WASHINGTON — In a vote of 23-17, the House Judiciary Committee approved the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, saying he abused his power.
And on the charge of obstruction of Congress, it was the same outcome. The Committee on Friday approved the second article of impeachment with a 23-17 vote.
On both articles of impeachment:
- All 23 Democrats voted yes.
- All 17 Republicans voted no.
Now the House Judiciary Committee has adjourned. The next step is a vote before the U.S. House, which is likely to happen next week.
Democrats and Republicans spent 14 hours on Thursday arguing the merits of the charges against Trump and potential amendments to the articles before Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-New York) called for a recess.
Trump is accused of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rivals and of obstructing Congress by trying to block its investigation.
House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
And on Thursday, political leaders took the stage.
“President Trump used his office to serve himself, to serve his private benefit,” said Congresswoman Val Demings (D-Florida, District 10). “And by doing so, he jeopardized America’s national security interests and the integrity of our precious elections. Every vote should count.”
Republicans feel these impeachment proceedings are a witch hunt.
“I think House Democrats would have you believe that somehow this impeachment effort is the outgrowth of organic activity from the president, when the reality is they have intended to impeach this president from the very beginning,” argued Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Florida, District 1).
Democrats defended Nadler’s abrupt move to end the hearing and halt additional amendments.
“We suspect there was some (Republican) strategy to drag us into the night and say, ‘the Judiciary Committee did this in the middle of the night,’ and so on,” explained Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland). “We want to do it in broad daylight, first thing in the morning. Everyone can see exactly what’s going on.”
Republicans felt ambushed the vote did not take place, arguing they would have added more amendments had they known.
“We chose to say, ‘we’ve said all we need to say, they said all they need to say, we’re finishing this up,'” Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Georgia) said in a press conference. “That was the most lack of integrity thing I’ve ever seen by a member of Congress, especially a chairman.”
The final step is the Republican-led Senate, where there is the likelihood the impeachment articles are quashed.
Five representatives from Florida are on the House Judiciary Committee.
This all stems from a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
In the phone conversation, Trump asked for a “favor,” according to an account provided by the White House. He wanted an investigation into both Democrats and Biden, a possible 2020 rival. Later it was revealed that the administration was also withholding $400 million in military aid from Ukraine.
Republicans argue the money was given to Ukraine without any investigation, and there was no quid pro quo, or favor for a favor.
Trump also wanted Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, looked into. Hunter Biden sat on the board of the Ukrainian gas company called Burisma while his father was vice president.