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On Friday, December 13, the United States House Judiciary Committee voted to approve two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The decision paves the way for a full House of Representatives vote which could lead to Donald Trump becoming only the third president in US history that Congress votes to impeach.
The two impeachment articles accuse Trump of abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, his potential 2020 election rival. The articles also accuse the president of obstructing Congress by ordering current and former members of his administration to defy House Intelligence Committee subpoenas.
Friday’s hearing lasted around ten minutes. The committee passed the two articles by 23 votes to 17. Democrat and Republican members voted along party lines. The vote was due to take place on Thursday, December 12, but according to reports, 14 hours of intense debate between Republican and Democratic members delayed proceedings until Friday morning. During the 14-hour session, Democrats dismissed Republican efforts to water down the charges. In turn, GOP committee members claimed that Chairman Jerry Nadler adjourned the vote to maximize television coverage.
What happens next?
Following the vote, a Senate trial to decide whether to impeach Trump could take place early next year. The Guardian reports that the Senate, comprising of mostly Republicans, is likely to acquit Trump. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell had previously told Fox News that he was coordinating closely with the White House on impeachment and that there was “zero chance” Congress would remove Trump from office.
“Today is a solemn and sad day,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler after the committee voted in favor of the articles. “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.”
In a statement following the vote, the White House press secretary called the impeachment proceedings a “desperate charade” and said Trump “looks forward to receiving in the Senate the fair treatment and due process.”
Reaction from both sides
The BBC reports that leading Democrats claim the articles of impeachment demonstrate that Trump “betrayed the nation” by acting “corruptly.” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington who voted to pass the impeachment articles, has called the process “a very necessary thing to save our democracy.”
Republicans disagree. Rep. Doug Collins, a GOP committee member from Georgia, likened the House Judiciary Committee to a “kangaroo court.” He added that Democrats don’t care “about rules, they have one thing, their hatred of Donald Trump.”