Trump formally objecting to probe, won’t say he’ll cooperate

  • President Donald Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Friday. AP

  • President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci

Published: 10/4/2019 6:53:22 PM
Modified: 10/4/2019 6:53:10 PM

President Donald Trump said Friday he will formally object to Congress’ impeachment inquiry even as he acknowledged that House Democrats “have the votes” to proceed.

The White House was expected to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arguing that Congress cannot conduct an impeachment investigation without first having a vote to authorize it. The letter was expected to say the administration won’t cooperate with the probe without that vote.

Trump said the resolution would likely pass, but he predicted it would backfire on Democrats.

“I really believe that they’re going to pay a tremendous price at the polls,” he said.

When Pelosi announced that the House was initiating the inquiry, she didn’t seek the consent of the full chamber, as was done for impeachment investigations into former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

But it is underway, and with a rapidly escalating pace. Late Thursday, House investigators released a cache of text messages that showed top U.S. diplomats encouraging Ukraine’s newly elected president to conduct an investigation linked to Joe Biden’s family in return for a high-profile visit with Trump in Washington.

The release followed a 10-hour interview with one of the diplomats, Kurt Volker, who stepped down as special envoy to Ukraine after the impeachment inquiry had begun.

Trump repeated on Friday that he was pressing Ukraine to investigate corruption, not trying to undermine Biden, who could be his 2020 presidential election opponent.

As Republicans search for a response to the investigation, the absence of a procedural vote to begin the probe has been a main attack line against Democrats.

Pelosi swatted the need for such a vote back as unnecessary, saying the House is well within its rules to pursue the inquiry without it.

“The existing rules of the House provide House Committees with full authority to conduct investigations for all matters under their jurisdiction, including impeachment investigations,” Pelosi wrote Thursday in a letter to House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy after he, too, pressed for a floor vote.

Pelosi has sought to avoid a vote on the impeachment probe for the same reason she resisted, for months, liberal calls to try to remove the president: It would force moderate House Democrats to make a politically risky vote.

The White House, meanwhile, is trying to force the question on Democrats, as it seeks to raise the political cost for their impeachment investigation and to animate the president’s supporters ahead of the 2020 election.




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