House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to fellow House Democrats Monday afternoon outlining a plan to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Trump with a vote on Thursday, marking the first move towards a public impeachment.
“This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel,” Pelosi’s letter reads.
The Speaker also took aim at President Trump and Republican allies’ repeated claims that the House’s inquiry “lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding” by not taking an official vote.
“We are 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. Nobody is above the law,” the letter concludes.
House Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D., Mass.) will introduce the resolution on the House floor tomorrow to “ensure transparency and provide a clear path forward,” according to a statement from the representative.
“This is a solemn time for our country. With our existing authority under the Constitution and the rules of the House, Congress has been investigation serious allegations involving President Trump and Ukraine . . . This is the right thing to do for the institution and the American people,” the statement reads.
The official text of the resolution has not yet been released. It’s unclear what prompted the Democrats to move forward, as federal district Judge Beryl Howell ruled last week that the House’s current impeachment inquiry is legal, a fact Pelosi’s letter mentions.
Last week, President Trump drew heavy criticism for calling the inquiry a “lynching,” a description defended by Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.).
“This is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American,” Graham said on October 22. “I’ve never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody is accused of a major misconduct who cannot confront the accuser, call witnesses on her behalf and have the discussion in the light of day so the public can judge.”