The House is poised to begin a historic day of debate that is expected to end with votes to impeach President Trump for his conduct toward Ukraine, making him only the third president in U.S. history to receive that sanction.
Based on public announcements, Democrats have enough votes to approve articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Wednesday’s action will lead to a trial in the Republican-led Senate, where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove the president from office.
At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
●Trump rips Democrats for ‘attempted coup’ on eve of likely impeachment.
●President appears resilient as he faces the ‘very ugly word’ of impeachment.
●To capture voters, both parties invoke radically different responses to impeachment.December 18, 2019 at 7:00 AM EST
House to convene at 9 a.m. to consider impeachment resolution
The House is scheduled to convene at 9 a.m. and turn its attention to a resolution to impeach Trump for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
A rule fashioned Thursday night calls for six hours of debate, evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. But procedural moves and delaying tactics could push the final votes into the evening.
The debate is scheduled to be led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Douglas A. Collins (Ga.), the top Republican on the panel.
Trump is facing two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House is expected to vote separately on the two articles. Public statements by lawmakers suggest both have the support to pass in the Democratic-led chamber.
Congress has impeached only two presidents: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before the House could vote on articles of impeachment in the Watergate scandal. Lawmakers drafted three articles against Nixon, including charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that mirror the abuse-of-power and obstruction allegations Trump now faces.
A trial of Trump in the Republican-led Senate is expected to begin early next month. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he sees no chance of Trump being removed from office, which would require a two-thirds vote of the chamber.By John WagnerDecember 18, 2019 at 6:30 AM EST
Trump will head to Michigan as House prepares to impeach him
Trump is staging a campaign rally Wednesday night in Michigan — a trip that will likely mean he’s not in Washington when the House votes to impeach him.
Trump is scheduled to leave the White House at 4:25 p.m. en route to Battle Creek, Mich., where he plans to hold a “Keep America Great” rally at 7 p.m. The rally site is in the district of Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), a former Republican who became an independent in July and has backed impeachment of Trump.
Trump narrowly carried Michigan in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton, and the state will be key to the prospects of the Republican nominee in 2020.
Trump has no other public events on his schedule Wednesday.By John WagnerDecember 18, 2019 at 6:00 AM EST
GOP moderate refuses to defend Trump on Ukraine but won’t back impeachment
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick refuses to defend Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine, but the Pennsylvania Republican is not going to vote to impeach him.
A past critic of the president who has sought to build a reputation on Capitol Hill as a politician untethered to party, Fitzpatrick is also a former FBI agent who spent time in Ukraine advancing anti-corruption efforts. He serves as co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus.
And he’s one of only two House Republicans running for reelection in a congressional district Hillary Clinton won in 2016 — all others retired or were wiped out in the Democrats’ 2018 rout — making him a top target for national Democrats. The other is Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.).
But Fitzpatrick is banking on swing voters in November 2020 caring less that he voted against impeachment and more that last week he and just one other Republican joined Democrats to pass a bill to lower drug prices or that earlier in the month he was the only GOP member to vote with Democrats on restoring voting rights protections.
Trump lashes out at Pelosi, Schumer in late-night tweets
Trump lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) amid a series of late-night tweets Tuesday on impeachment and the FBI investigation of his 2016 campaign for possible coordination with Russia.
In one, Trump claimed he had received “good marks and reviews” for a rambling and angry letter to Pelosi on Tuesday in which he lit into congressional Democrats for what he deemed a “perversion of justice” and an “attempted coup.” He predicted that voters would punish Democrats and history would vindicate him.
“She is the worst!” Trump said of Pelosi. “No wonder with people like her and Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, D.C. has been such a mess for so long.”
Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she considered Trump’s letter “really sick.”
“They want to Impeach me (I’m not worried!), and yet they were all breaking the law in so many ways,” Trump said in another tweet directed at Democrats. “How can they do that and yet impeach a very successful (Economy Plus) President of the United States, who has done nothing wrong? These people are Crazy!”By John WagnerDecember 18, 2019 at 5:00 AM EST
Protesters across the nation rally for impeachment
Demonstrators in big cities and small towns from coast to coast rallied Tuesday for President Trump’s impeachment, celebrating the historic step the House is expected to take Wednesday while bemoaning that the push to oust him is almost certain to die in the Senate.
Protesters in the dark of a snowy New England evening chanted “Dump Trump,” while those marching in the warmth of southern Florida brandished signs reading “Impeach Putin’s Puppet.” In Republican-dominated Kansas, they repeated a mantra: “Country over party.” In Texas, they fretted that despite the House’s vote, Trump will get away with it all.
Organizers said that there were more than 600 protests nationwide — from Hawaii to Maine — with the goal of demonstrating “to our lawmakers that their constituents are behind them to defend the Constitution.”
In many places, the rallies functioned less as a chance to vent about Trump’s Ukraine dealings — the matter for which he faces impeachment — than as an opportunity for collective catharsis over the entire track record of a president disapproved of by slightly more than half the country.