WASHINGTON D.C. (KDKA) — The U.S. House of Representatives voted to move forward with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Thursday’s vote of 232-196 lays the ground rules for the impeachment process. No Republicans supported the resolution.
The resolution calls for open hearings and allows President Trump’s legal team to question witnesses.
But Democrats can take away that right if President Trump doesn’t cooperate with the investigation.
“These rules are fairer than anything that has gone before in terms of an impeachment proceeding,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In a statement following the vote, the White House said it was a “blatantly partisan attempt to destroy the President,” adding that the President has done nothing wrong.
A new Franklin & Marshall College Poll shows that the majority of people in Pennsylvania are in favor of the impeachment inquiry.
Some 57 percent of voters said they supported it and 42 percent opposed it.
No surprise, local members of Congress broke down along partisan lines, just as they did throughout the country.
Republicans from this region voted against the impeachment investigation, while local Democrats voted in favor of the investigation.
From the beginning, local Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly of Butler and Guy Reschenthaler of Peters have defended President Trump’s phone call to the Ukrainian president.
Democrat U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle of Forest Hills says the President broke the law when he made military aid to Ukraine contingent on the Ukrainians digging up dirt on an American politician.
Doyle’s Democratic colleague, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb of Mt. Lebanon, says the evidence is enough to warrant an investigation, so he voted “yes” today.
But in a statement, Lamb added, “I have not made any decision about impeachment, nor will I until all the evidence is in.”
Republicans complained about the process, while Democrats say it’s as fair — if not fairer — than the process Republicans used to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1998.
“I just think more than anything else what we’re looking at is such a one-sided process that people look at it and say it doesn’t make sense to me, doesn’t line up with anything that’s happened previously,” noted the Republican Kelly.
“This is the narrative that they’ve been trying to do since the very beginning of the inquiry. The facts aren’t too good for them, so they argue about process. The reality is that 46 Republicans have sat in on this inquiry so far and got equal time with Democrats to ask questions of the witnesses.”
Under the resolution, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will preside over public hearings.
Ranking Republican Devin Nunes and their committee lawyers will lead the questioning of witnesses.
Republicans can request witnesses to appear at the open hearings and issue subpoenas, but those need to be approved by the majority.
The resolution calls on the Intelligence Committee to make its findings and recommendations public and to send them to the House Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for any articles of impeachment.
Doyle issued a statement, saying:
“The impeachment inquiry so far has uncovered substantial evidence that the President abused the power of his office, undermined our democracy, and endangered our national security,” Congressman Doyle said. “I voted in favor of the resolution establishing ground rules for the next stages of the impeachment inquiry. I believe my Constitutional duty requires nothing less.”
Reschenthaler issued a statement, saying:
“In voting for the impeachment resolution today, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats admitted that their impeachment inquiry into President Trump was illegitimate and nothing more than a partisan attempt to undo the 2016 election. This long overdue resolution does not even address the concerns of the American people. Rather, it empowers Chairman Schiff, who has repeatedly lied to the American people, to continue to lock the public out of his secret meetings until he has enough cherry-picked details to fill a biased report. While House Democrats fixate on overturning a presidential election, Americans continue to face high prices at the drugstore, roads and bridges that are falling apart, and a broken immigration system. We need to end this political theater and get back to work for the American people.”