House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the House will hold off on a full vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry into President Trump after centrists expressed concerns, Politico reports.
Democratic leadership sources told the outlet that the full vote has been delayed and will be “reassessed at some point.”
Trump and his allies have accused the House of pursuing an illegitimate inquiry because the House did not vote to approve the investigation. But Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday that such a vote is not necessary.
"There's no requirement that we have a vote, and at this time, we will not have a vote," she said. We're not here to call bluffs. 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."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer agreed that “the processes that are being pursued are consistent with the Constitution and the law, and by the way, Republican rules.”
Republicans seize on House vote:
With little evidence to defend Trump against claims that he improperly pressured Ukraine into investigating a political opponent, Republicans have seized on the issue of the House vote to allege that the inquiry into Trump is illegitimate.
“Unfortunately, you have given no clear indication as to how your impeachment inquiry will proceed — including whether key historical precedents or basic standards of due process will be observed,” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said in a letter to Pelosi earlier this month. “In addition, the swiftness and recklessness with which you have proceeded has already resulted in committee chairs attempting to limit minority participation in scheduled interviews, calling into question the integrity of such an inquiry.”
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone also wrote in a letter to Pelosi that the administration would not cooperate with the inquiry because it is “illegitimate” and “constitutionally invalid” without a vote.
“In the history of our nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the president without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step,” he wrote.
Centrist Dems oppose impeachment inquiry vote:
Pelosi’s decision came after a number of centrist Democrats, who have already publicly endorsed an impeachment inquiry, expressed concerns about actually voting to approve one.
Pelosi and Democratic leaders could not come to an agreement on whether to move forward with a vote because vulnerable Democrats in swing districts were “largely opposed,” Politico reported, “with some lawmakers fearing that the American public would confuse a vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry as actually impeaching Trump.”
Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn opposed the vote, as did Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, according to the report. Pelosi privately said she was “agnostic” on the issue.
“House Democratic leaders also quietly reached out to the most vulnerable members of their caucus to gauge whether they would support a formal vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry against Trump,” Politico reported. “The response was ‘pretty strongly no.’”
Some swing-state Democrats said they worried the issue would distract from “the rest of their agenda,” which has been stopped in its tracks by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.