Pelosi’s deceptive ‘impeachment vote’
Speaker Pelosi is playing word games, trying to pull a fast one on the Republicans, the American people, and the Constitution by appearing to “authorize” a formal impeachment inquiry, while not actually passing an impeachment resolution that would trigger rights for Republican House members to call witnesses and issue subpoenas.
That is why, when ambushed by NBC News, she was careful to make a distinction and say “It is not an impeachment resolution.” It was a walk-by comment:
Twitter video screen grab (cropped)
Audio quality is very poor as she was rapidly walking past microphones, so listen carefully:
Speaker Pelosi, asked by @AlexNBCNews to comment on the impeachment resolution:— Rebecca Kaplan (@RebeccaRKaplan) October 28, 2019
“It’s not an impeachment resolution.” pic.twitter.com/9A6qBan9mf
As so often is the case, Sundance of The Last Refuge (aka, The Conservative Treehouse) has done a close analysis of the details.
Speaker Pelosi is holding a vote, a resolution, to affirm her previous declaration of a House “inquiry”…. Pelosi is not delivering a House “Resolution on Impeachment” for a vote, because if she did hold a vote on an impeachment resolution, the minority and the Executive branch would gain rights therein.
Note that the final wording of the resolution is not yet available, and Sundance believes that the Lawfare Group, based at the tax-exempt Brookings Institution, is carefully wording the exact measure to be up for a vote on Thursday.
The rules for an “impeachment investigation” would provide rights for the minority and also rights for the Executive branch.
So instead of having a House vote to authorize an impeachment investigation, with subsequent rights for the minority; they are having a House vote to affirm the “impeachment inquiry” with an entirely different set of House rules that do not include rights for the minority.
Nice trick huh?
The question becomes: Why is Pelosi calling a vote now? Some analysts, such as law professor Ann Althouse, believe that Pelosi may want to end the impeachment campaign, and hopes for enough no votes from members elected in districts that voted for Trump that she can all off the quest and avoid further damage.
Betsey McCaughey, writing in the New York Post, also believes the vote is a bluff, done in desperation now that the Trump administration is successfully resisting calls for witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of dealings with Ukraine:
Adam Schiff, the House intelligence-committee chairman who is overseeing the secret hearings, gave up on calling witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of Trump’s negotiations with the Ukrainian president.
Schiff caved after a key witness actually challenged the committee’s subpoena as illegitimate and said see you in court. Charles Kupperman, former deputy national-security adviser and one of the few people who was on Trump’s Ukraine call, filed a lawsuit, arguing that the House committee can’t compel testimony for an impeachment until the full House votes to authorize subpoenas for that purpose. That, of course, is the vote Pelosi was dodging.
But Sundance believes that the reason for a vote now is that federal judge Beryl Howell (an Obama appointee) ruled that the House Judiciary Committee could gain access to grand jury material related to Mueller’s investigation (now under appeal).
Lawfare is hoping that through this Thursday vote scheme they will be able to twist the legal process into providing their House inquiry judicial enforcement authority, or punishment possible for the executive not complying with a House committee subpoena.
Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler are hoping to achieve this by bringing in the House Judiciary Committee and the judicial enforcement authority they were just granted by Judge Howell. They are also in a big rush to do this; hence the Thursday vote. The rush is because the DOJ has filed a motion for stay, as they appeal the Judge Howell ruling.
Remember, the Lawfare intent is to pierce the constitutional firewall that creates a distinct separation of powers; and the Legislative branch is trying to force documents from the Executive branch, overriding executive privilege. This is a constitutional issue. This level of impeachment intent is why judicial enforcement authority (the full house authorization to grant weight to legal subpoena power) becomes much more important.
Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler and Lawfare are attempting to create “judicial enforcement authority” without having an actual and constitutional vote to authorize an official “impeachment investigation”. That’s what this Thursday House resolution is all about.
This kind of trickery would be impossible if the media were not fully behind the Democrats. They could emphasize the illegitimacy of conflating a vote of support for an ongoing inquiry with an actual impeachment resolution that would trigger minority rights with due process protections for the president. But instead, with the media entirely corrupted by support for ousting Trump, the illusion will be peddled to the pubic and conservative dissents will be dismissed as conspiracy theories.
The question then becomes: will the federal judiciary be taken in by this deception, and grant to the combined House Judiciary-Intelligence Committee inquiry (the details of which are now being crafted) rights to grand jury material and subpoena power? If an Obama-appointee first hears the case, perhaps so. But on appeal, would the First Circuit Court and ultimately the SCOTUS uphold the deception? That seems highly unlikely.
But in the meantime, the Democrats could continue their kangaroo impeachment process without due process protections, and continue to impugn President Trump, hoping to damage his support in the election.
On the other hand, Althouse and McCaughey may be correct, and a lost vote on Thursday could end the travesty. But that would create more problems, as the majority-maker new House Democrats elected in districts Trump carried would incur the wrath of the hard leftists in their districts, endangering their re-elections and Pelosi’s majority. Clearly, Pelosi hopes the deception works first on her members, then on the pubic, and lastly on the courts… at least for as long as the appeals process takes.
Democracy dies in deception.