Republicans Say Impeachment Vote is a Case of Too Little, Too Late
After weeks of pressure and accusations from Republicans that her impeachment inquiry was proceeding in an illegal and illegitimate fashion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally succumbed to the calls of critics this week and announced that the impeachment inquiry would come up for a full House vote as soon as Thursday.
Apparently confident that she has the votes to stamp the inquiry with some measure of legitimacy, Pelosi said in a statement that the House resolution “affirms the ongoing, existing investigation” while it also “establishes the procedure” for additional steps toward impeachment.
“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,” Pelosi said.
But Republicans, far from celebrating Pelosi’s move, said the vote was a classic case of too little, too late.
“Pelosi announces they’ll finally vote to open the impeachment inquiry,” tweeted prominent House Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan (R-OH). “Codifying a sham process halfway through doesn’t make it any less of a sham process.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, “It’s been 34 days since Nancy Pelosi unilaterally declared her impeachment inquiry. Today’s backtracking is an admission that this process has been botched from the start. We will not legitimize the Schiff/Pelosi sham impeachment.”
Joining the chorus was Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY). “Pelosi now says there will be a vote Thu to authorize their impeachment inquiry,” he tweeted. “This should include minority subpoena rights, equal allocat. of staff, immediate release of all transcripts & more. POTUS’ counsel should be able to attend depos, present evidence & quest. witnesses.”
Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona wrote: “I’m happy that House Democrats finally decided to hold a vote to open up a formal impeachment inquisition of @POTUS. The problem they still face is that they’ve tainted the process in a way that has divided the country like no time in the last 100 or so years.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham was also among those who said the damage was already done. “A vote now is a bit like un-Ringing a bell as House Democrats have selectively leaked information in order to damage President @realDonaldTrump.”
While it’s true that Democrats have already done plenty of damage with their secretive, behind-closed-doors inquiry and leaks, this is nonetheless a step in the right direction. If Democrats are determined to go through with this charade, it should at least be done in the sunlight and the witnesses should be subject to public scrutiny. No matter what went before, this is the GOP’s chance to prove to voters that there was never anything “impeachable” about this impeachment inquiry to begin with. And swing-state district Democrats who vote to formalize this inquiry will be on record supporting this unconstitutional, undemocratic swing at the White House.
If Democrats had any real integrity, they would drop this inquiry instead of voting to push it forward. But they don’t, so this might be the next best thing.