The upcoming vote on impeachment articles against President Donald Trump are getting nearer with the house committee debating which formal charges are expected to be voted on by the full House.
With two articles of impeachment due to be approved by the House Judiciary Committee, it is expected that the Democratic-controlled House will make Republican Trump the third president to be impeached in American history.
Trump, who has been charged with obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, would have to be tried at the Senate, where the chamber – which is Republican led – will be less like to declare him guilty meaning Trump will be able to remain in charge.
And it appears that in an attempt to ‘punish’ the Democrats, the Republicans are ensuring the House Judiciary Committee proceedings have been elongated with amendments being brought forward that could potentially weaken the articles of impeachment, although they knew there would be minimum chances of them being adopted.
And with the continuing debate over five amendments, the Democratic majority finally voted against them. These amendments made the proceedings last far longer than were necessary and while some lawmakers had to reiterate several points continuously, a few of their colleagues were spotted to have fallen asleep.
At the twelfth hour of debates, Tom McClintock, a frustrated Republican Representative, was heard to complain that he had ‘not heard a new point or an original thought from either side in the last three hours’, saying:
‘If I could just offer a modest suggestion: if no one has anything new to add, that they resist the temptation to inflict what we’ve already heard over and over again.’
Several other Republicans on the panel also complained saying the Democrats were continuing to ‘overplay’ their hand as they frantically tried to cancel out the results from the presidential election in 2016.
The Republicans also claimed that their rights had been ignored in the enquiry and demanded yet another hearing, however this was denied through the panel’s Democratic majority’s vote. The Republicans also wanted to strike the first charge of abuse of power, however a party-line vote ensures that the committee had to reject it.
Republican U.S. Representative Debbie Lesko commented that ‘rules have just been thrown out the window in this process. It continues to amaze me how corrupt, how unfair this process has been from the start’.
One of the main points of focus is the accusation from the Democrats that President Trump attempted to force Ukraine into investigating his political rival Joe Biden and obstructing Congress when they attempted to investigate the issue, making this an abuse of his power. Former Vice President Biden is the Democrats’ leading nomination to challenge Trump in 2020.
However Republicans claimed ‘abuse of power’ had become the go to phrase for any Democratic complaints about the president, saying there actually were not any crimes alleged in the impeachment articles.
Matt Gaetz, Republican Representative, stated that ‘this notion of abuse of power is the lowest of low-energy impeachment theories’, while many Democrats criticized the Republicans for their continued loyalty to the accused man.
Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal commented:
‘Forget about President Trump. Will any one of my colleagues on the other side say that it is an abuse of power to condition aid on official acts? Is any one of my colleagues willing to say that it is ever ok for a president of the United States of America to invite foreign interference in our elections?’
Trump has refuted all claims against him and slated the inquiry as a ‘hoax’ tweeting ‘No crime!’ on Twitter.
The main focus of the impeachment inquiry resides on a 25 July telephone call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and U.S. President Donald Trump. In the call it is alleged that Zelenskiy was asked to look into both Biden and son Hunter.
Both current and former employees of the Trump administration have been briefed that they are not allowed to produce any documentation nor testify which in turn has led to some employees – including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – to disregard House subpoenas.
These are the acts that the Democrats claims are Trump’s attempts to obstruct Congress.
Trump does seem to be keeping informed of what is happening – he has been known to send some delegates in to watch the proceedings – and has been tweeting responses to arguments the Democrats have made, in real time.
Referring to the telephone call in July with Ukraine, Trump declared the Democrats were falsifying his talks, stating the whole process was a ‘phony hearing’.
Speaking to reporters, Nancy Pelosi – House Speaker – announced that once approved the full House would take up the articles of impeachment. With Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic chairman stating ‘the articles of impeachment will pass’.
It is expected that the charges will be taken to a Senate trial within the month.