Republican Lawmakers Say House Resolution on Impeachment Inquiry Legitimizes Unfair Process

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
October 31, 2019 Updated: October 31, 2019

Republican Lawmakers have criticized a resolution on the impeachment inquiry after it was passed in the House on Oct. 31, saying that it was a move to legitimize an unfair process.

The House of Representatives voted 232-196 to allow H. Res. 660 to pass on Oct. 31. The resolution establishes rules on how the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump would move forward, such as how public hearings will proceed, how documents and transcripts will be released to the public, and who will be able to question witnesses.

Two Democrats voted against the resolution, one independent voted to support it while three Republicans and one Democrat abstained. This is the first time that House members voted on anything related to the impeachment process.

Following the vote, multiple Republican lawmakers took to Twitter to react to the vote and criticize the process for its partisanship.

“Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff have both insisted that impeachment should be bipartisan. The only bipartisan vote today was AGAINST impeachment,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, released a statement following the vote calling the resolution an effort to “feign fairness” while the “transparency is anemic at best.”

“This resolution isn’t about the Constitution—it’s about control. It’s not about fairness—it’s about winning. It’s not about finding the facts—it’s about Democrats’ shredding procedure in order to stack the deck against a president they hate,” Collins said.

“This vote magnifies Chairman Schiff’s ability to abuse his power at the expense of truth and justice. It guarantees the president no due process rights unless Democrats are inclined to grant them,” he added.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) called the resolution a mirage providing “a false sense of fairness, transparency & due process.”

“After weeks of Adam Schiff’s secret hearings & selective leaks, the Do-Nothing-Dems are trying to legitimize the unfair inquiry already underway. This resolution is a mirage—a false sense of fairness, transparency & due process. This sham contains none of those American values,” Kelly wrote.

Similarly, Sen. Linsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote that the procedures in the resolution are “grossly different” on what was used in previous impeachment inquiries while calling the vote a “sad and unnecessary day for America.”

“Voting to legitimize an unfair process does not make it fair. When it comes to President @realDonaldTrump the rules seemingly always have to be different,” he said.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, shared similar sentiments, calling the impeachment a “disgusting side show to rip our country in half.”

“Nancy Pelosi just got her wish for a bipartisan vote on her impeachment inquiry. The problem is that the bipartisan vote was AGAINST her resolution and this disgusting side show to rip our country in half, which is being fueled solely with blind enraged hate,” he wrote.

Other lawmakers also released similar statements about the resolution.

House Republicans criticized their Democratic colleagues for rejecting 17 amendments proposed by Republicans at the House Rules Committee.

The Republican committee members “showed up at committee with less than 24 hours notice prepared to have substantive, meaningful debate on the Pelosi impeachment process resolution. They offered 17 ideas to bring fairness and due process to H. Res. 660,” the group said in a statement.

“House Rules Democrats dismissed every single idea and called legitimate questions on Pelosi’s process resolution ‘sideshows’ and that the details were ‘not a big deal.’ Apparently, H. Res. 660 is nothing more than a box to check in their quest for impeachment at all costs,” they said.

During the vote on Oct. 31, several Republicans slammed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the head of the House Intelligence Committee, for “muzzling Republicans” and not allowing the public to see the secret depositions or know the identity of the whistleblower who made the complaint that sparked the inquiry. Meanwhile, Democrats centered their arguments on the allegations against Trump while saying the constitution and oath of office requires them to carry out this process.

The impeachment inquiry is focused on allegations on the nature of a call Trump made with Ukraine in July. House Democrats have accused the president of leveraging his office and withholding U.S. aid to Ukraine to obtaining information on a political opponent—2020 Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump has defended his request for Ukraine’s assistance to look into Biden’s dealings, saying that it was intended to investigate alleged corruption, not to look for information on a political opponent. In 2018, Biden boasted that he had pressured then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to remove a prosecutor who was at the time investigating a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, where the former vice president’s son held a lucrative board position.

On Oct. 31, Trump reacted to the vote describing the result as “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!”

A transcript of the call, released by the White House on Sept. 25, revealed that Trump had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into Biden’s dealings in Ukraine but hadn’t pressured him, and there was no evidence of a quid pro quo in that call.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.