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Politics 3 takeaways from the House’s impeachment inquiry vote

21:20  31 october  2019
21:20  31 october  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Democrats zero in on 'abuse of power' in impeachment inquiry

  Democrats zero in on 'abuse of power' in impeachment inquiry Pelosi is said to favor one sweeping charge related to Ukraine, but there's some debate about the need for additional charges.As Democrats continue closed-door depositions with critical witnesses and prepare to move to the next phase of public hearings, they are wrestling over which elements and evidence to bring in, which to leave out. The goal is to explain to the public the reasoning and relevance of any eventual impeachment charges.

Almost all House Democrats and one former Republican who has been open to impeachment , Justin Amash (I-Mich.), voted for it. But it’s the closest thing we’ve got. So here are some takeaways from both sides’ talking points about whether to continue the House ’ s impeachment inquiry .

Almost all House Democrats and one former Republican who has been open to impeachment , Justin Amash (I-Mich.), voted for it. But it’s the closest thing we’ve got. So here are some takeaways from both sides’ talking points about whether to continue the House ’ s impeachment inquiry .

Thursday’s vote in the House of Representatives formalizing the rules for the rest of the impeachment inquiry didn’t change much. When there are public hearings in the next few weeks, Republicans will have some leverage to call and cross-examine witnesses. But this is still a Democrat-driven process.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Leader of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel (D-NY) speak during a media briefing after a House vote approving rules for an impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 31, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts © Reuters Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Leader of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel (D-NY) speak during a media briefing after a House vote approving rules for an impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 31, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

A Divided House Endorses Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump, Moving to Public Phase

  A Divided House Endorses Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump, Moving to Public Phase A bitterly divided House of Representatives voted on Thursday to endorse the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Trump.WASHINGTON — A bitterly divided House of Representatives voted on Thursday to endorse the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Trump, in a historic action that set up a critical new public phase of the process and underscored the toxic political polarization that serves as its backdrop.

Almost all House Democrats and one former Republican who has been open to impeachment , Justin Amash (I-Mich.), voted for it. But it’s the closest thing we’ve got. So here are some takeaways from both sides’ talking points about whether to continue the House ’ s impeachment inquiry .

Thursday’ s vote in the House of Representatives formalizing the rules for the rest of the impeachment inquiry didn’t change much. This wasn’t quite a proxy vote for impeachment , since we don’t yet know all the evidence or what articles of impeachment will be written up against the president.

It also didn’t reveal any interesting partisan splits. Almost all House Democrats and one former Republican who has been open to impeachment, Justin Amash (I-Mich.), voted for it. All Republicans voted against it.

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What we did learn Thursday is how both sides might argue for or against President Trump’s impeachment. 

This wasn’t quite a proxy vote for impeachment, since we don’t yet know all the evidence or what articles of impeachment will be written up against the president. But it’s the closest thing we’ve got. So here are some takeaways from both sides’ talking points about whether to continue the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Analysis: House Impeachment Inquiry Vote Underscores Intense Polarization

  Analysis: House Impeachment Inquiry Vote Underscores Intense Polarization No Republicans and only two Democrats broke ranks, a sign that the inquiry is likely to remain a highly partisan affair.Not a single House Republican on Thursday joined Democrats in supporting a resolution outlining the parameters for the next stage of impeachment proceedings, despite having demanded such a vote for weeks. Just two Democrats broke from their party to oppose the investigation.

Thursday’ s vote in the House of Representatives formalizing the rules for the rest of the impeachment inquiry didn’t change much. This wasn’t quite a proxy vote for impeachment , since we don’t yet know all the evidence or what articles of impeachment will be written up against the president.

Almost all House Democrats and one former Republican who has been open to impeachment , Justin Amash (I-Mich.), voted for it. But it’s the closest thing we’ve got. So here are some takeaways from both sides’ talking points about whether to continue the House ’ s impeachment inquiry .

Republicans’ process argument is fading

Now that Republicans technically got what they wanted, a vote on whether to continue the impeachment inquiry, even Trump has tacitly acknowledged it becomes much more difficult to argue the inquiry is illegitimate by these standards. Here he is a day before the vote urging Republicans to argue he’s innocent of the allegations against him, rather than attack the impeachment process.

It was already a somewhat thin argument that the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate because House Democrats are holding closed-door depositions (which are normal for such a sensitive investigation) and because they didn’t hold a vote (they just did — and Republicans voted against it).

Pelosi Sets a High Bar for Impeachment Inquiry: ‘Ironclad’ Proof

  Pelosi Sets a High Bar for Impeachment Inquiry: ‘Ironclad’ Proof House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offers her most expansive view of the impeachment probe to date.Pelosi said the partial transcript of Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stood in sharp contrast to the less clear-cut allegations in Robert Mueller’s special counsel report. That phone call — where Trump is heard urging Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden — was a “bombshell” that peeled away her initial reluctance to take the politically divisive step.

The House Intelligence Committee released a sweeping impeachment report Tuesday that asserts President Donald Trump misused his office to pressure Ukraine into 3 , 2019. The House released a sweeping impeachment report outlining evidence of what it calls Trump’ s wrongdoing toward Ukraine.

The White House decided against cooperating with the inquiry , repeatedly calling it a sham and refusing to provide documents or testimony. Late Friday afternoon, White House counsel Pat Cipollone signaled that Trump wouldn’t be sending legal representation on Monday, quoting Trump on the effort

There is some merit to the GOP argument that House Democrats are selectively leaking damaging testimony about Trump. “We’re already scarred because they’ve done all these things in a shady manner and then put them out to the press the way they wanted,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Fox Business on Thursday.

Slideshow by photo services

But Republicans on the three committees in these depositions could do the reverse, by leaking information that exonerates Trump. It seems likely that isn’t happening not because of their profound respect for the testimony, but because to date there hasn’t been information exonerating Trump.

Rather, people in Trump’s administration are alleging at a minimum that they were uncomfortable with his politicization of Ukrainian foreign policy, and at worst thought it threatened national security.

In its place: An overreach argument leveled at Democrats

“Democrats are trying to impeach the president because they are scared they can’t defeat him at the ballot box,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in a speech before the vote.

“Every American can see this for what it is: an attempt to remove a duly-elected president for strictly political reasons by a strictly partisan, illegitimate process,” said Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, in a statement.

Compared to the process argument, this feels a little more politically resonant. It plays off voters’ hesitancy to impeach a president at any time, let alone now. It is unprecedented in modern times to have an impeachment inquiry abut a presidential election.

Even though polls have consistently shown a majority of Americans support the impeachment inquiry, a New York Times-Siena College poll out this week showed that in six states that narrowly voted for Trump in 2016, voters don’t support impeachment. It’s possible that impeaching Trump especially before an election is a step too far for swing voters.

But to make this argument, Trump’s Republican defenders in Congress also need to demonize Democrats. And they risk taking it too far.

On Thursday, the No. 2 House Republican, Steve Scalise (La.), brought with him to the House floor a printout “37 days of Soviet-Style impeachment proceedings,” with a picture of the Kremlin in the background and the hammer and sickle superimposed.

It’s no secret Democrats in Congress don’t like Trump, but are voters really going to think they have undermined the Constitution and turned America into an authoritarian state with this impeachment inquiry?

But when the president is saying stuff like “Greatest Witch Hunt in American History,” his supporters in Congress probably feel like they have to match his hyperbole.

Democrats are using absolutist language, too

This impeachment inquiry crystallizes the problem for Democrats ever since Trump got elected: They do think he’s bad for democracy. Not all of them supported starting up the process for impeachment — that came after these Ukraine allegations, where some people in Trump’s own administration thought his ideas were a threat to America’s interests.

But with Republicans in Congress and Republican voters so firmly in line with Trump, this becomes a largely one-party effort to investigate the president. How do they convince the American public they’re doing the right thing, rather than the politically obvious thing? On Thursday we got a look at their strategy: They’re trying to frame this impeachment in somber, existential terms.

“What is at stake in all of this? It’s nothing less than our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said before the vote.

That’s a pretty intense thing to say, even abstractly, about the fairly elected, sitting president of the United States. But as Democrats move forward to the next phase of the impeachment inquiry, they’re saying it.

Analysis: Only 3 Senate Republicans aren't defending Trump from the impeachment inquiry. Here's why. .
Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have refused to sign a resolution denouncing the House Democratic effort.While a resolution denouncing the House Democrats' fast-moving probe hasn't received a vote, GOP Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska declined to sign on as co-sponsors — the only ones out of 53 Republicans — leaving the door ajar to the possibility that they could vote to convict President Donald Trump if impeachment moves to its trial phase in the Senate.

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