White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement on Tuesday decrying a pending vote in the House of Representatives regarding the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Grisham claims the upcoming resolution vote is one that authorizes the impeachment inquiry, and thus delegitimizes the work that’s been done so far. “The resolution put forward by Speaker Pelosi confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote,” Grisham wrote in her statement.
Except, the House resolution is not a vote to authorize the inquiry. The investigation began in late September, when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced it. The resolution being voted on later this week merely creates rules and procedures for how the impeachment inquiry would move forward in the future, as prior reporting from HillReporter.com explained.
There are no rules in the House of Representatives, nor stated explicitly within the Constitution, for how the House may start an impeachment inquiry — a full vote within the chamber isn’t required, for example.
So what do they really care about more: having a gripe and a talking point, or having more process and transparency?https://t.co/OY871KnDhM
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) October 28, 2019
Within the latter part of her statement made this week, Grisham also complained that the president wasn’t afforded “due process” within the inquiry.
“This resolution does nothing to change the fundamental fact that House Democrats refuse to provide basic due process rights to the Administration,” Grisham wrote.
Again, her complaint is a disingenuous one: many legal scholars attest that, at this stage in the process (which is akin to a criminal investigation or a grand jury matter rather than a criminal prosecution), Trump and other administration officials aren’t supposed to play a role in trying to question witnesses in depositions or give their side of the story.
The House is conducting an inquiry at this moment. This isn’t yet a trial of the president — that occurs in the Senate, if and/or when the House determines that Trump has indeed committed an impeachable offense.
If anything, Trump has more due process rights in an impeachment proceeding than he would in a typical grand jury situation, writes George Washington University Law School professor Randall Eliason in his most recent column at the Washington Post.
“With Republican committee members present and able to ask questions at the closed House hearings, the president already has far more representation at the investigative stage than a target of a grand jury investigation,” Eliason explains.
The complaints brought forward by Stephanie Grisham and others defending Trump against the impeachment inquiry should be taken into account, but on these two issues — on declaring the president’s “due process” rights aren’t being respected, and on suggesting the start of the inquiry was a “sham” — the press secretary’s opinions are illogical and wrong.