House Committee Advances Articles Of Impeachment, Now What?
The movement to impeach President Donald Trump now heads to a full House vote, where he could become only the third U.S. President in history to be impeached by the House.
The House Judiciary Committee approved two article of impeachment for President Trump’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” on Friday morning, paving the way for a House vote on the president’s removal next week. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there is “no chance” his chamber will remove Trump from office, reflecting the fierce partisan divisions that have been laid bare by the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats and Republicans in the Committee voted strictly along party lines, with Democrats approving the articles and recommending impeachment while Republicans condemned the process. Republican Rep. Steve Chabot called it “the most tragic mockery of justice in the history of this nation,” and Rep. Debbie Lesko said it was “the most corrupt, rigged railroad job I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”
The first House article charges that Trump abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rival out of self-interest, the second that he obstructed Congress’ inquiry into the affair.
“It has been a long two days of consideration of these articles and it is now very late at night,” judiciary chair Rep. Jerry Nadler said Friday. “I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days and to search their consciences before we cast our final votes.”
Trump responded defiantly, accusing Democrats of “trivializing impeachment,” while in an Oval Office meeting with Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo Benítez.
“And I tell you what, someday there will be a Democrat president and there will be a Republican House, and I suspect they’re going to remember it,” the president warned.
“It’s a very sad thing for our country,” Trump continued, “but it seems to be very good for me politically.”
The president’s disapproval rating has dropped among independents in the last month, but his other ratings appear to be relatively stable.
“Someday, our grandchildren will ask what we did in the face of a President who so blatantly abused his office and endangered our national security, who so clearly believed he was above the law,” said Rep. Adam Schiff on Friday. “For far too many of my colleagues, their answer — shamefully — will be: Nothing.”
Critics like journalist Aaron Maté chided Schiff’s statement, noting that the congressman recently voted to increase President Trump’s military budget and surveillance powers despite calling him a danger to national security. Maté is a fierce critic of the inquiry, arguing that Democrats’ focus on arming Ukraine is undergirded by a hawkish, “new-Cold War” mentality, rather than a genuine rebuke of Trump’s most significant offenses, like intentionally worsening conditions for migrant children or profiting from public office while maintaining ownership of a global business empire.
Prominent intellectual Noam Chomsky has also expressed frustration with the narrow issue Democrats chose as the focus of the impeachment inquiry, and is skeptical that the trial will result in Trump’s removal:
“What’ll happen is probably the House will impeach, goes to the Senate. The Republican senators are utterly craven. They’re terrified of Trump’s voting base. So they’ll vote to turn down the impeachment request. Trump will come along, say I’m vindicated. Say it was the Deep State and the treacherous Dems trying to overturn the election. Oh, vote for me.”
A full House vote on impeaching Trump is expected to be held Wednesday where he will likely be impeached along party lines. Trump would then face a hearing in the Senate in early 2020 which would need a two-thirds majority to convict him.
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