Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently announced a formal inquiry to impeach President Trump, but even casual observers know this was not actually the beginning of impeachment in the House of Representatives. Despite her sanctimony, this was merely an expansion of the unauthorized, de facto impeachment hearings that have thus far been under the purview of House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.
Since taking command of their new majority in January, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have held numerous high-profile hearings designed to cast a shadow over the Trump White House. Their actions escalated in the weeks leading up to Pelosi’s announcement. In fact, Nadler repeated publicly that he is overseeing impeachment – not inquiries, rather impeachment.
The problem for Nadler: he has no authority to launch any formal impeachment proceedings without a vote by the full House of Representatives. He has persisted because it offers substantial party benefits without the political cost of launching a formal impeachment proceeding. He has stated the terminology used does not matter, but everything matters when we are contemplating something as serious as impeachment. Due to his careless disregard for historical precedent and his inept leadership, I have issued a resolution to remove Nadler from his role as chairman and put an end to the unconstitutional inquisition he has overseen.
Nadler and Pelosi understand the political risks of making this inquisition “official” with a vote. Once formal impeachment proceedings occur, the minority party will be empowered to issue subpoenas under protocol established by the Nixon and Clinton impeachment resolutions. Were the Democrats to withhold that authority from Republicans, there would be a high political price to pay. They also recognize the vulnerability of certain members of their caucus. Thirty-one House Democrats represent districts Trump won in 2016. Voting to impeach a president their constituents support will be a difficult decision for these members.
Despite much bravado by Democrats, no announcement on a formal vote in the House has been made. Ironically, the reasons Democrat leaders do not want to face a vote are the very reasons we must hold one. Rather than carrying on with unauthorized hearings in the Judiciary Committee, a vote to proceed would jeopardize their caucus. Republicans deserve the opportunity to issue subpoenas to relevant witnesses. Americans deserve to know where their representative in Congress stands on impeachment and a vote is the best way to get us on record and put all these concerns to rest.
We won’t receive the answers to any of these questions under the status quo in the Judiciary Committee, which is why Nadler needs to go. His partisan sham is an overt attempt to undo the 2016 election and prevent a Trump victory in 2020.