House Judiciary Committee Approves Articles Of Impeachment

For only the fourth time in history, the House Judiciary Committee has approved Articles of Impeachment against a sitting President.

As expected, the House Judiciary Committee has voted along party lines to approve Articles of Impeachment against President Donald J. Trump, leading to the expectation that, at some point next week, the House of Representatives will vote to impeach a President for only the third time in American history:

WASHINGTON — A fiercely divided House Judiciary Committee pushed President Trump to the brink of impeachment on Friday, voting along party lines to approve charges that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress.

After a fractious two-day debate steeped in the Constitution and shaped by the realities of a hyperpartisan era in American politics, the Democratic-controlled committee recommended that the House ratify two articles of impeachment against the 45th president. In back-to-back morning votes, they adopted each charge against Mr. Trump by a margin of 23 to 17 over howls of Republican protest.

The partisan result and the contentious debate that preceded it were harbingers of a historic proceeding and vote on the House floor, expected next week, to impeach Mr. Trump, whose nearly three-year tenure has exacerbated the nation’s political divisions. Mr. Trump, who insists he did nothing wrong, is now only the fourth American president in history to face impeachment by the House of Representatives for “high crimes and misdemeanors” and possible conviction and removal from office by the Senate.

The charges ratified on Friday arise from a House Intelligence Committee investigation that concluded this fall that the president has manipulated his administration to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his political rival, and a theory that Democrats conspired with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election. He did so, Democrats allege, using as leverage nearly $400 million in security assistance for Ukraine’s fight against Russia and a coveted White House meeting for its president.

The process from here is basically the same as that which would happen to any other piece of legislation voted out of committee in the House of Representatives. First, the matter will go to the House Rules Committee, which will meet either Monday or Tuesday to agree on the package of rules that will control the debate that will take place on the House floor with specific regard to the Articles of Impeachment. These rules will govern how long the debate will be and the other circumstances that will lead up to the final vote on the matter. The committee will also set the rules on what, if any, attempted amendments can be added to the Articles. From the Rules Committee, the matter will go to the House floor where the House will first vote on the Rules package and, assuming it is approved which it likely will be, will then move on to debate the Articles of Impeachment over the designated period of time. After that time has expired the House will vote on the final Articles of Impeachment, which will most likely be approved on a party-line vote, with independent Justin Amash most likely joining the Democrats to approve the Articles. At that point, Donald Trump will become only the third President in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

From there, of course, the matter goes to the Senate where the outcome seems foreordained. With Republicans holding a 53 seat majority, the odds of 67 members of the Senate voting to remove the President from office. The most we can expect is that a small handful of Republicans might vote with Democrats on one or more of the articles. The most likely candidates in that regard would appear to be Senators like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney. Most Republican Senators, though, will remain loyal to the President either because they believe him or, in many cases, out of fear of what opposing him could do to their political career.

From the viewpoint of history, there’s no doubt that this is a significant and historic move. This is only the fourth time in American history that the Judiciary Committee has voted out Articles of Impeachment against a sitting President. On one occasion, that led to the first and so far the only resignation of a President. On two others it led to a trial in the Senate that resulted in acquittal rather than removal from office. In this case, it looks fairly certain that this will join the impeachments of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton in ending in an acquittal. Nonetheless, the impeachment itself will still stand and it will likely be the part of the first lines of President Trump’s eventual obituary and biography. Given the seriousness of what the President did here, that alone is important. With the Senate likely to acquit, though, President Trump’s ultimate fate will have to await the judgment of voters on November 3rd, 2020

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, Congress, Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    While the HJC was voting, Rudy, just back from Ukraine, was visiting the White House; he is paid by Parnas, who is paid by Russia, to fabricate dirt on Trump’s political opponent. So the crime spree continues, unabated.
    For years Republicans preached about what they stood for; rule of law, family values, fiscal responsibility, strong foreign policy.
    Now, the world can see that it was all pure bullshit.
    Republicans were always just a bunch of submissive sissy-bitches, waiting for someone like Putin to be their Daddy.
    The party of Buckley and Reagan, is now the party of Putin.
    And the United States, as we knew it, is finished.

  2. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Well, I’m feeling much the same. I doubt there will be a removal. The election ahead looks tough. And in five years time, there might not be a United Kingdom, it having been fractured over Brexit. I guess Wales will stick with England, but UK and N. Ireland almost certainly won’t.

    But we’ve got through hard times before. Is this worse than Pearl Harbor? Is this worse than Lincoln’s assassination? or the Civil War, for that matter? I think we’ll make it through this, though we will very likely be changed by it.

  3. @Jay L Gischer:

    Unless Parliament authorizes another Scottish referedum, which is unlikely, the U,K. will still be around.

  4. Jay L Gischer says:

    Oh, an addendum. I think Parnas and Fruman, whose arrest was mostly a matter of serendipity, are a gift that’s going to keep on giving. There’s no way to spin them into heroic defenders of America. And they are place in a web of relationships that, while it’s going to take time to untangle and trace down, will be done, if not in a criminal investigation, in a counterintelligence one.

    They are stuck to the Oil Mob, and aren’t going to be unstuck.

  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I think we’ll make it through this, though we will very likely be changed by it.

    I would argue, yes, it is worse. This isn’t an assassination, or an attack (although we were attacked), or even a war.
    Republicans, by their lack of action, are removing Congress from it’s primary role in our Government. The Legislative branch no longer serves a purpose. There are no longer checks and balances.
    McConnell stole the Supreme Court, and now he is giving away Congress. All for a Russian asset (likely unwitting).
    This is not a singular incident, something that we can recover from. It is a wholesale change to our system of Government.
    The Executive is now, for all intents and purposes, a King.

  6. Joe says:

    @Jay L Gischer: when recounting shady Constitutional days in our past, let’s not forget the seating of Hayes over the almost certainly victorious Tilden in exchange for the hasty ending of Reconstruction.

  7. JKB says:

    Yes, a terrible legacy. The man elected to drain the Swamp and push back at the Administrative State is impeached for daring to stand up to unelected bureaucrats and their fellow travelers in Congress by presuming he is the head of the Executive Branch as specified in the Constitution.

    Administrative State Strikes Back.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: being the head of the Executive Branch doesn’t mean you are above the law.

  9. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I tend to agree. When the legislative branch is nothing but a rubber stamp, it doesn’t matter what business it conducts or whether even it conducts any business at all. Then it may not even exist for all the relevance it has.

    At some point, one begins to wonder whether a prominent Democrat should not invoke the memory of King Henry II.

  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    impeached for daring to stand up to unelected bureaucrats and their fellow travelers in Congress

    You obviously haven’t been paying attention.
    He was impeached for using your money and my money to bribe a foreign official to fabricate dirt on his own, personal, domestic political opponent. And then obstructing the investigation of that bribery.

  11. Kathy says:


    Y entre cuatro paredes y un techo
    se reventó contra su pecho
    pena tras pena
    tuve entre mis manos el universo
    e hicimos del pasado un verso
    perdido dentro de un poema.

    Y entonces, llegaron ellos.
    Me sacaron a empujones de mi casa
    y me encerraron entre estas cuatro paredes blancas
    Donde vienen a verme mis amigos,
    de dos en dos,
    de mes en mes,
    y de seis a siete.

  12. Jay L Gischer says:

    Oh, I forgot one of our worst anti-constitutional moments: Indian Removal under Jackson.

    Contrary to many Star Wars fans, The Last Jedi is one of my favorite films of all time. One reason why comes when Luke says to Rae: “It’s conceited to think that hope dies with the Jedi.”

    Mitch McConnell is something of a cipher to me. I know facts about him that are wildly contradictory. For instance, he recently advised his caucus to oppose impeachment proceedings on process, not on substance. Earlier in Trump’s term, he saw the Senate approve sanctions on Russia by a vote of 98-0. He is privy to all the intel chatter. The Senate Intel committee has produced reports that spell out, step by step, Russian interference in our electoral process.

    And here he is, backstopping the president in spite of all these facts that indicate he knows what’s going on, and just what kind of hole we are in.

    I do know this. If he should decided to turn on Trump, the backstab will be spectacular, and it will be fatal. He’s no amateur at this. I don’t know that that will happen. He might well be planning for a Trump loss next fall, and is hoping to keep his own majority in the Senate. But there’s no way we will ever know what his mind actually is. Maybe not even decades from now, or after he’s dead. He has too much to gain from remaining a cipher.

  13. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: My Spanish is not great. And my understanding of Spanish-speaking culture is really poor.

    When I put that into Google Translate, I see something that is beautiful, but I’m not sure how it applies. But when I just put the first line into Google I get something that is kind of hilarious and makes me want to opera clap and shout, “Oh, well played! Well played indeed!”

    Mind you, I’m still not sure that’s what you had in mind.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    That one’s actually a really sad song from Joan Manuel Serrat, about a man suffering from delusions(*). The ending is they lock him up in a padded room. I quoted the last part only.

    The first portion of the quote is more or less:

    And in between four walls and a ceiling
    She burst against her breast (I don’t really get that line in Spanish)
    Shame after shame (also don’t get it)
    I held the universe in my hands
    And we made a verse out of the past
    Lost within a poem.

    Poetry just doesn’t translate well.

    (*) he carries on a love affair with a storefront mannequin.

  15. Jay L Gischer says:

    Lines 2 and 3 sort of make sense if you jam them together:
    She burst against her breast shame after shame

    Your “breast” as in your chest, where your heart is, is where you feel things. I think that means that locked in the padded room, you can’t escape feelings, but neither can the people on the outside who put you there. They try to contain it by making a poem about it.

    That’s sad and sweet and less snarky than what I came up with.

    Weirdly, when I put “Y entre cuatro paredes y un techo” it brought up this:

  16. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Pena can also mean embarrassment, sorrow, pity, regret.

    also, poets sometimes will use formulas. Essentially phrases that add little, or nothing, but take up meter and rhyme. Homer was notorious for this, and ti comes across even in prose translations.

    Serrat is a good poet. so good, even some rather offensive lyrics sound good.

    As to your previous question, I’m trying to annoy the trolls by triggering their xenophobia 😉

    I’ll stop. the joke is wearing thin. and the trolls aren’t leaving anyway.

    Just one more:

    Toda mi esperanza, eres tú, eres tú
    como lluvia fresca en mis manos
    como fuerte brisa, eres tú, eres tú
    así, así, eres tú.

    eres tú, como el agua de mi fuente
    eres tú, algo así como el fuego de mi hoguera.
    Algo así eres tú.
    eres tú, como el trigo de mi pan
    Algo así eres tú.
    Como el fuego de mi hogar.

  17. Tyrell says:

    If the Apostle Paul was president, Adam Schief would be trying to dig up dirt and impeach him!
    They would be wasting their time.
    “What goes around comes around”

  18. Moosebreath says:


    “What goes around comes around”

    Did you say that after the 11th Benghazi investigation? Because that was very explicitly an investigation by Congress to harm a candidate for President before the election. Or in other words, exactly what the Republicans are pretending the impeachment investigation is about.

  19. JKB says:

    This is sad. At the same time that Democrats were passing the “written accusations” against Trump, the SCOTUS was mooting Article II: Contempt of Congress by granting cert to the challenge to the House subpoenas for the president’s tax records. By this act, the SCOTUS is admitting that the assertion of privilege and seeking judicial branch adjudication of the conflict with Congress is a fact question.

    The whole House should not pass Article II, but if they do, the Senate should summarily dismiss it as without merit. Or evidence since the Democrats in the House refused to seek judicial review of the properly asserted claims of privilege.

  20. Nightcrawler says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Is this worse than Pearl Harbor? Is this worse than Lincoln’s assassination? or the Civil War, for that matter?

    Yes it is, because we have a madman in cahoots with white supremacists who has control of a nuclear arsenal. That didn’t exist before. Neither did bioweapons, in an age where said madman has gutted the CDC and other public health and science agencies that could have defended us.

    Hell, even a naturally occurring, 1918-style flu will take this country down.

    I think we’ll make it through this, though we will very likely be changed by it.

    Most of us won’t. Pockets of humanity will survive a nuclear holocaust, a bioattack, or a deadly pandemic, so the human species won’t go extinct, but most of us are doomed.

  21. Nightcrawler says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    A king in charge of a nuclear arsenal.