House to debate Trump impeachment before historic vote

Posted at 8:03 AM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 17:57:08-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on whether or not to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

The House Rules Committee adopted guidelines Tuesday that spell out how the vote will likely go down. Under those rules, Democrats and Republicans will have six hours to debate the impeachment articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The time will be split evenly between the two parties.

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The debate is set to be controlled by Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Doug Collins (Ga.), the top Democrat and Republican members of the Judiciary Committee.

After the six hours have elapsed, the House will vote on the articles of impeachment individually. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that enough House members have committed to voting to approve the articles. If that is the case, Trump would become the third American president to ever be impeached.

In the event the articles are passed, the House will likely approve a resolution that would allow impeachment managers to be named and the next phase of the impeachment process would begin with a trial in the Senate next year.

The impeachment inquiry was launched in September after a whistleblower came forward with information about a July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the call, Trump allegedly asked Zelensky to “do us a favor” by opening investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and the interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In particular, Democrats allege that Trump used the promise of a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in U.S. aid that had been approved by Congress as leverage to get Zelensky to make a public commitment about the proposed probes.

Democrats argue that Trump abused his office by pressing Ukrainian leaders to find dirt on political rivals and obstructed Congress when lawmakers sought to investigate the incident.

Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing. In a fiery letter sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, the president defended his “absolutely perfect” phone call that sparked the impeachment inquiry. He also tried to justify the Ukrainian investigations he wanted into Biden. And, he disputed the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress’ investigation.