A lingering question is whether the House will send the articles to the Senate, where Trump would face a trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that “their intention” is to send impeachment to the upper chamber, but “we’ll see what happens over where.” Some Democrats have dangled the idea of withholding the articles until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agrees to a fair trial.
After the vote, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), one of two Democrats to vote against impeachment, was surrounded by reporters as he told them that he will announce in the next few days whether he plans to leave the party and register as a Republican. “You will know very soon,” he said.
Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) told Deadline that the vote for impeachment was “painful.”
“It tested our democracy and we just had to do what we did,” she said.
She also said that she was “furious” that some Democrats clapped after the first article of impeachment was approved. “We have repeated that over and over again in our caucus. It was a solemn moment. We took a vote to protect the Constitution and our democracy,” she said.
She was in Clinton’s cabinet when he was impeached in 1998.
“But Clinton admitted his mistake,” she said. “He never stopped anyone from coming up to testify. He turned over whatever papers were necessary. He never obstructed justice. He lied about an affair.” She said she was “shocked” that no Republicans voted for impeachment.
In the impeachment article of abuse of power, Trump is charged with pressuring the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate POTUS’ political rival, Joe Biden, along with his son, Hunter. Trump also is charged with obstructing Congress by urging witnesses not to testify or honor subpoenas as Democrats conducted their investigation.
During six hours of debate throughout the day on Wednesday, Republicans repeatedly called the impeachment effort a sham and claimed that Democrats have been looking for such an outcome ever since Trump took office in January 2017.
As the debate extended into the early evening, members began to get a bit more raucous. When Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) said that Democrats “don’t just hate Donald Trump,” but “they hate the 63 million Americans who voted for this president,” Democrats began to jeer. Republicans clapped as Scalise finished.
Polls show the public generally remains split on the question of impeachment — an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on Wednesday put it at 48% to 48% — and the nature of the daylong debate reflected the polarization on Capitol Hill. Since the impeachment inquiry was announced in September, views seemed to have only hardened.
“If you head a new argument, if you’ve heard a new fact, you’ve had a more interesting experience than I have had,” Fox News’ Chris Wallace said midday. “There are a lot of impassioned speeches being made, but we’ve heard it all before. The Democrats, nobody is above the law. The Republicans, you’ve wanted to impeach this man since he took the oath of office in 2017.”
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