Pelosi Says House to Vote This Week on Impeachment Inquiry

(Bloomberg) -- The House of Representatives is set to take its first vote to support the ongoing impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, a move that aims to nullify Republicans’ main complaint that the process is illegitimate.

“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,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues.

Three House committees have held weeks of closed hearings to gather information from witnesses about pressure that Trump and his associates put on Ukrainian leaders to investigate Joe Biden, a leading 2020 candidate. The resolution in support of the inquiry will be the first chance for all House members to be on record supporting or rejecting the impeachment process.

The vote is set for Thursday, according to a senior Democratic aide. The resolution “affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees as part of this impeachment inquiry,” Pelosi said in her letter, “including all requests for documents, subpoenas for records and testimony, and any other investigative steps previously taken or to be taken as part of this investigation.”

The vote will mark the beginning of public hearings and the release of information gathered in private depositions, Pelosi said.

“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 said in her letter.

A House official familiar with the decision said Democrats do not believe a resolution is necessary to authorize the probe. But the official also noted that Congress during the Clinton and Nixon impeachments found it prudent to put in place a clear process to guide committees and give the public a sense of how the process is going to work.

The White House has sought to stall the inquiry by refusing to turn over documents and instructing former and current executive branch employees to defy subpoenas for their testimony.

A former national security aide, Charles Kupperman, asked a federal judge on Friday to decide whether he should comply with a congressional subpoena or White House instructions to not cooperate. He didn’t appear for his scheduled deposition on Monday.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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