Week In Politics
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
And the ayes had it. This week, the full House of Representatives took a vote on impeachment. It doesn't mean the president has been impeached. Republicans, who demanded such a vote on the floor, don't seem any more eager for the inquiry than they did before. NPR's senior Washington editor and correspondent Ron Elving joins us. Morning, Ron.
RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.
SIMON: The final tally was 232-196, but what exactly were they voting on?
ELVING: It's an official launch to a real and public impeachment process, Scott. That's something that's been lacking up to now, something Republicans had been demanding. But they didn't like it when it happened because the resolution set rules for how the process is going to unfold. And while the Republicans got some rights in the process, they did not get the co-pilot's license they wanted. So they will be resisting from here on out.
SIMON: If this week's vote set out rules to govern the investigation, where does that leave us in the process? The speaker said yesterday that public hearings could begin as early as this month, November. But, of course, let's underscore again those hearings are just the first part of the process.
ELVING: Yes. Those public hearings - probably before Thanksgiving before the committees that have already been investigating. Then they'll make a report to the House Judiciary Committee, which has always been the engine of impeachment in the few cases we had in the past. That committee will consider whether to draft articles of impeachment probably in December. And the full House will vote on those articles possibly this year but more likely after the holidays.
SIMON: A foreign service officer assigned to the White House, Catherine Croft, testified this week. So did National Security Council aide Tim Morrison. And separately, there were reports about - that key elements of that phone call with the Ukrainian president had been omitted from the summary the White House released. Catch us up with how that story took flight this week.
ELVING: The president continues to say the call was fine - perfect, to use his word. And he says the transcript proves it and urges people to read the transcript. But the transcript as released was only a summary. It was described that way right from the beginning. And we now have strong indications as to why because this week, at least one witness who heard the call says that that transcript is missing key moments and words and phrases. But bear in mind even in the version Trump approved, the transcript, as we have it, was enough to make impeachment the reality it is today.
SIMON: Charles Kupperman, who stepped into John Bolton's position as national security adviser, was supposed to testify recently but instead filed a lawsuit asking if he could testify. There's another suit with former White House counsel Don McGahn. Could these cases complicate things?
ELVING: Yes, if the courts say these officials are immune or if the courts just take a long time to decide. And now you mentioned John Bolton. He, too, has been asked to testify and seems to be looking to the courts for guidance. And we had word just last night that Energy Secretary Rick Perry would not testify about his role in Ukraine. And we also have been told that some of the officials from the Office of Management and Budget who have been mentioned and invited out will - are not expected to testify.
SIMON: Representative Katie Hill, Democrat of California, resigned this week, blamed a double standard as she did so.
ELVING: Yes. She gave a memorable, eloquent speech on the floor saying it was not possible for her to continue with charges of an improper relationship with a staffer that have brought her before the House Ethics Committee but also asking how many men in government have been credibly accused of truly abusive behavior yet remain in office and leaving no doubt of whom she spoke.
SIMON: NPR senior Washington editor and correspondent Ron Elving, thanks so much.
ELVING: Thank you, Scott.
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