The articles allege that Trump put his personal interests above U.S. national security by pressuring Ukraine to open investigations into his Democratic adversaries. Then, the articles state, Trump waged an unprecedented campaign to block impeachment investigators from obtaining witness testimony and documents as they sought to probe the allegations.
“Today is a solemn and sad day,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said. “For the third time in a little over a century and a half, the House Judiciary Committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president — for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.”
“The House will act expeditiously,” he added.
The committee abruptly paused its proceedings just after 11 p.m. Thursday night, after a 14-hour session during which Republicans offered several amendments aimed at chipping away at the articles — all rejected by Democrats. Nadler postponed the final votes until Friday morning, a move that aides said reflected a preference to vote during the light of day.
Lawmakers were seated behind the dais for less than 10 minutes Friday morning as the committee’s clerk administered two separate roll-call votes on the articles. By 10:12 a.m., the committee had favorably reported both articles of impeachment, on party-line 23-17 votes, to the House floor.
“This is the most serious vote I think anyone on this committee has ever taken and will ever take,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a member of the Judiciary Committee who serves as chairman of House Democrats’ messaging arm. “This is a vote we were compelled to take based on the evidence and the Constitution.”
Democrats and Republicans sat stoically as their names were called, exuding confidence with their calls of “aye” or “no.” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) held up a pocket Constitution with her right hand as she recorded her “aye” vote; while Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) asked the clerk to confirm his “no” vote.
Next week’s impeachment vote on the House floor will trigger a Senate trial, with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, in January. Trump’s allies expect the GOP-controlled chamber will acquit him swiftly — it takes a two-thirds vote of the 100-member body to remove a sitting president — but Republican senators are still deciding whether to ultimately allow Trump to call witnesses.