The House Judiciary Committee argued through a marathon session Thursday ahead of voting to send impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the full House, the latest big step as the politically split Congress debates whether to remove Trump from office.
As the hearing began, lawmakers dug in for the second day of the Judiciary session, only the fourth time in U.S. history a president is facing impeachment, to consider the two articles brought by Democrats. They charge Trump with abuse of power for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden while withholding aid as leverage and with obstruction of Congress for stonewalling the House's investigation. Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., immediately asked for a full reading of the nine-page resolution, airing the two articles of impeachment against the president for the live TV cameras. It was expected to be a long day of fights over amendments, primarily by Republicans trying to stop the impeachment. They were likely to be rejected by Democrats along party lines. The top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, called the proceedings a “farce” and said they should be halted until his side was provided a chance for its own hearing. The request was denied, with the chairman saying the process was in line with the impeachment hearings of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
The House is expected to vote on the articles next week, in the days before Christmas. That would send them to the Senate for a 2020 trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he would be "totally surprised'' if there were the necessary 67 votes in the chamber to convict Trump, and signaled options for a swift trial. He said no decision had been made about whether to call witnesses.
With files from the Associated Press
Pratheepan Gulasekaram, professor of law at Santa Clara Law, where he specializes in constitutional and immigration law
Sean T. Walsh, Republican political analyst and partner at Wilson Walsh Consulting in San Francisco; he is a former adviser to California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and a former White House staffer for Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush
John Yoo, professor of law at UC Berkeley where his expertise includes constitutional law and separation of powers; from 2001-2003 he served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice