House Judiciary Committee approves articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump

13 December 2019, 15:41

President Donald Trump (left) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler
President Donald Trump (left) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. Picture: PA

By Megan White

A House of Representatives committee has approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The vote on the House Judiciary Committee was split along party lines, with 23 Democrats voting in favour and 17 Republicans opposed.

The abuse of power charge stems from Mr Trump's July phone call with the Ukrainian president pressuring him to announce an investigation of Democrats as he was withholding US aid.

The obstruction charge involves the US president's blocking of House efforts to investigate his actions. He has denied wrongdoing.

The full House will vote on the articles next week.

Voting came after two days of hearings at the Capitol and a 14-hour session that was abruptly shut down late on Thursday when the Democratic majority refused to be forced into midnight voting.

Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, who had said he wanted legislators to "search their consciences" before casting their votes, led the landmark morning session.

Early on Friday, the president took to Twitter to praise the panel's "warrior" Republicans, saying: "They were fantastic yesterday."

Mr Trump is only the fourth US president to face impeachment proceedings and the first to be running for re-election at the same time.

He insists he did nothing wrong and blasts the Democrats' daily as a sham and harmful to America.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sounded confident on Thursday that Democrats, who once tried to avoid a solely partisan effort, will have the votes to impeach the president without Republican support when the full House votes.

But she said it was up to individual lawmakers to weigh the evidence.

She said: "The fact is we take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

"No one is above the law; the president will be held accountable for his abuse of power and for his obstruction of Congress."

The president has refused to participate in the proceedings, mocking the charges against him in the House's nine-page resolution as "impeachment light."

But Ms Pelosi said the president was wrong and the case against him is deeply grounded.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Fox News: "There is zero chance the president will be removed from office."