Last week, Judge Beryl Howell — the chief federal judge in Washington — ruled (.pdf) that the impeachment inquiry Democrats have launched is valid even though the House hasn’t taken a formal vote on it.
As Politico reported, Judge rules DOJ must turn over Mueller grand jury material to House Democrats:
The decision rejects specious arguments by DOJ and congressional Republicans that a formal vote is necessary to launch impeachment proceedings.
“Even in cases of presidential impeachment, a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry,” Howell determined, dismissing GOP arguments as unsupported.
Republicans had claimed that the House Judiciary Committee cannot begin impeachment proceedings without a formal vote of the House — and that even if it could, Pelosi is not empowered to simply grant that authority to the Judiciary Committee. But Howell rejected the arguments out of hand.
“These contentions are, at worst, red herrings and, at best, incorrect,” ruled Howell, an appointee of former President Barack Obama.
Judge Howell’s ruling destroyed the basis for Senator Lindsey “Stonewall” Graham’s meaningless non-binding resolution whining about the impeachment process in the House. Her well articulated opinion made “Stonewall” and his fellow Republican senators look like fools (because they are).
On the heels of this court ruling affirming that the House does not need a floor vote to launch an impeachment inquiry, Democrats will hold a floor vote this week anyway for the next phase of the impeachment process. So STFU whiny Republicans!
Talking Points Memo reports, You Asked For It, GOP: Full House Will Vote On The Process For Impeachment:
A resolution on the impeachment process will be considered by the Rules Committee on Wednesday, the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), announced Monday. The text of the resolution has not been released in full yet.
“As committees continue to gather evidence and prepare to present their findings, I will be introducing a resolution to ensure transparency and provide a clear path forward, which the Rules Committee will mark up this week,”McGovern said in his announcement.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a letter to her caucus that the resolution “establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel.”
She said the vote will happen this week, reportedly as soon as Thursday.
The House Rules’ summary of the coming resolution described it as, “Directing certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes.”
The White House and Republicans in Congress have claimed that the House impeachment inquiry — which is looking at President Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign aimed at smearing is political rivals — is illegitimate because it was not opened with a full House vote.
A federal judge dismantled their claim that a floor vote was necessary to launch an impeachment probe, in a court decision Friday that ordered the Justice Department to produce for the House the grand jury material used in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
Pelosi in her letter said the GOP argument was “apparently” made up “out of whole cloth” … “in order to justify its unprecedented cover-up, withhold key documents from multiple federal agencies, prevent critical witnesses from cooperating, and defy duly authorized subpoenas.”
“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,” she said.
Read the full Pelosi letter below:
Dear Democratic Colleague,
For weeks, the President, his Counsel in the White House, and his allies in Congress have made the baseless claim that the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry “lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding.” They argue that, because the House has not taken a vote, they may simply pretend the impeachment inquiry does not exist.
Of course, this argument has no merit. The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” Multiple past impeachments have gone forward without any authorizing resolutions. Just last week, a federal court confirmed that the House is not required to hold a vote and that imposing such a requirement would be “an impermissible intrusion on the House’s constitutional authority.” More than 300 legal scholars have also refuted this argument, concluding that “the Constitution does not mandate the process for impeachment and there is no constitutional requirement that the House of Representatives authorize an impeachment inquiry before one begins.”
The Trump Administration has made up this argument – apparently out of whole cloth – in order to justify its unprecedented cover-up, withhold key documents from multiple federal agencies, prevent critical witnesses from cooperating, and defy duly authorized subpoenas.
This week, we will bring a resolution to the Floor that affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees as part of this impeachment inquiry, including all requests for documents, subpoenas for records and testimony, and any other investigative steps previously taken or to be taken as part of this investigation.
This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel.
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.
Nobody is above the law.