U.S. House Democrats move impeachment inquiry to next phase
By Dayo Benson New York
After two hours of partisan debate characterised by blistering accusations and counter-accusations, the Democrats led U.S. House of Representatives Thursday passed a resolution by vote which formalised the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
In a swift reaction, the White House in a statement insisted the President had done nothing wrong even as the inquiry moves to the next phase.
The resolution vote which passed along party line recorded 332 Democrats voting in favour while the whole of the Republicans opposed it with 196 votes. Two Democrats broke ranks as they joined the Republicans to vote against it.
With the resolution, the House Intelligence Committee is expected to turn over its findings to the House Judiciary Committee to draft the article of impeachment if the Democrats decide to proceed. It was the first time the whole House voted on such resolution.
By implication, the resolution which is about process and procedure of the on-going impeachment inquiry, requires the House to make public all depositions obtained behind closed doors. Future depositions are expected to be in public.
There were lots of pushbacks from the Republicans in the scathing debate that preceded the voting.
They described the process as unfair and lacking in transparency.
Specifically, they accused the Democrats of turning the House Intelligence Committee to an impeachment committee with sole aim of upturning the presidential electoral verdict of 2016.
The Democrats said the President’s action that necessitated the inquiry put the U.S. “national security on an auction block.”
Characteristically, the Republicans called the process a sham, saying history would hold the Democrats accountable.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said the resolution was about letting the people know the truth, “I don’t know why the Republicans are afraid of the truth”, she added.
She called on Congress members to defend the United States democracy which the constitution demanded of them.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, while expressing his support for the resolution said no President, either Democrat or Republican, should be allowed to undermine the constitution without consequences.
House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, described the resolution as “an attempt to influence the 2020 election.”