Shortly before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s efforts to make Ukraine investigate a political rival, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was able to pass a unanimous, non-binding resolution through the Senate demanding that the whistle-blower complaint about the incident be turned over to congressional intelligence committees immediately.
According to a report from Politico, the pressure may have added to the White House’s decision to release the transcript of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, the full whistleblower complaint, and the Director of National Intelligence Inspector General’s report by the end of the week. Before the impeachment proceedings and the passage of the resolution, Trump was only planning to release the transcript.
One of the most pressing questions of the hectic Tuesday involved why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chose to counter his block-everything legacy and fast-track the resolution. (McConnell chose to “hotline” the motion, meaning he bypassed normal Senate procedures to move Schumer’s request to a vote without floor debate.) Theories abound: Maybe the whistle-blower complaint isn’t all that bad politically, and only personally embarrassing to the president? Conversely, maybe it’s so bad that realpolitik McConnell is prepared for a Pence presidency? It certainly doesn’t jive with the expected move from the Senate Majority Leader — to demand the transcript Trump promised and attempt to keep the whistle-blower’s report private.
Whatever McConnell’s intentions are, the whistle-blower situation will continue to develop this week parallel to the impeachment inquiry: On Wednesday, the House will vote on a similar non-binding resolution demanding that the Trump administration release the report to Congress and that they “cease their public efforts to discredit the whistle-blower.” The whistle-blower him-or-herself is on board, requesting on Tuesday to speak with the House and Senate Intelligence committees.
This post has been updated.