Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday that he thinks the House should hold a formal vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry, breaking away from his party leaderships position that a vote is not required.
“I think its time for us to put a vote on the floor, a resolution for the inquiry structured in such a way that it can move forward with full power of the Congress behind it,” Garamendi told “CNN Newsroom,” adding that it would “strengthen Congresss hand.”
Garamendi said that he thinks a vote could even come in a week after the White House sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and three top Democrats on Tuesday rejecting compliance with lawmakers demands on the impeachment inquiry.
“They want a fight, OK,” Garamendi said. “Then let us arm ourselves completely and totally with the full power of Congress.”
Last week, Pelosi sent a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pushing back on his suggestion that the chamber needed to vote to proceed with their inquiry into the president. She said that “there is no requirement under the Constitution, under House Rules, or House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry.”
Meanwhile, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) echoed Pelosis position in their letter (pdf) accompanying a subpoena to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Oct. 4.
House Democrats have issued a number of subpoenas as part of their probe including to the White House, State Department, the Pentagon, and Trumps personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
In its Tuesday letter, the White House told Pelosi and other top Democrats that the inquiry “violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process,” and called on House members to cease their impeachment efforts. The letter also stated that the inquiry runs afoul of congressional norms, and accuses the Democrats of failing to afford the president due process protections and fairness.
“You have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process,” the letter said.
“You have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans.”
“You have conducted your proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation of powers by threatening Executive Branch officials, claiming that you will seek to punish those who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives. All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent.”
Later that day, Pelosi responded to the letter in a statement, accusing the president of trying to “normalize lawlessness” and described the letter was “manifestly wrong.”