House Democrats

House Democrats sharpen counterattacks to Republican impeachment process complaints
Democrats say this part of the inquiry needs to be conducted behind closed doors but public portions coming

From left, Reps. Andy Harris of Maryland, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Steve King of Iowa speak to reporters Wednesday after being denied access to transcripts because they aren't on the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry. Democrats have begun to change tack on their response to GOP messaging on the probe. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats in recent days have sharpened their counterattacks to Republican assertions that they’re running an illegitimate and nontransparent impeachment process. 

The rebukes represent a shift in messaging strategy as Democrats had largely been trying to avoid engaging in a back-and-forth about process, arguing the GOP was manufacturing concerns to avoid having to defend President Donald Trump on the substance of the impeachment inquiry.

Hoyer: Democrats not using inherent contempt, hope to conclude impeachment inquiry this year
Inherent contempt could be seen as ‘arbitrary’ move to enforce subpoenas, which courts are already upholding, Hoyer says

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, seen navigating through a crowd of tourists as he heads into the speaker's office last month, said Wednesday that Democrats will not use their inherent contempt power to enforce subpoenas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.”

Democratic impeachment holdout touts legislative focus over inquiry he’s not backing
South Carolina’s Joe Cunningham spent recess discussing climate change, infrastructure, trade

South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham, here examining a turtle excluder device while touring a shrimp boat in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Monday, is one of seven House Democrats not supporting the impeachment inquiry. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Rep. Joe Cunningham spent his final day of a two-week district work period here Monday talking to local fishermen about adjusting to climate change and to a conservation group about banning offshore drilling — top issues for constituents of his coastline district.

Cunningham, the first Democrat to represent the 1st District in more than a quarter century, did not talk about the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, except to answer reporters’ questions about why he has not endorsed it. The constituents he interacted with Monday did not broach the topic with him, although some complimented him generally for how he’s navigating a political tightrope.

Impeachment looms large in House Democrats’ town halls over recess
Vulnerable freshmen face protests as safe-district incumbents explain process, Trump's offenses

Rep. Max Rose was one of the last Democrats to endorse the Trump impeachment inquiry. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has been a central concern at town halls for House Democrats across the country, with both safe and vulnerable members of the caucus fielding questions from Trump’s defenders and voters who want him removed from office.

While recent polls suggest that support for impeaching the president has grown over the last three months — 58 percent of respondents to a Washington Post/Schar School poll this week approved of the House’s decision to launch an inquiry — Democrats have used feedback at town halls over the two-week October recess to assess how their constituents feel about the matter.

Pelosi, Trump engage in real-time messaging war on impeachment, legislating
Speaker says she ‘hopes’ president will work with Democrats, but Trump claims she’s ‘incapable’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined by House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump engaged in a real-time messaging war Wednesday as the president live-tweeted his responses to the California Democrat’s weekly press conference.

Pelosi, who announced last week the House was conducting an “official” impeachment inquiry into Trump, opened the press conference by talking about legislation Democrats are crafting to address prescription drug prices. She said she hoped Trump would want to work on that despite the White House threatening to shut down the legislative process because of the impeachment inquiry.

House Democrats divided on how much evidence they need to impeach Trump
After unifying around an inquiry, the caucus remains split on actual impeachment

From left, Reps. Abigail Spanberger, Mikie Sherrill and Elissa Slotkin are among the Democrats who penned an op-ed saying the president might have committed impeachable offenses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats finally agreed last week that they are conducting an impeachment inquiry, but as that probe quickly unfolds there are new divisions in the caucus about how much evidence they need to proceed with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Several Democrats believe the readout of a July 25 phone call of Trump asking Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a potential 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son; Trump’s public statements admitting to the request; and a whistleblower complaint alleging White House lawyers and officials tried to “lock down” the call transcript is all the evidence they need to impeach.

Impeachment inquiry likely to move faster than House lawsuits, making some moot
Intelligence Committee may not go to court if administration stonewalls its subpoenas

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff plans to remain in Washington through part of the break to schedule hearings and witness interviews and potentially prepare subpoenas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats expect their impeachment inquiry to outpace ongoing court cases that were once seen as critical to their investigations into President Donald Trump.

That means some of those lawsuits — teed up as major separation-of-powers battles between the House and the Trump administration — could fizzle out or end up being dropped.

‘There is no rush to judgment’: Pelosi says no deadline for impeachment inquiry conclusion
That Trump thinks releasing transcript proves his innocence ‘only goes to further show he doesn’t understand right or wrong,’ speaker says

“The facts will determine the timeline” of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she’s not set a time frame for six investigating committees to reach a conclusion on whether the House should move forward with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

“No, the facts will determine the timeline,” the California Democrats said when asked if she had set a deadline to conclude the impeachment inquiry she announced Tuesday. 

Democrats focusing impeachment inquiry on Trump pressuring Ukraine
With pivot from obstruction and corruption, Intelligence Committee steps into impeachment case spotlight

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., conducts a news conference in the Capitol regarding the transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President  Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. (Tom William/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are focusing their impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, shifting the investigatory spotlight from the Judiciary Committee to the Intelligence Committee and providing a singular focus on which they can make the case for impeachment to the public.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Tuesday announcement that she has directed the six House committees investigating Trump to proceed under the “umbrella” of an “official impeachment inquiry” led to some confusion about what had changed, given that the Judiciary Committee had been conducting an impeachment investigation for months.

Capitol Ink | Impeachment March