U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District now says an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is well underway.
He made the argument in a Thursday op-ed in the Sun Sentinel.
“We don’t need to launch an impeachment inquiry,” Deutch argued. “It has been underway since March.”
Deutch becomes the third member of the Florida delegation to support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry against Trump. He joins U.S. Reps. Val Demings of CD 10 and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of CD 26.
Deutch’s comments echo remarks from U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Following Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s testimony to the U.S. House, Raskin said the Democratically-controlled House was already undergoing a de facto “impeachment investigation.”
“There is no formal constitutional or statutory or even the House rule for how an impeachment inquiry is to begin, and so it means different things to different people,” Raskin said.
“A lot of people believe we’ve been in an impeachment inquiry since we started looking into potential high crimes and misdemeanors and the misconduct of the executive branch, other people think impeachment inquiry doesn’t begin until we actually have articles of impeachment.”
Deutch made a similar argument in his Sun Sentinel op-ed.
“We don’t need a vote,” Deutch said of a formal vote to open an inquiry. “The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole authority of impeachment.
“Officially launching an impeachment inquiry has never been a prerequisite to using that authority. The Judiciary Committee may refer articles of impeachment to the whole House for a vote at any time.”
Deutch’s theory that the inquiry has been underway since March refers to an investigation of Trump by the House Judiciary Committee. That investigation has been thwarted by the Trump administration’s broad claims of executive immunity. Deutch called those actions “obstruction.”
“The Judiciary Committee officially started its investigation into the abuse of power by President Trump on March 4, 2019,” Deutch wrote.
“The stated purpose was to consider all constitutional remedies for presidential misconduct, including impeachment. In every meaningful way, our investigation is an impeachment inquiry. The Judiciary Committee already has the power to refer articles of impeachment to the whole House.”
Democrats recently made a filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to unseal grand jury information as part of Mueller’s investigation.
That request was made “preliminarily or in connection with a judicial proceeding.” What judicial proceeding?
“The D.C. Circuit has construed that provision to apply where, as here, this Committee is conducting an investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment,” the filing reads.
Legal experts have debated as to whether that attempt to unseal grand jury information will be successful.