The House has passed the first piece of legislation on the road to Donald Trump’s impeachment. A resolution establishing rules for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry passed in a largely party-line vote by a margin of 232-196. Two Democrats joined all Republicans in voting against the measure.
Govtrack reported that Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey crossed the aisle to oppose the resolution. Independent former-Republican Justin Amash voted yes.
The resolution addresses Republican complaints that the impeachment inquiry has been too secretive thus far. The measure provides for open hearings and allows Republicans to call defense witnesses if committee chairmen approve. The bill also allows chairmen to impose penalties if the Trump Administration fails to cooperate with the inquiry.
“Sadly, this is not any cause for any glee or comfort. This is something that is very solemn, that is prayerful,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “I doubt anybody in this place, or anybody that you know, comes to Congress to take the oath of office, comes to Congress to impeach the president of the United States, unless his actions are jeopardizing our honoring our oath of office.”
Pelosi resisted calls for impeachment for several months after the Democrats won control of the House in 2018. She relented after the whistleblower report alleged a quid pro quo between Trump and the Ukraine involving US foreign aid and an investigation of Joe Biden’s son.
Donald Trump tweeted that the investigation represented “the greatest witch hunt in American history.”
The impeachment process will now continue in the House of Representatives. No date has been set for a vote to determine whether President Trump will be impeached.