The impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump continues. Whether the president’s actions have merited impeachment certainly deserves to be investigated and discussed. What concerns us is the furtive methods used while going about the process.
We believe impeaching a sitting U.S. president to be of such grave national concern that the American people should have access to everything that is said and done in the effort to remove Trump from office.
Trump has vowed not to cooperate with the inquiry unless the House holds a formal vote to officially recognize the process. Is he wrong to do so? White House lawyers say he isn’t being afforded due process. There is no question that so far, this investigation has been shrouded in secrecy and irregularity. The star-chamber-like inquiries and interviews House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is holding bear little resemblance to impeachment processes exercised in the past.
Those proceedings have only been invoked twice in U.S. history. In both situations, the House formally voted to authorize the Judiciary Committee to take those actions against President Andrew Johnson and President Bill Clinton (President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached). That hasn’t happened in this situation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that she doesn’t find it necessary to hold a full vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry because the investigation is already underway.
Democrats — and more than a few Republicans — in the House are happy to not hold a vote. Doing so would make each of them accountable to their constituents for their vote. That could be dangerous for representatives in swing districts. But something as momentous as impeaching a president should require every representative be on record as to why he or she believes the president needs to stay or go.
When explaining her decision to not hold a vote, Speaker Pelosi explained: “There’s no requirement that we have a vote. We’re here to find the truth to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This is not a game for us. This is deadly serious.”
Yes, it is deadly serious. And because it is of such grave national concern, we believe that every step and every decision of the inquiry process should be transparent and readily available to the American people.
— Pamela Stallsmith, Robin Beres, and Chris Gentilviso