Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) voted with 193 Republicans and two Democrats last Thursday, Oct. 31, in opposing a resolution that set the ground rules for the public phase of the impeachment inquiry now unfolding in the House of Representatives.
The measure put forward by majority Democrats passed 232-196, with 231 Democrats and one Republican-turned-Independent voting in favor. Three Republicans and one Democrat did not cast votes.
The rules resolution lays out the framework for public hearings and eventual proceedings in the Judiciary Committee, which would craft any potential articles of impeachment.
Moments after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the result of the vote, President Donald J. Trump tweeted from the White House, “The Greatest Witch Hunt in American History!”
The focus of the impeachment inquiry has been on Trump urging the president of Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, as a “favor” while holding back some $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, which is warring with Russia and forces friendly to Russia over illegal occupations and annexations of Ukrainian territory.
Republicans voting against the resolution assailed the process that created it as partisan and unfair toward Pres-ident Trump. They allege the procedures Democrats plan to use during the probe fail to provide due process for the administration.
House Republicans offered 17 amendments to House Rules Committee during the drafting of the resolution. The amendments aimed to restore rules used in previous impeachments in 1974 and 1998 but none was adopted.
Herrera Beutler previously told The Enterprise, “I must answer the question: Did the president commit ‘high crimes and misdemeanors?’ So I’m focused on whether or not it can be proven that the president coerced Ukraine to influence the 2020 election by threatening to withhold aid to that country.”
To retain all context possible, Herrera Beutler’s latest public statement, posted after the Oct. 31 vote on her Facebook page, appears below.
The president’s phone conversation with the Ukrainian President and the circumstances surrounding it raise serious questions deserving of a full, impartial investigation and then airing of the facts. I will support a full and fair investigation and I ask the House leadership to change its course. Stop today’s farce of an “impeachment inquiry” and then let’s work together to create an investigation that the public will see as fair and full, with all the facts in plain view.
There is plenty of evidence to justify me calling the current House Democratic leadership’s actions a farce. The resolution before the House this week is enormously different from previous impeachment proceedings in 1974 and 1998 in limiting due process rights, fairness to all sides, and full access to information:
— The secret hearings in the Intelligence Committee will continue without the presence of the president’s counsel to question or request evidence to be admitted.
— Instead of open hearings in the Judiciary Committee where impeachment investigations have traditionally been conducted, the House Intelligence Committee, which holds its meetings in a top secret facility, will have the lead role in this investigation and is required to hold only one public hearing with a witness of Chairman Schiff’s choice, and again without the presence of the president’s counsel.
— Democratic Chairman Schiff has taken the role of an Independent Counsel in these proceedings and will generate the impeachment report to be used by the Judiciary Committee, but unlike an Independent Counsel he can excuse himself from being called as a witness and being cross-examined by the president’s counsel, which means the author of the impeachment report will not be required to defend it.
— The Democratic chairmen of the relevant committees can unilaterally subpoena witnesses, but the Republican ranking members of those committees can only subpoena witnesses with the permission of the chairmen.
— What limited rights are granted to the president and his counsel in the Judiciary Committee can be taken away at any time by Chairman Nadler.
For these reasons I did not support this House resolution and I urge the House to amend what was passed today to create a fair, full and open process where Americans of all political beliefs can have confidence that justice was served.