Mike Pence Won’t Participate In ‘Purported’ Impeachment Inquiry, Which Is Fine, Because He Probably Doesn’t Know Much Anyway

Mike Pence would be happy to “work with [House Democrats] in a manner consistent with well-established bipartisan constitutional protections” if and when the three committees conducting an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump “return to the regular order of legitimate legislative oversight”, but until then, Mike is going to have to sit this one out, Matthew Morgan, his counsel, said Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel and Elijah Cummings sent Pence a letter requesting all manner of documents related to the administration’s efforts to compel the government of Ukraine to open investigations into Trump’s political rivals. The request came days after senator Bob Menendez asked Pence if the vice president played a role in trying to advance Trump’s personal agenda in Ukraine.

“Trump instructed Pence not to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in May when Ukraine’s new leader was seeking recognition and support from Washington,” the Washington Post wrote last week, citing officials. “Months later, the same sources said, the president used Pence to tell Zelensky that US aid was still being withheld while demanding more aggressive action on corruption.”

Read more: There May Be A Subpoena In Mike Pence’s Future

Morgan’s letter to House Democrats effectively suggests that if Nancy Pelosi takes a full House vote on authorizing an impeachment inquiry, Pence will cooperate with regard to “information solely in the custody of the Office of the Vice President”.

Of course, since nobody ever tells Mike anything, that’s probably not going to be very useful anyway.

Jokes aside, Morgan uses derisive terminology to refer to the “impeachment inquiry” (always in scare quotes) throughout the letter, calling it a “purported” investigation and a “self-declared” probe.

At one point, he tries to turn a declarative into an interrogative to disastrous grammatical effect:

Instead of being accountable to the American people and casting a vote to authorize what all agree is a substantial constitutional step, you have instead attempted to avoid this fundamental requirement by invoking the Speaker’s announcement of an “official impeachment inquiry” at a press conference?

That is not a question, despite Matthew’s attempt to make it one. But if he wants to insist that it is, the answer is “yes”.

Despite Morgan’s implicit accusations and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s silly screed (delivered to the House last week) there is no Constitutional requirement to hold a floor vote and it’s not required by House rules either. That’s why Republicans are powerless to stop this train.

For Pelosi, one worry is that holding a full vote would jeopardize the political fate of vulnerable Democrats in pro-Trump districts. So, from a strategic perspective, the Speaker doesn’t think the trade off is worth it – yet. But it might be eventually, because while it could imperil some vulnerable Democrats, it would also undermine Republican claims that the inquiry isn’t legitimate.

In any event, Pelosi isn’t moving forward on it right now.

“There is no requirement that we have a vote. So at this time, we will not be having a vote,” she told reporters in Washington on Tuesday night.

As for Mike Pence, well, he’s at risk of being accused of obstruction.


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3 thoughts on “Mike Pence Won’t Participate In ‘Purported’ Impeachment Inquiry, Which Is Fine, Because He Probably Doesn’t Know Much Anyway

  1. While not exactly on-topic, I was hoping to find the first time that trump used witch hunt, but just came up with the following things. I was also just envisioning trump on the witness stand, being questioned about witch hunts and his insane dementia reply / rant, which would remind movie fans of the ending in A Few Good Men: ” Col. Nathan Jessup: “You can’t handle the truth!”.

    2017 – President Trump is not the first president to believe he was the victim of a political witch hunt. Former president Richard Nixon also used that

    ==> There is a Twitter account that tabulates how many times the president has used the word. It’s called @WitchHuntTweets. That’s how often he uses it.

    (As of Sunday, Mr. Trump had used the phrase 262 times in tweets, according to the account.)

    ==> Whatever Donald Trump does, Richard Nixon usually did it first and better.

    Nixon got a foreign government’s help to win a presidential election over 50 years ago. Trump’s imitation of the master has proven far from perfect, and that may cost him the presidency.

    When Nixon solicited foreign interference on behalf of his presidential campaign, he was careful to use a cutout, a go-between whose clandestine activities could, if exposed, be plausibly denied. Anna Chennault, a conservative activist and Republican fundraiser, acted as Nixon’s secret back channel to the government of South Vietnam.


  2. The republicans 2015 power grab is coming back to bite them in the ass. The only reason there was a vote on a formal impeachment inquiry for Nixon and Clinton was that they needed it in order to get subpoena power for the committees. In 2015 the republicans changed the rules giving majority committee heads the power of subpoena all the time. They were warned that they would come to regret that power grab.

  3. I guess I can understand that obstruction is an evolving process and building that case is actually smart. In addition, after reading that stuff last night about impeachment, it was highly important that the Mueller was allowed to set a trap with having a grand jury:

    On August 3, 2017, Mueller empaneled a grand jury in Washington, D.C., as part of his investigation. The grand jury has the power to subpoena documents, require witnesses to testify under oath, and issue indictments for targets of criminal charges if probable cause is found.

    It is interesting in retrospect, that everyone thought Mueller totally blew his job and looked dumb, trump was very happy and the GOP looked away at Mueller, like it was a done deal, but now, it’s easy to see how the obstruction charges will dovetail with the Mueller Report

    Re: “A court petition brought by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday–to obtain grand jury material from the Mueller investigation–brings these issues to the fore. ”

    Grand jury materials are generally kept completely secret, in accordance with Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Those same rules, however, include a list of explicit exceptions. One of those exceptions authorizes courts to order the release of grand jury materials “preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding.”

    What is a “judicial proceeding”? Does impeachment count?

    The McKeever court provided an unusually lengthy footnote, however, reminding Congress of another route to obtaining such information: its own Article I powers as a judicial or quasi-judicial body via impeachment. The court discussed an important Watergate-era precedent also decided by the DC Court of Appeals–Haldeman v. Sirica, 501 F.2d 714 (D.C. 1974)–which permitted the transmission of a grand jury report to the House Judiciary Committee in the course of its impeachment inquiry into President Richard Nixon. The McKeever court read Haldeman as firmly “fitting within the Rule 6(e) exception for ’judicial proceedings.’”

    Then today, we see this:

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Wednesday ruled out Democrats using inherent contempt to enforce subpoenas and became the most senior Democrat to say the chamber should wrap up its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump by the end of 2019.

    “We made a judgment that we want the American people to understand that we are pursuing not arbitrary action but considered and thoughtful action,” the Maryland Democrat said. “I don’t mean to say by that that inherent contempt is by definition arbitrary but it may be perceived as arbitrary.”

    … they’ve warned noncompliance would be considered as evidence of obstruction of Congress, a potential article of impeachment.


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