Published: Fri, December 13, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

USA lawmakers begin debate over Trump impeachment

USA lawmakers begin debate over Trump impeachment

The House Judiciary Committee pushed deliberately toward a historic vote today to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, split sharply along party lines.

Democrats on Tuesday unveiled the two articles of impeachment -abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Republicans repeatedly asserted that Trump has committed no crime, and they quickly moved to dismiss the first charge - abuse of power - in the nine-page resolution.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham expounded on plans to "deep six" the impeachment trial into President Donald Trump in a Fox News interview.

The president faces impeachment due to his efforts to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into discredited claims that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden acted corruptly in the Eastern European nation to benefit his son Hunter Biden's business dealings there, and into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine-not Russia-interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

The top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, called the proceedings a "farce" and said they should be halted until his side was provided a chance for its own hearing.

Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, said Democrats were only impeaching Mr Trump because "they don't like the 63 million people who voted for this president, all of us in flyover country, all of us common folk". "The president had a longstanding skepticism of foreign aid and a deeply-held belief that Ukraine was corrupt, and not a good destination for American taxpayer dollars".

The committee would likely vote later yesterday to send the articles to the full House, which is expected to vote next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that if the House votes to impeach the president, a trial in the Republican-led chamber would be senators' "first order of business".

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They're likely to hit the House floor and be approved there next week, making Trump the third president in US history to be impeached.

Democrats chided Republicans for their loyalty to Trump.

"There will be no difference between the president's position and our position", McConnell said, "as to how to handle this to the extent that we can".

In a sign the pending committee vote to advance the articles of impeachment to the House floor was a foregone conclusion, House Democrats reportedly have already planned a vote for next Wednesday to impeach Trump.

The looming House vote sets in motion a process in a divided Congress that is politically risky for both Democrats and Republicans ahead of national elections in 2020.

But Jordan of OH insisted Democrats were impeaching because "they don't like us" - referring to Trump voters in what he called "fly-over" states like his. He said the media should focus on Trump's accomplishments "instead of obsessing over how many times the president has tweeted". Trump has said he wants a full trial that could turn the tables on Democrats by demanding testimony from Biden and others.

The committee, made up of some of the most strident Democrats and Republicans in Congress, clashed for hours in pointed and at times emotional debate, drawing on history and the Constitution to argue over the two charges.

A full vote by the Democratic-run House next week will likely make him the third U.S. president ever impeached.

Graham then insisted that he has no desire to call Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Bidens to testify.

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