House Democrats will not hold a vote to authorize formally an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday.
“We’re not here to call bluffs. We’re here to find the truth [and] to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This is not a game for us,” said Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat.
Mrs. Pelosi has long been a holdout on holding a vote, which some see as potentially endangering Democrats in swing states and districts by putting them on the record for impeachment, though all but a handful of Democrats are in favor of the inquiry.
The announcement came after Republicans spent the two-week recess hammering Democrats on the fact that their process deviated from past impeachments efforts, which all kicked off after a full House vote.
Republicans have also slammed the investigation as unbalanced, demanding that they be given equal subpoena power to call their own witnesses.
The White House sent a letter to Mrs. Pelosi last week refusing to cooperate with the investigation until she held a vote on the matter.
Democrats brushed those complaints off.
“They can’t defend the president, so they’re going to process,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “We’re not going there.”
House Democrats had been testing the waters on a vote and reaching out to members in swing states to gauge their support on Tuesday, according to a report from Politico.
While many members of the House Democratic caucus argued that the Constitution doesn’t require the House to start an impeachment inquiry with a vote, others thought it could bolster their case.
“I think it’s time for us to put a vote on the floor, a resolution for the inquiry structured in such a way that it can move forward with full power of the Congress behind it,” Rep. John Garamendi, California Democrat, said on CNN last week.
However, as Democrats went into their weekly meeting, several were ambivalent towards a vote.
“I think the way people view it and view this presidency, I think is fairly much baked in the cake. If we vote on it — fine. If we don’t — I don’t think it hurts us,” Rep. Dan Kildee, Michigan Democrat, told reporters.
The chatter over an impeachment inquiry vote is peaking on Capitol Hill just as 2020 Democratic candidates are set to take the stage in Ohio, with most of them having said Mr. Trump should be impeached.