The House voted to pass a resolution to lay out the ground rules for the inquiry into impeaching President Donald Trump, including how public hearings will proceed, how documents and transcripts will be released to the public, and who will be able to question witnesses.
The final vote was 232-196, with three Republicans not voting and one Democrat not voting.
Before the vote, the remarks from House members took a partisan tone, with Democrats accusing Republicans of not addressing the allegations against Trump, while Republicans pilloried the Democrats for carrying out an investigation in secret.
It is the first time that House members voted on anything related to the impeachment process.
Several Republicans slammed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the head of the House Intelligence Committee, for “muzzling Republicans” and not allowing the public to see the secret depositions or know who the whistleblower, who brought the complaint to light, is.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said the Democrats claims that the impeachment inquiry is about protecting a Democracy is shambolic. “Open it up” to the American people, he told the Democrats. “Just because they dont agree with the result with the 2016 election,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on the House floor, saying that this notion is not enough to impeach a president.
“This is Soviet-style rules,” he said, “maybe in the Soviet Union you do something like this.”
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attempted to invoke the Founding Fathers of the United States constitution, saying that “what is at stake is our Democracy” during this impeachment process.
“This constitution is the blueprint for our republic and not a monarchy,” she said, adding that thats “what this vote is about.”
“Our only goal is uncovering the truth,” said Rep. Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.), asking whether Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine. “We have no choice, we must continue to investigate” the allegations, he said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also invoked the Founding Fathers, citing Alexander Hamiltons worry that the House would try to impeach a president for spurious reasons.
“Why do you not trust the people. Why do you not allow the people to have a voice?” he asked of the Democrat-led House. “Has animosity risen that high?” he then asked.
“This is the moment that history will write,” McCarthy stated.
The resolution directs the House committees leading the inquiry to send their findings to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and it will decide whether to recommend moving forward with the articles of impeachment.