Intelligence Committee Democrat: 'No requirement' for impeachment inquiry vote

Intelligence Committee Democrat: 'No requirement' for impeachment inquiry vote
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesMcCarthy pulls GOP picks off House economic panel Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality House panel spars over GameStop frenzy, trading apps MORE, (D-Conn.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday that the lower chamber may vote on the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE, but stressed that there is “no requirement for it,” defending the way his party is handling the issue.

The White House and Republicans have blasted Democrats for not holding a vote to launch an impeachment inquiry, arguing it differs with the way Congresses have handled the issue in the past.

“In the previous impeachment inquiries, with Richard Nixon, with Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe Koreas are talking again — Moon is for real, but what about Kim? For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football Anything-but-bipartisan 1/6 commission will seal Pelosi's retirement. Here's why MORE, the House did hold a vote, there were rights that were afforded to the president's side and to the minority party,” host John Karl said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Why don’t you go forward and hold a vote to formally launch this impeachment inquiry and get the entire House on the record?," Karl asked Himes.

“We may,” Himes responded. “Remember, again, there's no requirement that that occur. The Republicans sort of want people to believe that that's true.”

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Himes added that federal judges have been “regularly impeached” without a vote on the floor.

“I don't much care about the vote on the floor,” he said. “Look, if there's a vote on the floor, I’ll vote for it. The point is that it's not required under the rules and there is absolutely no right being denied to the Republicans.

"When we interviewed the ambassador and interview anybody else, the Republicans get exactly equal time to ask their questions, their accounts will ask the questions, and if there is a trial in the Senate, they will be afforded all of the other due process that they have and will always be entitled to," he said.

He added that the idea that the process is not fair “is just a fiction designed to avoid the question of whether the conduct of the president is good or not.”

“Just to be clear before you go, so you would be OK seeing a formal vote on the floor of the House?” Karl asked.

“My own opinion is we ought to just take this off the table because it's such a non-issue," Himes responded. "And there's no doubt in my mind, that of course, if [Speaker] Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE [D-Calif.] does that, that she will have the votes and that will pass. But it’s not required.”

Republicans note that they would have the rights to issue subpoenas if a formal vote was held to launch an impeachment inquiry.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for months resisted backing an inquiry, believing it would be a difficult vote for centrist Democrats in swing districts. 

The House would eventually have to vote on whether to impeach Trump, and the Speaker is seen as protecting her members from another difficult vote to begin an inquiry.