WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday she is rejecting calls by President Donald Trump and his GOP allies to hold a full vote on whether to authorize an impeachment inquiry.
After meeting with Democratic lawmakers in a closed-door meeting, Pelosi said it was not necessary to take the additional step on a probe that is already well under way.
“There’s no requirement that we have a vote,” Pelosi said. “We’re not here to call bluffs. We’re here to find the truth to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This is not a game for us. This is deadly serious.”
Trump has vowed not to cooperate with the inquiry unless the House holds a vote to officially launch it. Democrats in turn had considered holding such a vote, potentially in case courts said such a move was necessary to compel administration officials and other potential witnesses in the investigation to provide documents and appear for testimony.
But Pelosi and Democratic leaders said they’ve been able to secure testimony and records so far without a formal vote.
Pelosi announced the start of the impeachment inquiry last month into whether Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate matters that would help him politically, including Vice President Joe Biden.
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The Constitution gives the House the “sole power of impeachment” and offers few details on how the process should take place.
But Trump and congressional Republicans have argued that the impeachment is illegitimate without a formal vote.
A number of polls have shown a shift in public opinion when it comes to impeachment, including a Fox News poll released last week showing more than half of Americans support both impeaching and removing Trump from office.
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House Democrats are investigating allegations, made by an unidentified whistleblower, that Trump used the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election.
In a July 25 call, Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter, who once had business interests in Ukraine.
Trump has argued that his conversation with Zelensky was “perfect” and that he did nothing improper.
Since Pelosi formally announced the impeachment inquiry last month, the three congressional panels leading the probe – the House Oversight, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees – have moved quickly, issuing subpoenas for documents and testimony.
This week alone, five officials wrapped up in the matter were scheduled to appear for private questioning.