Lindsey Graham Pushes House to Hold Vote to Approve Impeachment Inquiry

October 4, 2019 Updated: October 4, 2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Oct. 4 that the House “must” hold a vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry against the president, adding that Democratic members should not be allowed to hide their positions on impeachment.

“Democrat House members cannot be allowed to hide behind  @SpeakerPelosi when it comes to an impeachment inquiry of President @realdonaldTrump,” Graham wrote in a statement on Twitter. “They should–and must–vote to open an inquiry of impeachment so their CONSTITUENTS, COUNTRY, and HISTORY can evaluate their actions.”

“We need a ‘John Hancock Moment’ from House Democrats before moving forward on impeachment,” he continued. “It’s past time for House Democrats to put their names on the line as SUPPORTING or OPPOSING an impeachment inquiry.”

This comes after President Donald Trump confirmed to reporters on Oct. 4 that the White House is sending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a letter to tell her that they may reject compliance with lawmakers’ demands until she holds a vote to approve their impeachment inquiry.

“Well, we will be issuing a letter. As everybody knows, we have been treated very unfairly. Very different to everybody else,” Trump said. He added that his lawyers had never seen something that was “so unfair.”

Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry into the president based on media reports about alleged improper conduct during Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Several committees have embarked on their probe issuing subpoenas to State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. They have also conducted hearings to hear testimony from State Department employees. But so far the House has not held a vote to approve the inquiry.

In a letter to Pelosi on Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called on her to suspend the impeachment inquiry until she puts into place “transparent and equitable rules and procedures.”

He also requested a list of public responses to a slew of questions on Pelosi’s plans to hold the inquiry, including a question on whether she plans to hold a vote to authorize the probe.

In response, Pelosi shot back telling the Republican leader that “there is no requirement under the Constitution, under House Rules, or House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry.”

“The existing rules of the House provide House Committees with full authority to conduct investigations for all matters under their jurisdiction, including impeachment investigations,” Pelosi wrote in her letter (pdf).

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said on Thursday that he had filed an amicus brief (pdf) to argue that the House Judiciary Committee has no claim to grand jury information for their probe without a vote.

“House Democrat ‘investigations’ further reveal ‘impeachment’ as a sham. The House hasn’t authorized a formal impeachment inquiry, and it has no real claim to grand jury information. The Speaker’s press conferences have no legal effect,” Collins said.

Trump has repeatedly maintained that his phone call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect.” On Thursday, Trump reiterated this in a series of posts on Twitter.

“There wasn’t ANYTHING said wrong in my conversation with the Ukrainian President. This is a Democrat Scam!” he wrote.

Later in the night, Trump wrote, “As the President of the United States, I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate, or have investigated, CORRUPTION, and that would include asking, or suggesting, other Countries to help us out!”

The call prompted an alleged whistleblower to file a complaint, alleging that the president was leveraging on his office to obtain “dirt” on a political opponent—2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

A day after Pelosi launched the impeachment inquiry, the White House released a transcript of the Trump-Zelensky July 25 phone call. The transcript revealed that Trump had asked Zelensky to look into a technology firm that was hired by the Democratic National Committee, Crowdstrike, and look into Biden’s dealings with Ukraine when he was vice president. In 2018, Biden bragged that he pressured then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in 2016 to remove a prosecutor in charge of a probe of the private Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, where Biden’s son sat on the board.

Trump said on Friday that his request for assistance during his call with Zelensky was about looking for corruption rather than investigation Biden’s campaign.

“Everything, to me, is about corruption. We want to find out what happened with 2016. And, as you know, there’s a lot of work going on, on that. I don’t care about Biden’s campaign, but I do care about corruption. His campaign—that’s up to him,” he said.

“What I want to do—and I think I have an obligation to do it, probably a duty to do it: corruption—we are looking for corruption.”

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan
RECOMMENDED