Republicans Address ‘Political Motivation’ as Democrats Kick Off Impeachment Inquiry Without House Resolution

September 28, 2019 Updated: September 29, 2019

Republican lawmakers expressed concern on “political motivation” behind the House Democrats’ impeachment effort after House Democrats issued their first impeachment inquiry subpoena on Friday, Sept. 27.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs issued the subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and five other State Department officials after consultation with the House Intelligence Committee and the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The House Democrats requested documents related to the Trump administration’s dealings with the Ukraine government.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who is the former chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, pointed out that House Democrats started the impeachment inquiry without a House resolution.

“Why are House Democrats cutting House Republicans out of the process of developing Articles of Impeachment and not following same procedures used in Nixon and Clinton impeachments???? Seems like a political motivation not a constitutional one!!!” he said in a Twitter post on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Grassley is not the only Republican who is worried about the partisan way the impeachment inquiry was kicked off.

“Pelosi bypassed the official vote that’s typically required to start an impeachment inquiry,” House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) tweeted on Saturday, “This isn’t a serious, fact-based process. It’s a reckless scheme to attack @realDonaldTrump.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on Sept. 24 that the House Democrats formally started an impeachment inquiry on President Trump.

Pelosi made the statement after media reports claimed that Trump pressed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky during a July phone call to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. She announced the impeachment inquiry just before the White House released the transcript of the July 25 Trump-Zelensky phone call.

During a meeting with Trump at the United Nations, Zelensky told reporters he was not “pushed,” the Epoch Times reported.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, demanded a House floor vote after Pelosi’s announcement.

“Today isn’t what impeachment looks like, and this afternoon’s press conference changes nothing legally. There has been no House vote to authorize a formal impeachment inquiry. If Democrats believed the facts were in their favor, they would provide the due process that the House provided under the Clinton and Nixon impeachments,” he said.

The Constitution doesn’t say whether a House resolution is necessary to launch an impeachment inquiry. However, the impeachment inquiries against former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were launched in a more bipartisan way with a House floor vote.

House Resolution 803 in 1974 authorized the Judiciary Committee to “conduct an investigation of whether sufficient grounds exist to impeach Richard M. Nixon.” It was passed in the House with 410 in favor and 4 opposed.

In 1998, House Resolution 581 authorized and directed the House Judiciary Committee “to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton.” It was passed in a 258-176 vote with 31 Democrats joining Republicans to launch the impeachment inquiry.

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