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 HimesMany Democrats want John Bolton's testimony, but Pelosi stays mum SEC's Clayton demurs on firing of Manhattan US attorney he would replace Democrats face tough questions with Bolton 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 John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally 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 ClintonDolly Parton remembers Ginsburg: 'Her voice was soft but her message rang loud' Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Calls grow for Biden to expand election map in final sprint 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 PelosiSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump is betting big on the suburbs, but his strategy is failing 'bigly' Trump orders flags at half-staff to honor 'trailblazer' Ginsburg 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.