subpoenas, because the president doesn’t have the right to have council present to ask questions for subpoena power, to present evidence.
Earlier today, House Democrat John Garamendi broke with fellow California Reps. (and impeachment circus ringleaders) Pelosi and Adam Schiff, telling CNN it’s time to hold a vote on the issue:
“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 full power of the Congress behind it,” Garamendi said in an interview on “CNN Newsroom.”
“That will further strengthen Congress’s hand,” he added.
“They want a fight, OK,” Garamendi said of the White House. “Then let us arm ourselves completely and totally with the full power of Congress.”
According to The Hill, Garamendi “does not serve on any of the main committees leading the impeachment inquiry.” But just in case you think Garamendi might be one of the more tame Democrats in the House, think again. In the same interview, he said those who do not cooperate with the House’ investigation should be carted off to jail.
Garamendi is not the only Democrat who came out today calling for a formal vote on the House floor for an impeachment inquiry. So did 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke:
“I don’t want to question the speaker’s wisdom and I’m sure she has a very good reason for proceeding in the way that she has,” the 2020 hopeful told MSNBC. “But to your question, I’d love to remove that as a talking point or a reason for the kind of obstruction that you’re seeing from the president.”
MSNBC host Hallie Jackson had asked O’Rourke whether he thought House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., should act to take away the administration’s legal argument for not cooperating with her inquiry.
It’s not really a “talking point” but I wouldn’t expect him to characterize it any other way.
Pelosi should hold that vote on an impeachment inquiry. On one hand, not doing it protects vulnerable incumbents for the time being and gives Republicans and the White House few legal options.
On the other hand, the longer she refuses to, the more it adds credence to Republican and White House claims that this is all nothing but a giant sham a la the Russia collusion hoax.
She’s apparently decided the risk that this will be viewed as a sham over the long term is worth the risk, which is one reason why Pence is traveling this week to key House districts – to remind voters that elections, not impeachment, are how we settle political differences.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –