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