Impeachment is usually a solemn process. In the 20th Century, two presidents, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton have been subjected to impeachment inquiries. Nixon resigned from office before the full House could vote on his impeachment. Clinton fought it out, with the result that he was acquitted during the Senate trial and left office more popular that anyone accused of perjury and obstruction of justice had a right to be.,
The first act of an impeachment inquiry has traditionally been a vote in the full House to proceed. The vote establishes a House Select Committee on Impeachment, which then begins the inquiry. The select committee then votes on articles of impeachment, which then are sent to the full House for a vote.
The process is not required either by the Constitution or by statute. That loophole has allowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to order a formal impeachment inquiry on her authority, which means that several House Committees, including Intelligence and Judiciary, are conducting separate impeachment inquiries.
According to Twitchy, Rep Doug Collins, R-Georgia is having none of it. He has publicly demanded that Speaker Pelosi for a vote to formally begin an impeachment inquiry on Twitter.
“Formal impeachment would actually afford due process and ensure both sides are heard. If this were a true inquiry, Speaker Pelosi would allow a vote on the House floor.”
Collins appeared on Fox & Friends and repeated his demand that the matter is placed before the full House. He mocked Pelosi for claiming that she was being “prayerful” and “heartbroken” about the matter.
“If it was a true inquiry, she would put it on the floor — she’d make her members vote for it so, in the end, we would actually have a process that happened under [Bill] Clinton and happened under [Richard] Nixon, where both sides are represented,” he said. “This is just not fair. The American people will see through this.”
Conventional wisdom suggests that Pelosi is only doing an official “impeachment inquiry” because the radical wing of the House Democratic Caucus is demanding it and if she continues to be coy her speakership might be in peril. The telephone conversation between Trump and the Ukrainian president and the hearsay complaint by the so-called whistleblower is just the excuse.
On the other hand, if Pelosi were to hold a floor vote, several freshmen House members, so-called “moderates” who have been elected from Trump’s leaning districts, will suddenly be in peril of being defeated for reelection in 2020. Trump supporters are pretty sure that the impeachment inquiry is a coup attempt against a duly elected president, President Trump is pretty sure of that as well.
One of those alleged moderates, Rep Lizzie Fletcher of the 7th District of Texas, has thrown caution to the winds and has come out in support of the inquiry and, “if necessary,” impeachment.
“The facts we have learned recently are matters of utmost importance for our national security, country, and Constitution. The House should act swiftly to investigate and should be prepared to use the remedy exclusively in its power: impeachment.”
The statement has already caused pushback from many of Fletcher’s constituents and a demand by the National Republican Congressional Committee for her to drop impeachment and refocus her attention on the needs of her Texas constituents. Fletcher was elected on the promise to deal with local issues, though many have expressed disappointment at the spectacle of her apparent capture by the inside the beltway swamp. She is facing a stiff challenge by an African American combat veteran named Wesley Hunt.
The irony is that if the various House committees now examining impeachment vote out articles, so-called moderates like Fletcher will have to vote yea or nay on them on the House floor. They will be on record for favoring the removal of a duly elected president of the United States on what many find to be dubious grounds.
The other irony is that political observers think that the Republican-led Senate will make quick work of the trial, likely to vote to acquit the president of all wrongdoing. The question therefore arises, who will be hurt, the president or the Democrats. The example of the Clinton impeachment suggests the latter.