House panel approves articles of impeachment against Trump
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee raised concerns about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comments that he will coordinate closely with the White House on the looming Senate impeachment trial.
Rep. Val Demings, a Florida Democrat, said the Kentucky Republican should recuse himself entirely.
“He’s working hand in hand with the White House, with the president’s attorney, and yet we’re supposed to expect him to manage a fair and impartial trial?” Demings said when asked about McConnell’s remarks. “I think he should recuse himself.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal called the coordination “ridiculous.”
“I think it is outrageous for the chief juror who is organizing the trial to be coordinating with the defendant,” Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, told reporters.
Some context: If a simple majority of the House votes to impeach the President — which is expected to happen next week — the Senate will hold a trial overseen by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
McConnell held a closed-door meeting with the President's top lawyer, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, on Thursday to coordinate plans for the trial.
The House Judiciary Committee this morning voted to advance articles of impeachment against President Trump to the full House.
This marks the fourth time in US history the House will consider impeaching a President.
Here's a look at the three other Presidents who have faced impeachment:
- Andrew Johnson: The House of Representatives voted in 1868 to impeach Johnson. After a trial in the Senate, Johnson was acquitted with a vote of 35-19 — one vote shy of the two thirds majority needed to remove the president.
- Richard Nixon: The House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment against Nixon in 1974. He resigned from office before the full House could vote to impeach him.
- Bill Clinton: The House Judiciary Committee approved four articles of impeachment against Clinton in December 1998. After the House voted to impeach him, the Senate acquitted him in a 1999 trial.
Brad Parscale, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, called today's vote "political theater" after the House Judiciary Committee advanced both articles of impeachment against President Trump.
Read his full statement:
“This committee vote is just another act in the Democrats’ political theater. The baseless, sham impeachment is just out-of-control partisan politics and the American people are rejecting it.”
In an exchange with CNN’s Manu Raju following the House Judiciary Committee vote on articles of impeachment, Rep. Debbie Lesko, a Republican from Arizona, denied that President Trump asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, repeatedly saying “he did not do that.”
When pressed on whether asking Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate was appropriate, Lesko said:
“It’s the responsibility of the President of the United States before he hands over taxpayer dollars to investigate corruption and I believe part of that corruption was with the Bidens.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, argued that Democrats are not living up to the standards that they set for themselves.
“The reality is they failed to meet their burden,” Gaetz said.
The GOP congressman said Republicans would like to work on “policy changes that will actually impact the quality of life for our constituents,” while Democrats keep impeachment as their “total focus.”
“Impeachment is their drug. It is their obsession,” Gaetz told reporters.
It's worth noting that just this week House Democrats and the White House reached a deal to advance President Trump's renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement after months of negotiations for changes on Democratic priorities.
The White House has released a statement on the impeachment vote, calling it a “desperate charade of an impeachment inquiry.”
“The President looks forward to receiving in the Senate the fair treatment and due process which continues to be disgracefully denied to him by the House," said Stephanie Grisham, the White House Press Secretary.
Read the full statement below:
This desperate charade of an impeachment inquiry in the House Judiciary Committee has reached its shameful end. The President looks forward to receiving in the Senate the fair treatment and due process which continues to be disgracefully denied to him by the House.
House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler gave a very brief statement following today's committee vote to advance two articles of impeachment against President Trump to the full House floor.
"Today is a solemn and sad day," he said. "The House will act expeditiously."
Nadler left without taking any questions from reporters.
Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, said in statement following today's vote that it "highlights the pettiness of last night’s delay and the folly of articles of impeachment that allege no crime and establish no case."
"While it’s already clear that Democrats broke their own promises to rig this outcome, what will become more obvious in the coming days and years is that Democrats gravely abused their power."
More context: Late last night, after about 14 hours of debate, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler gaveled the proceeding to a close. This angered Collins and other Republicans who were expecting to vote on the articles yesterday.
Today, when the committee reconvened they voted along party lines to approve two articles of impeachment against President Trump — 23 Democrats voted in favor while all 17 Republicans on the committee voted against the articles.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, called for House representatives to "vote their conscience" when vote on impeachment articles moves to the House floor.
"I think everybody is going to have to vote their conscience, and I think that if somebody votes 'no' on these articles, I have a hard time understanding how they could look at the facts and do that," the congresswoman said.
"We all have to wake up and go to bed with ourselves every night and we'll be remembered in history for this vote," she said.
"This is gonna go down in the history books — this idea that democracy can be saved or preserved without any effort, without any courage from us, is an affront to the people that fought in the revolutions in the battlefields to create this democracy," she said.