On June 11, 2019, the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi participated in an interview with CNN’s Manu Raju who asked pointed questions about why the US House isn’t commencing an Impeachment Inquiry against the republican President Donald Trump. One of the questions revolved around the concept that the legal status of an impeachment inquiry would strengthen the House Oversight Committees’ hand when dealing with the courts to obtain favorable rulings towards the collection of evidence.
This is how Speaker Pelosi responded, “the question you ask, do we get more by having an inquiry? Some say yes, some say no. Some say some —
Pelosi was asked at that event in Washington, D.C., if she would support launching impeachment proceedings if more than half of her 235 Democratic members did.
“It’s not even close in our caucus,” Pelosi told the moderator, CNN’s Manu Raju.”
It’s my opinion, that if Speaker Pelosi were to announce that she’s directing the House to commence an Impeachment Inquiry against President Trump, I have no doubt that with her current majority — 235 Democrats, 197 Republicans and three current vacancies –she would have enough supporting votes. (She could even allow 17 of her most politically vulnerable congressional members in Trump-leaning districts to take a pass.)
I’ve finally come to the conclusion that Speaker Pelosi has been doing the political double speak and acting out with deflection tactics as a way to appease her base because 76% favor impeachment while the reality is, that she’ll grant the House the approval to commence an impeachment inquiry over her dead body.
I’ve determined that Speaker Pelosi’s real objection against the House commencing an impeachment inquiry is that she doesn’t want to take a chance that those House Democrats from Trump-leaning states would lose seats in 2020 where the House would give up its current Democratic Party majority which means she would lose her leadership position.
As per 3/15/2019 Hill report by Max Greenwood, “The GOP has already put 55 districts held by Democrats on its target list for 2020. But Republican hopes are highest in the 31 districts that President Trump carried in 2016. That includes 13 districts where the real estate mogul bested Hillary Clinton by more than 6 points.”
Link to entire report: The Hill
The answer is yes, that if the House commenced an impeachment inquiry, their hand would be strengthened. This is because in the normal course of the House conducting its oversight duties, there is the underlying premise that these actions have a legislative intent as that’s the House’s primary role, to craft laws. That requirement is moot when the House conducts impeachment proceedings as mandated by the US Constitution and the US Courts honor this difference in legal status. The Supreme Court is barred from interfering with the House’s oversight investigations once it is covered by the cloak of an Impeachment Inquiry.
Once the impeachment inquiry is underway, the House’s Judiciary Committee’s Chairman would have almost automatic access to the FBI’s 3/22/2019 final report’s redacted Grand Jury material. The House’s Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Richard Neal would find it a much easier process to obtain President Trump’s past IRS tax records and other financial documents.
See Democracy Now article: House Judiciary Chair Pushes for Presidential Impeachment Inquiry
As per 6/11/2019 Slate report by Mark Joseph Stern, “As House Democrats remain divided over the wisdom of impeachment, Donald Trump’s lawyers have seized on their inaction to fight a subpoena seeking the president’s financial records. Their latest brief argues that, until the House officially puts impeachment on the table, the House Oversight Committee has no authority to subpoena this information. Trump’s lawyers are, in effect, daring the House to launch an impeachment inquiry—and betting that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will refuse to do it.”
The resolution passed by the US House on 6/11/2019 to greenlight the House Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce its subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn’s testimony and to seek grand jury information from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report but this is a poor substitute for the power imbued on the House’s constitutionally mandated duty to conduct an impeachment inquiry.
Here are excerpts from CNN’s Interview between Manu Raju and House Speaker Pelosi on 6/11/2019…
PELOSI: –” this is very important to our country, as to who we are. We have a situation where the Russians, by all accounts with full confidence of our intelligence community, made an assault on our election, an attack on our democracy.”
“The president of the United States calls it a hoax. The president of the United States sides with Putin and not with our intelligence. We must pass legislation to make sure they cannot do it again. And according to the FBI, 24/7, they are working to do it again. So we have a — to protect our democracy with what we do.”
“[10:45:02] And at the same time, we have to see what happened in all of that. And the question — and that’s a good question that you ask, Manu. Is it — do you get more information by having an inquiry than if you just have investigations?”
“Well, I don’t have a straight answer on that. But even if you could, you can’t do it without going to the courts. And I maintain that, to go to the courts, we have to have the strongest possible case. Iron- clad.”
“With one of the case (ph) courts (ph), the — couple of the things that Mr. Cummings has put forth, Mazars, the president’s accounting firm, they should release their documents. On the Deutsche Bank, Maxine Waters’ case. We won that case in court. Of course, they’ll appeal because they want to obstruct the American people from having the truth.”
“So it — the question you ask, do we get more by having an inquiry? Some say yes, some say no. Some say some –”
RAJU: “If a majority of your caucus — if a majority of your caucus wants to go forward with an impeachment inquiry, would you go for it?”
PELOSI: “There’s not — it’s not even close in our caucus –”
RAJU: But eventually, if (ph) this (ph) —
PELOSI: — “about (ph) — well, you know what, why are we speculating on hypotheticals? What we’re doing is winning in court. We won a victory, getting the documents from the Justice Department today, for fear of further going to court. Although we’re still going to hold the attorney general in contempt today.”
And (ph) the path that we are on is a path that I think —
PELOSI: — “as much (ph) — nothing as divisive in our country, in my view, than impeachment. Our founders gave us so much to be grateful for. They were a blessing intellectually, in values and all the rest. Thank God they made our Constitution amendable. They had that wisdom as well.”
“But they gave us guidance in this way. They said, “E pluribus unum.” From many, one. They couldn’t imagine how many we would become or how different we would be from each other. But they knew we had to be one.”
“So we’re trying to make decisions as we go forth that are unifying, not dividing.”
PELOSI: “As long as you keep getting more information to build your case, you have -“-
RAJU: “Jerry Nadler said last week (ph) –”
PELOSI: — “a responsibility to do that.”
RAJU: “Last week, Jerry Nadler said that impeachment inquiry, it may come to that. You’ve said in the past, there’s (ph) not a path to impeachment. Are you still — how do you reconcile those two things?”
PELOSI: “But it’s not off the table. You can’t — I don’t think you should impeach for political reasons and I don’t think you should not impeach for political reasons. It’s not about politics. It’s not about Democrats and Republicans. It’s not about partisanship. It’s about patriotism to our country.”
“It’s upholding the Constitution of the United States. If, in fact, the executive branch can say, “You can never have oversight over us, you have destroyed the system of checks and balances,” which is the wisdom and the heart of our Constitution.”
“And if you go down that path and you look to the Bill of Rights and the assaults that they make on the press, et cetera, then you are undermining the Constitution, not honoring your oath of office to support and defend. And part of all of that is, again, our responsibility, our oath of office.”
“And it’s not about Congress. It’s about the American people. We’re about — we are representatives of the American people who deserve to know the truth.”
RAJU:” Before we move on to the other issues, a very quickly though. But if you really believe the president may have committed crimes in office, isn’t it your obligation to mount an impeachment inquiry?”
PELOSI: “My obligation is to do whatever we do in the most effective way possible.”
RAJU: “Then you believe he committed crimes in office?”
PELOSI: “I think it’s — the Mueller report very clearly spells out at least 10 or 11 instances of obstruction of justice. But I’m not here to have that discussion here. That’s for the committees.”
“We have six committees that work on this, one doing taxes, Ways and Means Committee, Maxine Waters. Financial Services, Jerry Nadler. Judiciary, Elijah Cummings. The Government Oversight Committee, Eliot Engel. Foreign Affairs Committee, they’re all doing their work very well. And I believe in the committee system and it will bubble up from there.
The following 6/11/2019 Hill report, Pelosi: House Democrats ‘not even close’ to backing impeachment” by Scott Wong reflects the above CNN transcript:
“Pelosi was asked at an event in Washington, D.C., if she would support launching impeachment proceedings if more than half of her 235 Democratic members did.
It’s not even close in our caucus,” Pelosi told the moderator, CNN’s Manu Raju.”
“Why are we speculating on hypotheticals?” she asked. “What we’re doing is winning in court. We won a victory getting the documents from the Justice Department today for fear of further going to court.”
“The Speaker, who lived through former President Nixon’s impeachment and served in Congress during former President Clinton’s, has warned that moving to impeach Trump would rip the country apart. And senior Democrats say it could backfire politically as Democrats try to hold the House and take back the Senate and White House.”
“There is nothing as divisive in our country, in my view, than impeachment,” Pelosi said.”
“Instead, Pelosi said House Democrats would methodically continue their investigations into the Trump administration and his businesses. Once they have more evidence, Democrats will determine whether to move forward on impeachment.”
“It’s not off the table,” Pelosi said. ”
“Facing Pelosi opposition, Nadler says he won’t “publicly” say he’s for an impeachment inquiry and that “all options are on the table.” But in an exchange with me earlier, he said that congressional power is “at its zenith” in court when there’s an impeachment inquiry.”
As per April 9, 2019 Hill report, “Grand jury material becomes key battle-line in Mueller report fight” by Morgan Chalfant and Olivia Beavers, “In general, the government takes a pretty robust view of that sort of thing,” said Jack Sharman, a white-collar defense attorney and former special counsel to Congress during the Whitewater investigation. “They don’t want you to know about the documents presented to the grand jury witnesses any more than they want you to see what the grand jury says.”
“Nadler has signaled he’s willing to go to court to fight for the release of grand jury material, saying Congress is entitled to it in his panel’s efforts to investigate President Trump and his administration.”
“He and other Democrats have argued that Barr is straying from the norm by denying these materials, pointing to past precedents such as the Watergate investigation under the Nixon administration and the Whitewater probe during the Clinton administration.”
“They argue that those two independent counsels sought to make public grand jury information by going to court, something they note Barr is refusing to do.”
“Every other attorney general in his position has gone to court to request that the material be turned over in its unredacted entirety to Congress,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). “So he’s completely rewritten the role of the attorney general here. He essentially wants to be judge, jury, executioner and Congress all bundled up into one.”
“However, Republicans say Nadler is out of line, arguing he would need to launch an official impeachment inquiry in order to get his hands on the grand jury materials.”