Pelosi Again Refuses To Hold Impeachment Vote

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.), has again refused to hold a House floor vote to formally start an impeachment investigation. I have previously said that the allegation of self-dealing in the Ukrainian call could be an impeachable offense if a quid pro quo is established. However, Pelosi has undermined the position of the House by refusing to allow a vote that preceded the investigations in the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. As I stated in a recent column, this is a mistake if House Democrats are serious about pursuing an impeachment. Recently, in the case concerning Trump tax records, one of the three judges dissented on the basis that there has been no vote to establish the start of an impeachment investigation. Pelosi seems to believe that she can hold a press conference and expect courts to accept that a formal impeachment process has begun. Some judges are likely to be uncomfortable with such an immaculate impeachment.

 Pelosi announced Tuesday that she will not hold the vote despite calls from many to follow past practices.

As I have previously discussed, the Constitution does not require anything other than a majority vote of the House to impeach a president. It is silent on the procedures used to reach that vote, and courts have largely deferred to Congress to create its own internal rules and processes in fulfilling constitutional functions. Historically, a vote of the chamber as a whole was required to commit a matter to the House Judiciary Committee or a select committee for an impeachment investigation of a sitting president.

The reason for that traditional practice is obvious. Before the House takes the momentous step toward impeachment of an American president, all of its members should be on record with that consequential action. Whether it was former President Nixon or former President Clinton, House members felt a responsibility to vote on whether to start the process. Most importantly, it gives clarity to a federal court in balancing congressional demands against executive privilege.

The “impeachment by press conference” action of Pelosi is an entirely new animal. After her press conference, I told The Washington Post that this was not any recognizable process and that the approach taken by Democrats on presidential impeachment was “casual to the point of being conversational.” It is now clear that the casual approach is by design. The question is ‘why’.

196 thoughts on “Pelosi Again Refuses To Hold Impeachment Vote”

  1. Sir, the “why,” of course, is the removal of a president they don’t like because they know they can’t beat him at the polls either.

  2. Pelosi’s strategy is twofold: First, given that the Constitution is “silent on the procedures,” she is asserting the legislative branch’s right to do it as they see fit. Why should the White House or pundits like Turley dictate what she does? Second, as soon as there is a vote, the Republicans will have subpoena power. In their mendacity, the Rs will immediately try to muddy the waters with subpoenas related to their favorite conspiracy theories. She wants to continue building the case to the point where the Rs obfuscation will no longer be able to hold any water.

  3. Pelose & team decided to suspend thought of an impeachment authorization vote. Apparently, she does not have the votes to proceed. One consequence of this is that committee subpoenas do not have non-compliance penalties and only request letters can be issued. This is a lower standard than normal committee subpoenas because impeachment is not a legislative function. To rise to the penalty level which would override executive privilege SCOTUS previously ruled that a full House vote to have Judiciary begin an impeachment inquiry was necessary. Some of Pelosi’s “sizzle” just disappeared.

  4. “The reason for that traditional practice is obvious. Before the House takes the momentous step toward impeachment of an American president, all of its members should be on record with that consequential action. Whether it was former President Nixon or former President Clinton, House members felt a responsibility to vote on whether to start the process. Most importantly, it gives clarity to a federal court in balancing congressional demands against executive privilege.”

    as often in Turley’s writings, the last paragraph which sounds like an afterthought is actually the key point

  5. Power tends to corrupt. But the power in Washington resides in Congress, if it wants to use it. It can do anything – it can stop the Vietnam War, it can make its will felt, if it can ever get its act together to do anything.

    Antonin Scalia

  6. At least for the past 3 years the democrats haven’t been doing their jobs as legislators. Who knows what the hell they might have done to us.

        1. I was speaking about during Trump’s term. Why does McConnell refuse to call House-passed bills for a vote anyway?

          1. Natacha – what you are doing is called backing and hoeing. And McConnell can run the Senate just like Pelosi can run the House. Does that bother you?

          2. Why does Pelosi refuse to call a vote on the USMCA? Even at the urging of the Mexican president?

            Why? It’s called politics, Natacha. That’s why.

            1. If you claim all of these bills are stuck in a committee (which I doubt), how long should it take, anyway, and where does Mikey Pence get off calling members of Congress “do-nothing Democrats”? It’s the Republicans who are do-nothings.

              1. It does not take long to reconcile the bills between chambers but since Democrats don’t know how to communicate in rational arguments without overthrowing chairs, lobbing grenades and setting buildings on fire, it complicates things

                Theirs is about theater and nothing less

    1. Pelosi thinks she alone is the checks and balances of the Executive. In her mind her will is as efficacious as the Executive, which is why she won’t call a full US House floor vote and keeps everything in secret.

      Pelosi is a tyrant.

      Tyrannies have long lists of rights. What they do not have is structural restraints on the power of government.”
      ― Antonin Scalia

  7. Two points of disagreement: 1. There need be no “quid pro quo” to establish an impeachable offense. All that is needed is mere solicitation of assistance from a foreign government. We already have that with the non transcript. Turley has previously couched his comments as a “compelling” grounds for impeachment. Solicitation is enough. Even if quid pro quo were required, it is present: withholding of military aid appropriated by Congress to leverage the Ukrainian President into investigating Biden’s son. 2. There is nothing in the Constitution requiring a formal impeachment vote in order to investigate as a prelude to impeachment. What has been done “historically” cannot morph into a legal requirement, nor does it provide any grounds to ignore a valid subpoena for documents and witnesses. The Constitution clearly provides that Congress has oversight over the President. Therefore, Trump’s refusal to produce documents and demanding that witnesses not cooperate is obstruction of Congress, another impeachable offense.

    1. see here we have a person with little insight spouting technicalities

      “What has been done “historically” cannot morph into a legal requirement”

      because “legal” in the sense you are using it implies judicial conventions and rules

      and there’s NO JUDICIAL REQUIREMENTS BINDING CONGRESS AT ALL beyond the simple text of Contitution —



      if they don’t respect their own history, — dont respect notions of fair play– then nobody will respect them.
      if you don’t respect norms, that’s going to have an impact at election, regardless of judicial rules or their absence.

      and thus as a political enterprise the whole thing FAILS

      so go ahead: disregard prior history, disregard all notions of fair play, keep on with the persecution and see what happens in election

      1. Republicans are relying on “historically” to refuse to comply with legally-valid subpoenas for documents and witnesses. THAT was the point. There is NO law supporting their position.

          1. Congress does not have the burden to justify subpoenas that are issued pursuant to their Constitutionally-mandated oversight rights. Trump’s refusal to cooperate with producing documents and procuring the lack of cooperation of witnesses has no legal underpinnings.

            1. Natacha – it cuts both ways, if Congress cannot prove it has the power to subpoena, then nobody need show up with anything.

        1. The law to support their position is called “separation of powers”

          you missed that concept in your studies perhaps

        2. separation of powers is the law. 3 coequal branches set forth in constitution. brush up on Montesquieu for how this works in theory. reread marbury v madison and secondary sources explaining it since you were asleep the first couple weeks of constitutional law apparently

          1. Congress has oversight powers over the Executive branch. This is long standing established law as recognized by Lindsey Graham in some rant from 1999:

            “”The day Richard Nixon failed to answer that subpoena is that day that he was subject to impeachment because he took the power from Congress over the impeachment process away from Congress and he became the judge and jury.”

            1. under this excessively broad interpretation of the oversight power, any subpoena at any time directed from Congress to any part of the executive, would be facially valid.and defiance, in itself grounds for impeachment.

              this would effectively render nugatory any notion at all of “Executive privilege”
              you can’t get that from the Nixon case. that’s implicit in turley’s point.

              this notion advanced by Democrats today, is a bridge too far, and no executive of either party would actually comply with such a notion if a hostile Congress wore the shoe on the other foot.

              this point has not been elaborated much, but trust me justices wont miss it if it comes before them.

              1. The only limitation recognized by courts on the Congresses power to subpoena is that it must relate to it’s duties. If y’all F=GAFF about the constitution you’d want this JO impeached too.

                1. I’m looking forward to see just how committed you are to our constitution once the IG and Durham release their reports. Given your past 3 years of analysis failures, I probably should confirm you are referencing the U.S. constitution.

              2. You are right MK.

                Nancy is a coward for not bringing the US House Members together, vote and decide as a body.

                Nancy thinks she is co-equal to Trump and no doubt thinks she has a peenus


            2. Nancy wont bring it to a floor vote so until she does, Congress has not requested anything from anybody

              Nancy is not Congress

              You apparently supporr tyrrants. Color me shocked

        3. Actually, Natacha, without an impeachment vote, there is no non compliance penalty in those subpoenas. Which makes them mere requests, which can be denied.

          It would be irresponsible to voluntarily cooperate in this partisan abuse of power unless there is a vote, all information is shared equally with Republicans, there is public transparency, and they can call their own witnesses.

          1. You’ve been watching Fox again. These are all Kellyanne talking points. Where is the “partisan abuse of power”? The Constitution requires Congress to conduct oversight over the Executive Branch. Military aid appropriated by Congress was delayed for political purposes, and that is illegal. There is nothing in the Constitution requiring a formal vote to conduct an impeachment investigation. There is nothing in the Constitution allowing the Executive Branch to ignore Congressional subpoenas. This is just a stall tactic. Talk about irresponsibility: where does the legal authority to ignore subpoenas come from? If they have nothing to hide, then turn over the documents and appear and testify.

            You still don’t understand how these kinds of Congressional investigations are conducted, even though it has been explained to you. The depositions are not conducted publicly to maintain separation of witnesses, which is done in every trial, to prevent witnesses who haven’t testified from being influenced by the testimony of those who have already testified. It is a natural human tendency to skew testimony to agree with others, if a witness knows what others have said. Even though this is not a criminal investigation, in criminal investigations, detectives don’t have all of the suspects together in one place when they are questioned: their statements are taken individually. Also, a criminal defendant does not have the right to call their own witnesses to rebut what adverse witnesses have said during the investigation process. The same concepts apply here. This is only an investigation.

            This is not the impeachment trial. This is an investigation conducted by Congress pursuant to the authority granted by the Constitution. There is no requirement for “public transparency” during the process, and no right to call rebuttal witnesses. There are Republican committee members present, and they are also asking questions. This is just partisan blather put out by Fox. The White House wants to try to do with this investigation what it did with the Mueller investigation: get a head start on the headlines by spinning the facts and attacking witnesses. Trump has already attacked the whistleblower, even though his/her identity has not been disclosed.

  8. The Gospel reading or today’s Lectionary in the Catholic Calendar is exquisite. Considering Pelosi is katholic, all the more appropriate, given liberals make up their own religion that changes daily.


    Gospel of Saint Luke 11:42-46

    The Lord said:
    “Woe to you Pharisees!
    You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
    but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
    These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
    Woe to you Pharisees!
    You love the seat of honor in synagogues
    and greetings in marketplaces.
    Woe to you!
    You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

    Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
    “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
    And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
    You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
    but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

Leave a Reply