House votes to open public Trump inquiry: Impeachment update

Billy House

The House voted Thursday to adopt rules for the next, more public phase of the impeachment investigation. President Donald Trump and his lawyers would be allowed to participate more in the next steps of the inquiry.

Also, the House committees conducting the inquiry will hear behind closed doors from Timothy Morrison, who resigned a day earlier as the National Security Council’s senior director for Europe and Russia.

Here are the latest developments:

White House Says Trump Did Nothing Wrong’ (11:41 a.m.)

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.

Minutes after the House vote, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying Trump “has done nothing wrong and the Democrats know it.”

“Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump,” she said. “It hurts the American people.” She said Democrats are trying to “destroy” the president.

Grisham said that the impeachment inquiry is proceeding at the expense of other priorities in the House, including lowering drug costs and passing a U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Two Democrats Break Ranks on Inquiry Vote (11:35 a.m.)

Two Democrats, Collin Petersonof Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, broke ranks with their party and voted with Republicans against the rules for the inquiry.

Independent House member Justin Amash of Michigan, who quit the Republican Party earlier this year, voted with Democrats for the inquiry. – Billy House, Erik Wasson

House Votes to Open Public Trump Inquiry (11:29 a.m.)

This image from video made available by House TV on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019 shows the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington and the vote count to approve the rules for its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

The House adopted the resolution that puts Trump on the path toward impeachment. The 232-196 vote fell along sharply partisan lines.

All signs point to the House taking a formal vote on articles of impeachment on Trump, possibly before the end of the year. However, it would take a two-thirds majority vote in the Republican-controlled Senate to convict him, and therefore remove him from office, an outcome viewed at this point as highly unlikely.

The resolution doesn’t establish a deadline for the investigation. It directs six House committees to continue investigating different aspects of Trump’s administration, business and associates, with the Intelligence Committee leading the probe of the Ukraine-related allegations. Public hearings could begin in two weeks.

House Has Votes to Back Probe; Vote Ongoing (11:25 a.m.)

The House has enough votes to adopt the resolution that puts Trump on the path toward impeachment. The vote is ongoing, falling along sharply partisan lines.

With this measure, Democrats plan to hold public impeachment hearings to investigate whether Trump should ultimately be removed from office for pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival and other possible misdeeds. The closed depositions led by the Intelligence Committee will continue, along with probes in five other panels.

Eventual articles of impeachment would be drafted by the Judiciary Committee for a final floor vote to impeach the president. It would then be up to the Republican-led Senate to decide whether Trump should be removed from office. – Billy House

Pelosi Says Sad Day’ Ahead of Key Vote (10:33 a.m.)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to reporters just before the House vote on a resolution to formalize the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a decision on whether to impeach Trump “has not been made” as the House prepares to vote on rules for the next phase of the inquiry.

“It’s a sad day because nobody comes to Congress to impeach the president of the United States,“ she told reporters.

“It’s about the truth and it’s about the Constitution and we’re working very hard to defend our democracy,” she said. “The times have found us.” – Erik Wasson, Billy House

NSC Aide Morrison Arrives for House Testimony (8:32 a.m.)

Former top national security adviser to President Donald Trump,  Timothy Morrison, arrives for a closed door meeting to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019.

Former National Security Council aide Timothy Morrison arrived at the Capitol Thursday for his scheduled testimony before House committees undertaking an impeachment inquiry.

Morrison left his position a day before his scheduled testimony, a senior Trump administration official said.

Morrison, who served as special assistant to the president and the NSC’s senior director for Europe and Russia, has been identified as one of the officials who listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s president where Trump pressed for an investigation of his political opponent Joe Biden and his son.

Key Events

In this July 31, 2019 file photo, National security adviser John Bolton speaks to media at the White House in Washington.
  • House investigators asked Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify on Nov. 7. Bolton was ousted from the White House last month, and it’s unclear how he’ll respond to the request. He would be a key witness to White House events on the administration’s interaction with Ukraine.
  • Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan distanced the State Department from Rudy Giuliani’s claim that his work on Ukraine was done at the department’s request, suggesting it was part of a parallel process that Sullivan and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo weren’t engaged on. Sullivan spoke at his nomination hearing to be U.S. ambassador to Russia.
  • The House Rules Committee advanced rules Wednesday for public hearings by the House Intelligence Committee and, after that, by the Judiciary Committee. Majority Democrats blocked a bid by Republicans to gain equal power to issue subpoenas. The full House plans to vote on the rules Thursday.