Judiciary Committee sends Trump impeachment articles to the House floor

After three days of contentious debate, the panel voted along party lines to recommend impeachment

Rep Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. holds up a copy of the Constitution while voting for one of the impeachment articles against President Donald Trump on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Rep Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. holds up a copy of the Constitution while voting for one of the impeachment articles against President Donald Trump on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted December 13, 2019 at 10:10am

The House came one step closer to impeaching President Donald Trump after the Judiciary Committee on Friday morning approved charges that Trump obstructed Congress and abused his power.

Next week, for the first time in more than two decades, and only the third time in U.S. history, the full House will consider articles of impeachment against a sitting president.

On the third calendar day of considering the articles of impeachment, the Judiciary Committee quickly advanced the two articles on separate 23-17 party-line votes.

The five amendments offered by minority members of the Judiciary panel were rejected during an all-day markup on Thursday. During that process, lawmakers engaged in rancorous debate for more than 14 hours, with the sparring touching on topics ranging from constitutional law to crack cocaine.

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The very timing of Friday morning’s vote itself was controversial.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York gaveled out Thursday’s markup just after 11:00 pm, just as the panel was expected to vote on the articles, delaying until the next day a historic vote with a predetermined outcome. Republicans on the panel were furious.

Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel, complained that Nadler didn’t consult him on the timing of the vote and that pushing it to Friday morning ruined many of the members’ plans. On Friday, several members came to the committee vote, luggage in hand.

Nadler, it seems, preferred to take the vote, perhaps the most significant the committee has taken since President Bill Clinton’s impeachment,  during normal business hours, not when most of America was asleep.

“Today’s vote highlights the pettiness of last night’s delay and the folly of articles of impeachment that allege no crime and establish no case,” Collins said on Friday. “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.”

Todd Ruger contributed to this story.