House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) declared Thursday evening that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is running “a sham process” by refusing to hold a vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry, and violating other precedents and rules.
Earlier Thursday, McCarthy wrote to Pelosi asking her to hold a vote on an impeachment inquiry, as had been done in previous impeachments.
Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry last week but has refused to hold a vote authorizing one, presumably because it would force vulnerable members of her caucus to take a politically difficult stand in public. Instead, she has allowed the House Intelligence Committee to lead the investigation in a partisan manner.
In his letter, McCarthy also asked Pelosi to adhere to fair practices that Republicans had observed in the past, including allowing the minority to subpoena witnesses and allowing the president’s counsel to represent him.
Pelosi responded later Thursday with a flat refusal to comply with his requests, claiming that there was “no requirement under the Constitution, under House Rules, or House precedent that the whole House vote before preceding with an impeachment inquiry.”
In a reply to Pelosi, McCarthy noted that she was violating the process followed in the impeachment investigations of previous presidents despite her promise on Wednesday to be “fair to the president.”
During the impeachment inquiries of Presidents Nixon and Clinton, the House of Representatives—led respectively by Speakers Carl Albert and Newt Gingrich—established the following procedures that are currently not being provided in your rushed process to impeach President Trump:
- Co-equal subpoena power to both the Chair and Ranking Member at the committee level;
- All subpoenas subject to a vote of the full committee at the request of either the Chair or Ranking Member;
- Providing the President’s counsel the right to attend all hearings and depositions;
- Providing the President’s counsel the right to present evidence;
- Providing the President’s counsel the right to object to the admittance of evidence;
- Providing the President’s counsel the right to cross-examine witnesses;
- Providing the President’s counsel the right to recommend a witness list
Your proclamations of fairness fall flat when you deny a process that provides it. Simply put, you are failing to meet the basic standards of due process observed by past Speakers of the House. This complete lack of a balanced investigative process underscores that there is no legitimate search for truth here—merely a political messaging campaign.
In related news, Axios reported Thursday evening that the White House will refuse to comply with any requests by the House for witnesses or documents until Pelosi holds a formal vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.