The House Is Getting Ready To Vote On The Articles Of Impeachment And Here’s What That Means
After weeks of momentous hearings and testimonies, the House Judiciary Committee on Friday voted along party lines to pass two articles of impeachment against President Trump. As a reflection of the divide in Congress, all 23 Democrats voting in favor and all 17 Republicans voting against the charges. This moment has been a buildup that began back in September when evidence pointed to President Trump abusing his powers in pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.
The House is expected to approve the two articles of impeachment, one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of Congress, on Wednesday, before lawmakers depart for the holidays. The historic vote would make President Trump the third president in U.S. history to be impeached and the first to be running for reelection at the same time.
“Today is a solemn and sad day,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said after the vote. “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.”
This is just the first step in many in what will be a weeks-long process that will ultimately lead to a vote in the U.S. Senate.
Democratic lawmakers this week said that they didn’t come to Congress wanting to impeach a president, but they pointed to detailed evidence since the inquiry began in late September that led them to this point. This comes after multiple testimonies from diplomats, government officials, and legal scholars that all pointed at Trump abusing his powers as president. At the core of these charges is the assertion that the president had withheld approved military aid to Ukraine and then blocking Congress’ efforts to probe what happened.
Trump has denied these assertions and has said he acted justifiably in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Since the impeachment inquiry began, Republicans have been unified in dismissing the charges that Democrats have put forward calling the entire process a “hoax”.
“Rather than help Americans move into the future with confidence, Democrats are attempting to knee-cap our democracy. They’re telling millions of voters that Democrats will work to overturn the will of the people whenever it conflicts with the will of liberal elites.”Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said on Friday.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham voiced a similar tone as she called Friday’s vote a “shameful end” of what she labeled as 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,” Grisham said to ABC News.
While impeachment articles will most likely be passed in the Democrat-controlled House, the Republican-controlled Senate is where they will most likely find a roadblock moving forward.
To this point in the impeachment process, there have been few surprises as things have followed as expected. With the articles of impeachment being sent to the House, there is little doubt that the votes won’t pass. As of today, there are 431 sitting members in the House and if all of those members are present, the number for impeaching President Trump would be 216. The Republican-controlled Senate presents a different problem for Democrats. A Senate trial would then begin to determine whether to remove President Trump from office or acquit him of the charges.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky has given no indication to this point that any Republican will break against party lines. In an interview on Fox News on Thursday, McConnell said: “there is zero chance the president will be removed from office.”
Throughout weeks of hearings, Republicans said that Democrats overstated their case against Trump and made the argument that the relied heavily on hearsay evidence. Instead, they cast the president as genuinely concerned with corruption in Ukraine, which Democrats in return repeatedly dismissed.
Whatever happens, moving forward, there are sure to be serious political consequences for both parties ahead of the 2020 elections.
There is much more than just impeachment on the line after the House votes. If everything follows as expected in a Senate trial, there might be more harm than good when it comes to Democrats, especially in an election year. Countless Americans are deeply divided over whether the president indeed conducted impeachable acts and will look to Congress to show clarity on this issue.
Even for Republicans, the impeachment trial has been a bad look as the president has cast a troublesome veil over the part that might cast some independent voters to sway to the left in 2020. There is no telling how far or how long this impeachment trial will go on but there is no doubt Americans will be watching closely.