In the first full vote that the legislative chamber has taken on the subject, the House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution regarding the ongoing impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Donald Trump.
The resolution was not an authorization of an impeachment inquiry, as Democrats said they had the proper go-ahead to begin it long ago, after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry in late September. Rather, the resolution formalizes rules and procedures moving forward, as the inquiry enters into public hearings rather than hearing depositions behind closed doors, in which both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been able to take part in.
In pushing forward for the impeachment inquiry resolution on Thursday, Pelosi was direct but forceful with why she felt it was necessary. “What is at stake in all this is nothing less than our democracy,” she said, with a poster of the American flag standing beside her, PBS NewsHour reported.
Republicans were adamant in their opposition to the resolution, implying that questions of impeachment were themselves done for questionable reasons. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, suggested impeachment was an effort to unseat Trump “because they are scared they cannot defeat him at the ballot box.”
The resolution passed, with 232 for it and 196 voting against. It was a mostly partisan vote, with the exception of two Democrats who joined Republicans in voting against the proposal. One conservative lawmaker, Rep. Justin Amash (who left the Republican Party earlier this year), voted with Democrats in favor of the resolution.
Impeachment proceedings will focus on a number of topics, with four House committees looking at a range of issues including Trump’s businesses and his possible acts of obstruction of justice during the Russia investigation. The impeachment inquiry began, however, after a whistleblower complaint became public, alleging that the Trump administration and the president himself sought to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless that nation’s president agreed to open investigations into political rivals of the president.