White House team weighs response to upcoming impeachment vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – The stage is being set for the next phase of impeachment. Tuesday, the House Rules Committee released the rules that will guide congressional members through the impeachment proceedings. But some Republicans say a move towards an official vote has come too late.

As the top White House expert on Ukraine testified, President Trump was lashing out at the Purple Heart recipient without naming him, accusing Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman of being a political opponent and asking, “Was he on the same call that I was?” and “How many more never Trumpers will be allowed to testify?”

The president’s attacks coming as the White House is privately deciding how to respond to the latest moves by Democrats, who are now slated to take their first vote on the impeachment inquiry, forcing lawmakers to go on the record supporting the investigation

Judiciary Committee member and Democrat Representative Hakeem Jeffries said, “Every member will have to make a decision based on their conscience.”

The vote could work in the White House’s favor or against it. Trump’s aides are waiting to see what Democrats do before making any moves.

Republicans have demanded for weeks that Democrats must vote before the inquiry can be legitimate though today they claimed it’s too little, too late.

Kevin McCarthy Republican Minority Leader said, “I applaud the Speaker for finally admitting it is a whole entire sham, but you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

One Republican congressman, Ted Yojo, admitted he hasn’t attended any of the closed-door depositions. “Because I have other responsibilities in the house and what I see this as a sideshow,” Rep. Yojo said.

Yojo sits on one of the three committees allowed in the room, but he says he hasn’t even read the transcripts. “We’ve read the summary of Volker’s and there was one other one we did,” he stated.

Rep. Yoho did say he would attend Vindman’s testimony Tuesday. Still, he reiterated he did not feel the House’s investigation was an official inquiry without a vote. This comes despite a federal judge’s ruling last week that a vote authorizing the impeachment inquiry was not needed.

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