WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a letter Thursday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting she suspend Democrats’ impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump “until transparent and equitable rules and procedures are established to govern the inquiry.”
“Unfortunately, you have given no clear indication as to how your impeachment inquiry will proceed — including whether key historical precedents or basic standards of due process will be observed,” the California Republican wrote. “In addition, the swiftness and recklessness with which you have proceeded has already resulted in committee chairs attempting to limit minority participation in scheduled interviews, calling into question the integrity of such an inquiry.”
McCarthy posed 10 questions to Pelosi in the letter about the process. Those questions include whether she’ll hold a vote of the full House to authorize the inquiry, whether the minority will be granted subpoena power, and whether subpoenas will be subject to a committee vote upon request of the chairman or ranking member.
The minority leader also raised several questions about what rights Democrats plan to grant the president’s counsel, like the ability to attend hearings and cross examine witnesses.
McCarthy’s final question was about jurisdiction of the impeachment inquiry.
“Do you intend to refer all findings on impeachment to Chairman Nadler and the Judiciary Committee, as prescribed by Rule X of the Rules of the House, or is Chairman Schiff in charge of leading this inquiry, as has been reported in the press?” he said.
McCarthy said that if Pelosi answers “no” to any of the questions he posed, she “would be acting in direct contradiction to all modern impeachment inquiries of a sitting president” and “would create a process completely devoid of any merit or legitimacy.”
Democrats have said they do not need to have the full House vote on a resolution authorizing their impeachment inquiry. Pelosi reiterated that view when asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” why she’s not taking that step.
“We could. We don’t have to, but we could,” the California Democrat said in the interview, which was taped Wednesday and aired Thursday.
Pelosi claimed that Republicans are afraid that she actually will call for a vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry because it means they’ll have to take a position on it. Although she disagreed with the assertion McCarthy has made that the House needs to vote to make the inquiry legitimate, she did not rule out the possibility.
“We feel that we’re on very firm ground as we go forward,” Pelosi said. “And we may go to that place as we go just because it’s a Republican talking point, but it’s not necessary.”
Pelosi also pushed back on the idea that a House vote on articles of impeachment is inevitable.
“I don’t think so. No,” she said. “I think that we just go forward and follow the facts. I don’t think — there are some people (who) say, ‘Why are you calling for an inquiry? You should just call to impeach.’ I don’t think that would be fair, and it isn’t worthy of the Constitution. We should collect the facts.”
Later in the interview Pelosi somewhat contradicted her own statement, saying, “The facts are there and we are proceeding to get further evidence as we go forward.”
The decision on whether the House votes on articles of impeachment will not be based on whether any Republicans support impeachment or whether the Senate will vote to convict Trump, Pelosi said.
“It doesn’t hinge on whether Mitch McConnell has the guts to really do what the Constitution requires or what the impact is in the election,” she said.
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