The House Judiciary Committee has approved impeachment charges against President Donald Trump with a vote strictly along party lines. The process is expected to advance to a full House vote next week.
After debating articles of impeachment in a heated session on Thursday, the committee voted 23 to 17 to approve both articles as House Resolution 755 on Friday, charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“This is a solemn and sad day,” committee chairman Jerry Nadler (D-New York) declared on Friday. Together with House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California), Nadler has been one of the leading figures in the battle to remove Trump from office. In Nadler’s case, this effort began long before the current inquiry kicked off in September.
“Is the President’s proven conduct impeachable?” Nadler asked rhetorically on Thursday. “The answer is simple: absolutely.”
President Trump responded to the vote with derision, calling the impeachment drive against him a “sham” and a “hoax.”
“To use the power of impeachment for this nonsense, it’s an embarrassment to the country,” he continued.
The full House will debate the articles further on Wednesday, with a vote expected to split along party lines again and make Trump the third-ever president to be impeached before Congress adjourns for the holidays. If the House votes to impeach, the Senate will take up the case in the new year.
All Republican amendments were shot down in party-line votes during the deliberations. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) tried to strike down the “abuse of power” charge. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) tried and failed to insert a reference to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, into the articles. Two additional GOP amendments – one modifying the language of the articles, the other eliminating the “obstruction of Congress” charge entirely – were also rejected.
Over the course of the debate, Republicans argued it was the Democrats, not the president, who obstructed justice by refusing the GOP minority its own set of hearings in which it could call its own witnesses. Democrats say they invited President Trump to the hearing, where he could present his case, but the offer was turned down by the White House.
The Democrat-controlled House launched the impeachment inquiry in late September after a White House whistleblower came forward with allegations of corruption stemming from a July phone call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky. The whistleblower complaint – quickly seized upon by Democrats – charged that Trump tried to exploit US military aid in order to coerce Zelensky to open an investigation into Biden and the Ukrainian gas firm that hired his son.