The House Judiciary Committee abruptly postponed a historic vote late Thursday on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, shutting down a nearly 14-hour session that dragged with partisanship but had been expected to end with the formal charges being sent to the full House for a vote next week.
Approval of the two charges against the president is still expected Friday in the committee. But the sudden turn punctuated the deep split in the Congress, and the nation, over impeaching the president. The committee, made up of some of the most strident lawmakers, clashed all day and into the night as Republicans insisted on lengthy debate over amendments designed to kill the two formal charges against the president. But they had no hope of winning votes from the majority Democrats.
Chairman Jerrold Nadler, said the committee would resume at 10 a.m. Friday.
“It is now very late at night,” Nadler said after presiding over the two-day session. “I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these past two days and to search their consciences before they cast their final votes.”
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.
The Republicans on the panel, blindsided by the move, were livid. When Nadler announced that the committee wouldn’t vote until the morning, gasps were heard at the dais, and Republicans immediately started yelling “unbelievable” and “they just want to be on TV.” Congress is set to be out of session on Friday and many lawmakers had other plans, some outside of Washington.
“This is the kangaroo court that we’re talking about” stormed Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel, who said he had not been consulted on the decision. “ They do not care about rules, they have one thing, their hatred of Donald Trump. ”
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.-AP