Ranking House Judiciary Committee member Doug Collins, R-Ga., slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement endorsing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, calling it a "false and feeble decree."
“Today isn't what impeachment looks like, and this afternoon's press conference changes nothing legally,” Collins said in a statement following the speaker’s announcement on Tuesday. “There has been no House vote to authorize a formal impeachment inquiry.”
He added “If Democrats believed the facts were in their favor, they would provide the due process that the House provided under the Clinton and Nixon impeachments.”
On Tuesday Pelosi, D-Calif., said: "The president must be held accountable" for his "betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and the betrayal of the integrity of our elections."
She effectively endorsed the process, which to some degree has already been underway, after facing fresh pressure from inside the Democratic caucus to act. The move could support Democrats' disputed argument in court that impeachment proceedings were in fact in progress, which could entitle Congress to obtain additional documents.
Pelosi specifically charged that the administration had violated the law by not turning over a whistleblower complaint concerning Trump's July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Citing testimony that the director of national intelligence was blocking the release of that complaint, she said: "This is a violation of law. The law is unequivocal."
Trump allegedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Joe Biden has acknowledged on camera that, when he was vice president, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, while Shokin was investigating the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings — where Hunter Biden was on the board. Shokin himself had separately been accused of corruption.
But there were several indicators throughout the day that Pelosi's gambit could backfire, as Republicans predicted over the weekend.
“No matter how many Democrats subscribe to the fantasy that the House began an impeachment inquiry—whether in March, July, August or September—neither Chairman [Jerrold] Nadler nor Speaker Pelosi have unilateral authority to launch one," Collins said on Tuesday night.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and fellow Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have been investigating Trump as part of what they've called impeachment proceedings. Notably, Nadler hauled Trump's former 2016 campaign manager, Cory Lewandowski, in front of his committee last week for a combative five hours of testimony related to possible impeachable conduct by the president.
On Tuesday evening, Pelosi announced that multiple House committees are now moving forward with an impeachment inquiry.
"This is the first partisan 'impeachment' in the history of the republic, and the real victims are the American people,” Collins said. “They elected Donald Trump to be our president and their representatives to solve the border crisis and support a growing economy. Instead of accepting those facts, Democrats are sowing chaos, not producing legislative solutions.”
He went on to say, “The chaos began in the Judiciary Committee, and now it's seeping into the rest of the House.”
Trump vowed earlier Tuesday to release a "complete" transcript of his call with Zelensky by Wednesday.
Additionally, a senior administration official told Fox News late Tuesday that the White House is working as quickly as it can to release to Congress the whistleblower complaint, as long as it's legally possible. The official told Fox News the White House had nothing to hide, that there has been no wrongdoing.
Fox News’ Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.