House Democrats to vote on impeachment procedures

House Democrats plan to vote this week to formalize impeachment procedures against President Donald Trump as lawmakers prepare to launch the public phase of their inquiry.

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In a statement released Monday, Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., said he plans to introduce a resolution Tuesday to "ensure transparency and provide a clear path forward" on impeachment. He added that the House Rules Committee plans to mark up a resolution Wednesday.

"This is the right thing to do for the institution and the American people," McGovern said.

The House plans to vote on the resolution Thursday, The Washington Post reported.

The Constitution doesn't require a vote to begin impeachment. But Trump and his Republican colleagues have cited the lack of one to say that the probe is not real. Trump used that argument in a lengthy letter to the House earlier this month saying that he wouldn't cooperate.

"For weeks, the President, his Counsel in the White House, and his allies in Congress have made the baseless claim that the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry 'lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding,'" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter sent Monday to her Democratic colleagues. "They argue that, because the House has not taken a vote, they may simply pretend the impeachment inquiry does not exist."

Pelosi said the planned vote would "eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives."

In a statement obtained by CNN, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the decision to vote on an impeachment resolution amounted to Pelosi "finally admitting what the rest of America already knew -- that Democrats were conducting an unauthorized impeachment proceeding, refusing to give the President due process."

"Their secret, shady closed door depositions are completely and irreversibly illegitimate," she said.

Many government officials have cooperated with the inquiry despite Trump's orders. But Pelosi's announcement came just hours after a former White House national security official defied a House subpoena for closed-door testimony, escalating the standoff between Congress and the White House over who will testify.

Earlier Monday, Charles Kupperman, who was a deputy to former national security adviser John Bolton, failed to show up for the scheduled closed-door deposition after filing a lawsuit asking a federal court in Washington to rule on whether he was legally required to appear. In a statement, Kupperman said he was awaiting "judicial clarity."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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