Here’s How A Formal Vote On The Impeachment Inquiry Could Help Republicans And Hurt Democrats Ahead Of 2020

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The Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump poses serious risks to former Vice President Joe Biden and a possible roadmap for Republicans trying to defend the president.

If history is any indication, then Democrats could give House Republicans the ability to subpoena testimony from Biden or his son, Hunter Biden. The majority parties who sought to impeach former presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton granted their minority opponents such powers.

Subpoenas were subject to a vote of the House Judiciary Committee at the time, leaving open the possibility this time around that Democrats could squash any such move, especially as it would give the president the ability to switch the media narrative.

Trump’s intransigence could bring the matter to a head shortly. (RELATED: White House May Refuse Cooperation Unless Pelosi Calls A Vote On Impeachment)

The Trump administration is suggesting it will not comply with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s investigation unless House Democrats hold a formal vote on an impeachment inquiry. Trump intends on putting moderate Democrats on the spot, forcing them to publicly state their intentions.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event where U.S.-Japan trade agreements were signed at the White House on Oct. 7, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event where U.S.-Japan trade agreements were signed at the White House on Oct. 7, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

If Republicans are given the opportunity to subpoena, then the inquiry could be jeopardized, according to some experts.

“This is almost entirely about framing the narrative … Just on procedural grounds they are going to try to delegitimize the impeachment effort,” William Howell, a professor of American politics at the University of Chicago, told reporters Monday.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asked Pelosi in an Oct. 3 letter to put the inquiry on hold, arguing that waiting to establish rules gives the minority party some leverage during the process. The California Democrat was not swayed. She denied the request, stating that the House committee is under no obligation to hold a vote.

Even if Pelosi gives Republicans a vote, then she still might not allow them the power to subpoena, Julian Epstein, former attorney for the committee during Clinton’s impeachment, told reporters.

Denying them that opportunity would likely give Trump and his defenders a new issue to find fault with, namely that House Democrats are denying the president due process. “It could spell those things out or doesn’t have to,” Epstein said, adding: “it gives them a soapbox on which to argue process.”

The inquiry is a result of Trump’s decision in July to ask Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the claim that Biden pressured the country into firing a prosecutor who was looking into Hunter’s business ties. There is no evidence that Biden made the move to protect his son from a probe.

Biden is struggling to get out from behind the shadow of the inquiry, which is compounded as Trump continues to throttle the former vice president over his connections to Ukraine and China, where his son reportedly worked on securing financing for a private equity fund in the country. Biden’s poll numbers are sinking and his campaign’s fundraising efforts are faltering.

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