House Judiciary Committee Approves 2 Articles Of Impeachment Against Trump
The House Judiciary Committee approved the two articles of impeachment brought against President Donald Trump on Friday morning, in a historic vote that charged him with abusing the power of the presidency and obstruction of Congress. The articles will move to a House floor vote likely on Wednesday.
The Committee spent 14 hours on Thursday debating the charges and the amendments proposed by Republican lawmakers. They were expected to hold a vote late Thursday night, but Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler (D-New York) recessed the meeting around 11 p.m. There was no further discussion about the articles before the vote on Friday.
Nadler said he wanted to give lawmakers time to sleep on the issue and contemplate how they would vote on these historical measures.
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“Today is a solemn and sad day,” Nadler told reporters after the quick roll call vote. “For the third time in a little over a century and a half, the House Judiciary Committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House will act expeditiously.”
The impeachment proceedings center around Trump’s actions in Ukraine. A whistleblower complaint alleged he had improperly pressured the foreign government to open a political probe into his rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The charge of abuse of power was based on the testimonies of officials involved in Ukraine who witnessed the pressure campaign, such as former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. The charge of obstruction of Congress involves the White House commanding certain officials subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee during the inquiry to defy the order, as well as preventing witnesses from accessing important documents and records.
Democrats celebrated the vote Friday as a move that holds the president accountable.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-California) tweeted that she had voted to bring the articles to a floor vote, because “no one is above the law.”
I just voted to proceed on both articles of impeachment into Donald Trump.
He abused the power of his office.
He obstructed Congress.
No one is above the law. pic.twitter.com/Y8C70Ol0Ox
— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) December 13, 2019
Republicans expressed dismay at the move, arguing that the vote could create a dangerous precedent that undermines the president’s authority.
“This is an outrage,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas). “It sets the bar for any president, in any party, for the future to go through three years of hell like this president has.”
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona) told reporters that impeachment is dividing America, and was a preconceived idea by Democratic lawmakers.
“This is really a travesty for America and it’s really tearing America apart,” Lesko said. “I have never in my entire life seen such an unfair rigged railroad job against the president of the United States. They predetermined they were going to do it and they did it, come hell or high water.”
If the majority of the House approves the articles during the floor vote, the charges will move from the Democrat-controlled House to the Republican-controlled Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is certain the Senate would never vote to remove Trump from office.
“The case is so darn weak coming from the House. We know how it’s going to end,” McConnell told Fox’s Sean Hannity on Thursday night. “There’s no chance the president’s going to be removed from office. My hope is that there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment.”
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) criticized McConnell for guaranteeing how the Senate will vote, and called on Republican lawmakers to “stand up against a ridiculously quick process.”
He tweeted Friday morning after the vote saying, “It is incumbent on every Senator to ensure that the impeachment trial not become a farce.”
“That depends on whether 4 Republicans will stand up against a ridiculously quick process,” Schatz continued. “Right now, you have head juror McConnell proudly promising that it will be over before it starts.”
It is incumbent on every Senator to ensure that the impeachment trial not become a farce. That depends on whether 4 Republicans will stand up against a ridiculously quick process. Right now, you have head juror McConnell proudly promising that it will be over before it starts.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) December 13, 2019
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), a constitutional law and election law professor for nearly three decades, told NBC that more public engagement is needed to sway the votes of GOP senators.
“The reason that the framers of the Constitution made impeachment a matter of legislative jurisdiction rather than within the courts is because they understood that there would be public opinion involved,” Raskin said. “So we need an engaged public to deal with the president’s crimes, to confront the reality of the president’s misconduct.”
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