House Democrats won’t be voting soon to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
That’s according to people familiar with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s message behind closed doors to her colleagues Tuesday.
Pelosi had gathered lawmakers for a closed session after House leaders surveyed rank-and-file members about it.
Trump calls the impeachment inquiry ‘‘illegitimate’’ and says the House needs to go on the record with a vote. Republicans want to put politically vulnerable Democrats in a tight position in areas where the president remains popular.
Pelosi counters that Congress is well within its authority to investigate as part of its oversight role. The Constitution gives the House impeachment powers but provides little guidance on the process.
The inquiry is moving quickly as a steady stream of officials, largely from the State Department, are appearing behind closed doors this week, some providing vivid details about the events surrounding the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump urged Zelenskiy to investigate a firm tied to political rival Joe Biden’s family and Ukraine’s own involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
In 10 hours of testimony Monday, a former White House aide, Fiona Hill, recounted that national security adviser John Bolton was so alarmed by Rudy Giuliani’s back-channel activities in Ukraine that he described Trump’s personal lawyer as a ‘‘hand grenade who is going to blow everybody up.’’
The former White House aide detailed Bolton’s concerns to lawmakers and told them that she had at least two meetings with National Security Council lawyer John Eisenberg about the matter at Bolton’s request, according to a person familiar with the testimony who requested anonymity to discuss the confidential interview.
Hill, a top adviser on Russia, also discussed U.S. ambassador Gordon Sondland and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, the person said, telling the three committees leading the investigation that Bolton also told her he was not part of ‘‘whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,’’ an apparent reference to talks over Ukraine.
Giuliani was heavily involved in the effort to pressure Ukraine on the investigations. He said Tuesday he was ‘‘very disappointed’’ in Bolton’s comment. Bolton, Giuliani said, ‘‘has been called much worse.’’
Giuliani also acknowledged he had received payments totaling $500,000 related to the work for a company operated by Lev Parnas who, along with associate Igor Fruman, played a key role in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Biden and his son, Hunter. The two men were arrested last week on campaign finance charges as they tried to board an international flight.
Giuliani’s attorney, Jon Sale, has notified lawmakers that Giuliani will not comply with a subpoena issued to appear before House investigators in the impeachment inquiry. Democrats set a Wednesday deadline for Giuliani to provide documents and it is unclear how they will respond to his refusal to comply.