McCarthy calls for Pelosi to suspend impeachment inquiry

The speaker has "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," he wrote.
Image: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks during a weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on Sept. 26, 2019.Zach Gibson / Getty Images

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By Alex Moe

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday to suspend the House impeachment inquiry until she establishes more “transparent and equitable rules and procedures.”

“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,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday.

“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,” he continued.

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The letter is the latest attempt by Republicans to call into question the legitimacy of the impeachment inquiry that Pelosi announced last week, which centers on Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, who had business dealings in the country.

Republicans and Democrats disagree on the need for a full House vote to open an impeachment inquiry, with Republicans insisting that a vote is required and Pelosi and her caucus saying it isn't.

While the Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power to impeach a president, it does not specifically lay out how that process is governed.

In her response to McCarthy in a letter later Thursday, Pelosi wrote there was no requirement under the Constitution or House rules or precedent to that the full chamber vote before moving forward with an impeachment inquiry.

"As you know, our Founders were specifically intent on ensuring that foreign entities did not undermine the integrity of our elections," Pelosi wrote. "I received your letter this morning shortly after the world witnessed President Trump on national television asking yet another foreign power to interfere in the upcoming 2020 elections."

The speaker was referring to Trump's remarks earlier Thursday that the Chinese government should also investigate the former vice president and son Hunter over the latter's involvement with an investment fund that raised money in the country.

"We hope you and other Republicans share our commitment to following the facts, upholding the Constitution, protecting our national security, and defending the integrity of our elections at such a serious moment in our nation’s history," Pelosi concluded.

In his letter, McCarthy posed several questions to Pelosi, including whether she intends “to hold a vote of the full House authorizing your impeachment inquiry” and whether she plans to grant "co-equal subpoena power" to the ranking Republicans as well as Democratic chairmen of key committees.

McCarthy also asked Pelosi several questions about the rights she plans to afford Trump's counsel, including the right to attend all hearings and depositions and cross-examine witnesses.

“By answering 'no' to any of the above, you would create a process completely devoid of any merit or legitimacy,” McCarthy wrote.