US House to call impeachment process vote

Source:AFP Published: 2019/10/29 21:43:40

Democrats forge ahead with public hearings into Trump’s Ukraine deals

File photo taken on Oct. 25, 2019 shows U.S. President Donald Trump speaking to reporters before leaving the White House in Washington D.C., the United States. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)

The US House of Representatives will hold its first formal vote Thursday on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, a senior aide said, as Democrats forge ahead with a process that includes public hearings.

The move marks a shift in strategy by Democrats who had insisted for weeks that they did not need a floor vote to proceed with investigation into Trump's dealings with Ukraine, a posture that angered Republicans who relentlessly attacked the process as unfair.

The chamber will go on record for the first time to "lay out the next steps for the inquiry," a senior Democratic aide told AFP on Monday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed fellow Democrats of the plan.

The effort appears aimed in part at pushing back against Republican criticism that the investigation was not providing Trump with due process.

"This week, we will bring a resolution to the floor that affirms the ongoing, ­existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees as part of this impeachment inquiry," ­Pelosi said in a letter to her caucus.

The measure is likely to pass in the Democratic-controlled House given that 228 Democrats, out of a total of 435 House members, are on record supporting impeachment or an impeachment inquiry.

The resolution, Pelosi said, also "sets forth due process rights for the President and his counsel" - steps that Republicans had repeatedly stressed were being ignored by the House's majority party. "We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives," she added.

The White House reacted swiftly.

Pelosi "is finally admitting what the rest of America already knew -- that Democrats were conducting an unauthorized impeachment proceeding, refusing to give the president due process, and their secret, shady, closed door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate," Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

Trump himself retweeted his top House lieutenant, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who said "today's backtracking is an admission that this process has been botched from the start."

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