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Vote Alert: Against the sham, Soviet-style impeachment resolution

This vote was to legitimize the impeachment proceedings led by the Democratic House majority against President Donald Trump. The resolution directs the House Intelligence, Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and Ways and Means committees to “continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist” to impeach the president.

House Democrats are pursuing impeachment against Trump alleging that the president abused the powers of his office by withholding congressionally appropriated aid for Ukraine to pressure that country into conducting improper investigations against his political rival Joe Biden to benefit himself. These allegations fail on two counts: 1) It is within a president’s powers to add conditions to foreign aid and past presidents have done so; 2) There are legitimate questions surrounding the Biden family’s relationships with Ukraine and possible corruption on an even larger scale, and it is in the national interest to uproot corruption involving public figures and especially potential presidential candidates.

From the beginning, the impeachment inquiry organized by Democrats has violated the norms of past impeachment proceedings. It has largely been conducted behind closed doors and in an overtly partisan manner, with Democrats wielding unprecedented power to limit the ability of the minority to issue subpoenas to call witnesses. The White House has been shut out of the process, and Trump’s lawyers don’t have access to the closed-door depositions and hearings led by the Democrats. This resolution was offered by Democrats to answer criticisms of this process and correct claims from Republicans that the House violated norms by beginning an impeachment inquiry without a full House vote.

This resolution does not address any of the process concerns. It does not authorize an impeachment investigation, but rather refers to “the existing House of Representatives inquiry” that was never authorized by a House vote. It directs the six aforementioned committees to continue their illegitimate investigations while only authorizing the House Intelligence Committee to conduct open impeachment hearings. It sets parameters for the House Judiciary Committee to proceed with impeachment after receiving findings and recommendations from the Intelligence Committee. The rules permit Intelligence Committee Republicans to subpoena witnesses for testimony, but only after giving 72 hours’ notice to Chairman Schiff, who is permitted to reject the requests. If a request is rejected, the minority has a right to refer the request to the full Democrat-majority committee, which then will vote on the request.

Impeachment of a sitting U.S. president is serious. The American people deserve a transparent, bipartisan, and fair process when the removal of a duly elected president is within the realm of possibility. This impeachment resolution does not give the American people that fair process.

The House of Representatives voted to approve this impeachment resolution on October 31, 2019, at 11:27 a.m. ET in a roll call vote of 232 – 196.

To see how your elected officials stack up or other votes that compose the Liberty Score, view our full scorecard here.

CR position: NO

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