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. It is arguable that the constitution requires a vote to start impeachment.

    The power to impeach and to conduct an impeachment investigation is given to the house in the constitution – not the speaker of some committee chair.

    Inarguably impeachment is different from other powers and roles the house has.

    As some of the courts you cited note – the house gains power/deference on some claims that it does not ordinarily have.

    If there is no vote – how do we determine when the house has these enhanced powers and when it does not ?

  2. There’s many reasons behind the Democrats not holding a vote to authorize the inquiry such as, they may not have the votes, the political risk in districts that could go either way, the subpoena power that Republicans would yield and the opening of legal and judicial pathways that could result in delays and bring the nettlesome Constitutional issues of separation of powers and executive privilege to the fore.

    The Democrats have simply made the calculation that a vote would open a Pandora’s Box of issues that would likely result in more problems than solutions. If the end goal is to politically tar the President with an eye towards the 2020 election, then their strategy accomplishes exactly that. Unless something changes in the current landscape, the Democrats will simply go straight to an impeachment vote without an authorized inquiry.

    That is why we have what is in essence an impeachment inquiry by way of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Consider the following as we have:

    – An impeachment inquiry that’s not an impeachment inquiry
    – A whistleblower who’s not a whistleblower
    – A quid pro quo that’s not a quid pro quo
    – A cover up that’s not a cover up
    – Subpoenas that are not subpoenas
    – An impeachable offense that’s yet to be clearly articulated but certain to be found somewhere (paging Lavrentiy Beria?)

    Just like the above tale by Andersen, the two weavers (in this case, the DNC and the media) have conjured up an impeachment inquiry out of thin air and anyone who questions any aspect of this is dismissively derided.

    In short, we have an Constitutional interpretation of the impeachment clauses that is as political as it is crass: impeachment, the impeachment process and anything related to impeachment is simply whatever a House majority says it is–a politician’s paradise but in complete contravention to the principles underlying our Constitution.

    This shadow impeachment scheme may have the singular advantage of being perversely brilliant in some respects but is actually so conniving and underhanded that it seems almost destined to come back and haunt the Dems.

    Let’s see what happens.

  3. No quid pro quo is required. Neither is a vote to proceed. Read the Constitution, Turley.

    1. DB Duper:

      “No quid pro quo is required. Neither is a vote to proceed. Read the Constitution, Turley.”
      Reading the Constitution is the starting point of understanding our government not the terminus. An undergraduate knows that.

      And gee David, tell us about all of your experience litigating — or even talking about — constitutional issues with someone in a position to decide the issue. Your college faculty lounge discussions don’t count, btw. You’re the epitome of “often wrong; never in doubt.”

      Hey are you really Federalpapersrevisited? Inquiring minds want to know? He doesn’t cite his sources either.

      1. mespo – technically, if the House wanted, they could convict Trump of having bad breath. How that would stand up in the Senate is another thing.

        1. Paul:

          ” … if the House wanted, they could convict Trump of having bad breath. How that would stand up in the Senate is another thing.”


          Of course they could and the Founders knew the House was the rabble end of government. As you know, the Senate was the deliberative body with presumably better judgment. That’s why they decide the issue. It’s like the kids proposing ice cream and candy for dinner and the parents stepping in to mandate the meatloaf and potatoes.

          Federalist 62: “The necessity of a senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions. Examples on this subject might be cited without number; and from proceedings within the United States, as well as from the history of other nations. But a position that will not be contradicted, need not be proved. All that need be remarked is, that a body which is to correct this infirmity ought itself to be free from it, and consequently ought to be less numerous. It ought, moreover, to possess great firmness, and consequently ought to hold its authority by a tenure of considerable duration.”

    2. No where in the constitution is the power to start impeachment delegated to the speaker or some committee chair.

      It is a power granted the house, not part of the house.

      Read the constitution.

      1. Read the very clear language Article 1, the last paragraph of section 2.

        Pelosi & her Commie Dem committees have Zero authority of an impeachment at this time as there have 3 votes in congress calling for the impeachment of Pres Trump. All 3 have failed!

  4. Off topic. Sarah Peake, a Massachusetts state rep has entered a piece of legislation that would outlaw balloons. You know, like the ones kids have at birthday party’s, and the big balloons you would see in parades. I’m going to buy my preban balloons today. Could you imagine being in jail with a couple of felons. One’s a murderer, the other one is bank robber and your in jail for possessing balloons. The left wing lunacy never ends.

    1. She doesn’t seem like a left wing lunatic. She seems like an ordinary elementary school teacher or administrator, ca. 1971.

  5. Nancy is, unfortunately, disliked by a great number of her party, and her wimpy “leadership” is one of Trump’s biggest assets. On the other hand, if she sees, as I do, the impossibility of the Senate impeaching, then her show is the only real thing going. Either way, her party is afraid that real impeachment proceedings would help Trump. He needs no help. His base is solid. Nothing can deter them, it has been shown, and impeachment only angers them and digs them in deeper. So, her choice is to really piss off Trump’s base, and some others, or do a meaningless media campaign to fool impeachment supporters who know no better. Ah, politics.

  6. The only impeachment proceeding Benita needs to participate in is her own for violation of Oath of Office and several other good and proper reasons. Pelosillyni however is doing such a good job of exposing and destroying the far left it’s as if she was in competition with the man we hired to do that exact job. Truth is stranger than friction. You don’t suppose she’s a plant from the Constitutional Center or the tea Party? Quite possible even if it occured just this morning.

  7. I believe the answer to “why?” is that the impeachment is a maneuver not to get Republicans to impeach and convict Trump, as Pelosi knows it’s impossible, but to get Democrats to line up behind Warren as the only viable candidate and hold together in case she loses. The reason for Pelosi’s forced hand is that the Democratic party is split between Moderates and Progressives who don’t see an eye to eye and have no leader, unlike Republicans where 80-90% approve of Trump. With impeachment she hopes to push Democrats in a war against Trump.

    In other words impeachment is a show by Democrats, for Democrats.

    1. You’re only starting to describe what James Freeman calls the “corrosive” nature of the Dems in general and the NYT assault on Americans

      “Corrosive” and “assault” are about right


      The New York Times and the unrelenting assault on the legitimacy of American constitutional governance.

      James Freeman

      At last night’s Democratic debate, presidential candidates kicked around the idea of restructuring the Supreme Court by adding new Justices or perhaps forcing out current ones via term limits.

      The general idea is to change the judiciary until it produces their desired political results. To his credit, former Vice President Joe Biden warned his fellow Democrats against attempting to pack the court with ideological allies, as it would surely reduce the public’s respect for legal decisions.

      But unfortunately the idea probably isn’t going away. David Leonhardt, a relative moderate among the leftists at the New York Times opinion pages, recently expressed a view held by many elected Democrats when he wrote that “the country has reached the point where once-unthinkable solutions are worth debating.” Added the Timesman:

      “I don’t like the idea of court packing, which I think could lead to never-ending escalation between the parties and the potential breakdown of the judicial system. But I also find the status quo unacceptable: A court majority of dubious democratic legitimacy that sometimes acts as a kind of partisan super legislature…
      And remember: Every 5-4 decision that breaks along partisan lines likely would have gone the other way if Senate Republicans hadn’t stolen a seat from Obama.”

      By “stolen,” Mr. Leonhardt means that in the appropriate exercise of its constitutional role in 2016, the Senate did not consent to President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland.

      And of course Mr. Leonhardt’s smear goes much further, as he called the entire majority of the Supreme Court “of dubious democratic legitimacy.” Here’s his argument:

      “Four of the nine current Supreme Court justices have been named by presidents who took office despite losing the popular vote.
      Two of those four justices were named by a president whose victory was clinched when the Supreme Court ordered a halt to vote counting.”

      He’s talking about Justices who were appointed by duly-elected Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump —and then confirmed by the Senate. To make his argument, the Times columnist appears to be clinging to Constitutionally irrelevant nationwide popular vote totals to denigrate winning campaigns by Messrs. Bush and Trump.

      It’s corrosive enough for our politics when partisans refuse to accept the legitimate results of elections. But the Leonhardt critique is also highly misleading.

      It’s true that George W. Bush won the Electoral College vote and therefore the Presidency in 2000. It’s true that in 2000 he received fewer votes nationwide than his opponent. It’s also true that in 2000 the Supreme Court ruled that a Democratic effort to apply different vote-counting standards in different parts of Florida was not constitutional, which allowed the Florida secretary of state’s certification of a Bush victory to stand.

      But the two Bush appointees whom Mr. Leonhardt seeks to smear were appointed in 2005, a year after Mr. Bush had won re-election. In that 2004 contest, Mr. Bush not only won a decisive victory on the only scoreboard that counts—at the Electoral College—Mr. Bush also won on the scoreboard that Mr. Leonhardt claims ought to count. Nationwide, Mr. Bush surpassed his opponent by more than 3 million votes.

      During the 2000s, this column’s most celebrated alumnus created the gag headline, “We Blame George W. Bush.” It was intended to poke fun at the media habit of blaming America’s 43rd President even for problems he could not possibly have caused.

      Now the left won’t even give George W. Bush credit for the votes he clearly earned.

    1. I agree please continue with the madness! Pelosi not calling it into a vote is because whatever moderate Democrats left don’t want their vote on record. It also shows how the Democratic Party is like one big Alinsky party for radicals where any method to get their way is okay because they are the elite and they know better. Forget about Trump as it’s the Democrats that are pissing off the American people! Although articles written and polls taken by Blue Church media would tell it differently. For 3 years the despite opioid epidemic, illegal immigration which is related to child sex trafficking etc all the Democrats have done was push Impeachment…oh I forgot they did bring forth one piece of legislation, The New Green Deal. Even though it WAS SO IMPORTANT that it had 96 sponsors in the House, 13 cosponsers in the Senate and 7 Democratic presidential candidates endorsing it NOT ONE VOTED FOR IT and we’re all going to be under water in 12 years. I voted Obama in 2008 and my vote (as well as 9 million other former Obama voters switched to Trump as a response to much liberalism, a weak president (just another politician) and the Obama administration being the most controlling and secretive administration we’ve had in decades (according Western Society of Vetran Journalists). The rest of these Democrats if given the power would be just like Beto using storm troopers to get assault rifles that are only used in less than approximately 4% of mass shootings anyway. These Democrats are from the school of Machiavelli, Spinoza liberalism where it’s top down pyramid with they the elites in control , paid off scientists acting as clergy in the middle with the rest of us on the bottom.

      1. C’mon now, you’re saying Democrats produced one piece of legislation, the Green New Deal? That’s the one thing that wasn’t a piece of legislation, it’s a general concept. There was a resolution to set goals which went to subcommittee but that isn’t what you said or meant. Ask Moscow Mitch how many bills he has sitting on his desk he’s done nothing with? HR1 had to do with ethics so you know he hasn’t touched that. Admit you just start making up what sounds good and hope nobody notices you’re lying through your teeth.

  8. Nancy wants this dicey Impeachment to take place in 2020 as late as possible. Are all of her Democrat members with her? After his Impeachment Bill Clinton was re-elected. Why? The people were angry.

    1. Sandra H.,
      Clinton was impeached about halfway through his second term, so he wasn’t eligible to run again.
      This time around, the impeachment chatter started at Trump’s inauguration, if not earlier.

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