The United States’ House of Representatives will on Thursday hold a formal vote on the impeachment procedure against President Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, has announced.
Pelosi made the decision in a letter to fellow congressional members of the Democratic Party on Monday.
The Speaker in the letter stated that the vote “sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel”, but insisted that the US constitution does not require such a step.
She noted that the vote is to ground rules for the House proceedings and not to impeach the president.
She said the move would “eliminate any doubt” as to whether the White House can withhold documents, disregard subpoenas or prevent witnesses from giving testimony. Several administration officials have failed to testify to committees involved in the inquiry.
The California lawmaker added that the vote in the Democratic-controlled House would also “ensure transparency and provide a clear path forward”.
Pelosi yielded to the demands of President Trump, who has denounced the secret hearings and deposition of statements by witnesses and described the process as a “sham”.
In the White House’s official response, Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the planned vote supported President Trump’s sentiment that “Democrats were conducting an unauthorised impeachment proceeding”.
The president’s spokesperson added that the Democrats were “refusing to give the President due process, and their secret, shady, closed-door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate”.
Last week some members of the Republican Party – who argue there has been a lack of transparency in the proceedings – disrupted and delayed a hearing being held behind closed doors.
The impeachment inquiry was launched against President Trump by the Democrat-led US House of Representatives after reports emerged that a US intelligence official had complained to a government watchdog about President Trump’s interactions with a foreign leader, who was later revealed to be the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Pelosi stated that the US President’s action constituted a “breach of his constitutional responsibility”, adding that he undermined the country’s national security and elections’ impartiality.