WASHINGTON - The House Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The charges now go to the full House for an expected vote next week.
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The abuse of power charge stems from Trump's July phone call with the Ukraine president pressuring him to announce an investigation of Democrats as he was withholding US aid. The obstruction charge involves Trump's blocking of House efforts to investigate his actions. Trump has denied wrongdoing.
The committee, made up of some of the most strident lawmakers, clashed all day and into the night Thursday as Republicans insisted on lengthy debate over amendments designed to kill the two formal charges against the president but with no hope of winning votes from the majority Democrats.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., right, are seen during a House Judiciary Committee markup of Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump on Dec. 12, 2019 in Washington,
Early Friday, Trump took to Twitter to praise the panel's Republicans, saying “they were fantastic yesterday.”
“It always helps to have a much better case, in fact the Dems have no case at all, but the unity & sheer brilliance of these Republican warriors, all of them, was a beautiful sight to see,” the president tweeted. “Dems had no answers and wanted out!”
Approval of the two charges against the president sends the matter to the full House for a vote expected next week.
Trump is accused, in the first article, of abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden while holding military aid as leverage, and, in the second, of obstructing Congress by blocking the House's efforts to probe his actions.
Trump is only the fourth U.S. president to face impeachment proceedings and the first to be running for reelection at the same time. The outcome of the eventual House votes pose potentially serious political consequences for both parties ahead of the 2020 elections, with Americans deeply divided over whether the president indeed conducted impeachable acts and if it should be up to Congress, or the voters, to decide whether he should remain in office.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi sounded confident Thursday that Democrats, who once tried to avoid a solely partisan effort, will have the votes to impeach the president without Republican support when the full House votes. But she said it was up to individual lawmakers to weigh the evidence.
“The fact is we take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," Pelosi told reporters. "No one is above the law; the president will be held accountable for his abuse of power and for his obstruction of Congress.”
The president insists he did nothing wrong and blasts the Democrats' effort daily as a sham and harmful to America. Republican allies seem unwavering in their opposition to expelling Trump, and he claims to be looking ahead to swift acquittal in a Senate trial.
The House is expected to vote on the articles in the days before Christmas. That would send the impeachment effort to the Senate for a 2020 trial.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.