House Democrats want to make one thing very clear to Donald Trump: The impeachment inquiry into his tenure in the Oval Office is the real deal.
And, so, on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House will take a vote “to formalize procedures” as to the rules when it comes to the probe, according to the Washington Post.
In a letter to House lawmakers, Pelosi said the goal of Thursday’s vote is to “eliminate any doubt” for Trump that the inquiry is legit and, that no, he may not refuse to answer subpoenas, tamper with witnesses, or otherwise try to obstruct the probe, as Politico reports:
“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,” Pelosi said in a letter to Democrats.
In response, the Trump administration said that the decision to hold a vote proved what they’ve been saying all along: that the impeachment probe—launched after evidence presented itself that Trump tried to strong-arm Ukraine’s president into helping him dig up dirt on political rival Joe Biden—was illegitimate.
“Speaker Pelosi is finally admitting what the rest of America already knew— that Democrats were conducting an unauthorized impeachment proceeding, refusing to give the president due process, and their secret, shady, closed-door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, according to the Post.
However, Democrats have long countered that any notion that the impeachment probe is a sham is a delusion on the part of Trump and his supporters. As the Post notes:
Democrats have likened the early stages of the impeachment inquiry to closed grand-jury proceedings. They say transcripts will be made available later and some witnesses will be recalled to provide public testimony.
The procedural vote Thursday will be the first formal ballot taken up on the impeachment matter since the Democrats launched the inquiry about a month ago, according to the New York Times.
House Republicans, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said they would not “legitimize” the impeachment process and vowed to vote against it as a group:
But Democrats shot back, stating, according to the Times, that they’ll simply count any lack of cooperation on Trump and the GOP’s part as proof to “bolster their case that President Trump has abused his office and obstructed Congress’s investigation.”