White House: Democrats' resolution shows impeachment is 'illegitimate sham'

The White House on Tuesday asserted that House Democrats’ resolution outlining impeachment procedures proves that the process has been an “illegitimate sham” in the five weeks since it started.

“The resolution put forward by Speaker Pelosi confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote,” White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamPence names new press secretary McEnany: Prayer 'made a lot of difference' in 2016 election McEnany stamps her brand on White House press operation MORE said in a statement Tuesday, issued shortly after Democrats unveiled a draft of the resolution.

The measure, which will be put to a vote later this week, outlines the next phase of the impeachment inquiry, including setting up procedures for public hearings and releasing witness testimony.


The White House argued Tuesday that the impeachment inquiry will continue to violate due process, echoing a letter issued by the White House counsel earlier this month in which the executive branch said it would refuse to cooperate in the inquiry.

“The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee.  Even then, the White House's rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written,” Grisham said.

“This resolution does nothing to change the fundamental fact that House Democrats refuse to provide basic due process rights to the Administration,” she continued.

The statement signals that the White House will continue to rail against the process of the impeachment inquiry as unfair after Democrats vote on the resolution.

In a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Pelosi pulls vote on FISA bill after Trump veto threat MORE (D-Calif.) and other committee chairs on Oct. 8, White House counsel Pat Cipollone described the inquiry as “constitutionally invalid” and raised a number of issues with the process, including objecting to the fact that Democrats had not held a formal vote to start the inquiry as has been past precedent. The White House said it would not cooperate with inquiry, framing it as an effort to "overturn the results of the 2016 election."

The White House has also taken issue with the closed format of impeachment depositions, which continued on Tuesday with the testimony of National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

And the White House as well as its GOP allies have complained that Republicans have not been given the power to issue subpoenas.

The resolution published Tuesday outlines the format for upcoming public hearings, which will provide for extended time for questioning and allow committee staff to cross-examine various witnesses. Only Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffPelosi pulls vote on FISA bill after Trump veto threat Hillicon Valley: House FISA bill in jeopardy | Democrats drop controversial surveillance measure | GOP working on legislation to strip Twitter of federal liability protections Democrats drop controversial surveillance amendment MORE (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesSunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase Pass the Primary Care Enhancement Act Trump campaign launches new fundraising program with House Republicans MORE (Calif.), as well as committee staff, will be permitted to ask questions.

The resolution also allows Republicans to request witness testimony and documents, though they would have to provide “detailed” justification in writing to issue subpoenas and Democrats withhold the power to veto their requests.