Pelosi Sets Date for First Formal House Vote on Impeachment Inquiry

After weeks of secrecy and selective leaking, Nancy Pelosi is finally going to allow a full House vote on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Thursday and take the process public. Democrats have been under pressure to hold a vote due to criticism from Republicans that their partisan process violated precedent and robbed Trump of due process.

Nancy Pelosi announced the vote in a Dear Colleague letter posted Monday afternoon:

This week, we will bring a resolution to the Floor that affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees as part of this impeachment inquiry, including all requests for documents, subpoenas for records and testimony, and any other investigative steps previously taken or to be taken as part of this investigation.

This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel.

We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.

This shift in strategy on Pelosi's part appears to be an attempt compel compliance of White House officials who have refused to participate in the secretive partisan investigation they've conducted so far. Democrats have previously promised that any lack of cooperation from the White House would be treated as obstruction of justice.

It marks a shift for Democrats, who have resisted for weeks the idea of holding a vote on the impeachment inquiry, arguing that doing so was unnecessary to authorize their work, and privately worrying that doing so could put politically vulnerable Democrats in a difficult position.

While this would not be an actual vote on impeachment, this still might put Democrats from Trump-voting districts in a tight spot. Supporting the impeachment inquiry could put them in hot water with their constituents. However, it seems unlikely that Pelosi would call for this vote without being confident that it will pass. The White House will also be put in a position where they may feel compelled to comply with the investigation they previously delegitimized because there had not been a formal vote on the inquiry.