Susan Ferrechio’s impeachment article, not to be confused with articles of impeachment, highlights the pickle Democrats face. Ferrechio wrote “Republicans contend Pelosi was shielding politically vulnerable Democrats when she broke precedent and announced last month that the House is holding an impeachment inquiry without the customary vote. Democrats are defending dozens of contested seats, many in swing districts that support Trump and where constituents frown on the impeachment investigations. But Republicans say the political advantage Pelosi is trying to maintain by avoiding a vote is breaking decades of precedent and is fundamentally unfair to the Republican minority and the president.”
Pelosi hasn’t held a vote on initiating an impeachment inquiry for multiple reasons. One reason is to protect Pelosi’s vulnerable freshmen. Another reason for not holding a vote is to deny Republicans the right to subpoena witnesses and documents. Ms. Pelosi is trying to railroad a president. The last thing she wants is fairness.
She also wants to everything possible to hold onto her Speaker’s Gavel. Opening up those vulnerable freshmen Democrats for criticism on a difficult vote isn’t something she’s interested in. Pelosi expressed that in a letter to Kevin McCarthy:
The existing rules of the House provide House Committees with full authority to conduct investigations for all matters under their jurisdiction, including impeachment investigations. There is no requirement under the Constitution, under House Rules, or House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry.
Actually, without a vote, the White House can ignore most ‘impeachment’ subpoenas because Congress doesn’t have law enforcement authorities. Congress has subpoena power but only for things that fit into the category of legislative purpose. As long as Congress asks for things so that it can write legislation, the courts will usually approve their subpoenas.
The minute the House attempts to become a law enforcement institution, they’re in trouble, constitutionally speaking. The Constitution assigns specific responsibilities to each of the branches. To help each branch accomplish that specific branch’s responsibilities, the Constitution gives those branches the authority to successfully accomplish those responsibilities.
As far as I know, impeachment is the only exception. Normally, law enforcement and investigations are the executive branch’s responsibility. The exception to that is with impeachment. That can’t be left to the executive branch because they’d frequently be investigating colleagues. Until Pelosi holds a vote of the entire House, the Democrats will continue getting told no.
Until Democrats follow the rules instead of making them up as they go along, we’ll have a system of madness. It’s time to stop that madness: