Oct 3, 2019

Scoop: Trump letter dares Pelosi to hold vote on impeachment inquiry

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House is planning to send Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter as soon as Friday arguing that President Trump and his team can ignore lawmakers' demands until she holds a full House vote formally approving an impeachment inquiry, 2 sources familiar with the letter tell Axios.

Why it matters: By putting in writing the case that Trump and his supporters have been making verbally for days, the White House is preparing for a court fight and arguing to the public that its resistance to Congress' requests is justified.

  • Trump wants to force House Democrats in vulnerable races to be on the record if they favor pursuing impeachment, these sources tell us.
  • Republicans also say the minority party can exert more influence over hearings and other aspects of an inquiry once it is formalized with a vote.
  • By calling this an inquiry without holding a vote, Pelosi and the Democratic committee chairmen are having it both ways, one official said. "They want to be a little bit pregnant."

Worth noting: While a letter to Pelosi and the committee chairmen had been drafted, it had not been finalized or signed as of Thursday night.

Behind the scenes: Several White House lawyers spent a good chunk of their Thursday reviewing the language in the letter, expecting that it could find its way before a judge.

  • Meanwhile, Pelosi maintains 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," as she stated in a Thursday letter to the House's Republican Leader, Kevin McCarthy.
  • "For several decades, impeachment investigations have frequently been conducted without a full vote,” Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne told Axios.
  • “Given that the President just this morning on national television urged yet another foreign government to meddle in our upcoming 2020 elections, we would think the White House would want to mount a rigorous defense of the President’s clear betrayal of his oath of office," a senior Democratic aide told Axios.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper: Pelosi responds to McCarthy's call to suspend impeachment inquiry

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.