House likely to impeach Trump
President attacks Dems for impeachment focus in letter to Pelosi
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is on track to be impeached by the House with the majority in favor ahead of voting, according to a tally compiled by The Associated Press.
No Republicans have indicated they will support impeachment, setting up a party-line vote carried by Democrats.
One by one, centrist Democrats, including many freshman lawmakers who risk reelection in districts where the president is popular, announced this week that they would support the articles of impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is all but certain to have the numbers as debate begins Wednesday on the two articles of impeachment that charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The first article on abuse of power has a majority.
Trump is angrily objecting to the impeachment charges, accusing Democrats of “perversion of justice and abuse of power” in their effort to remove him from office.
In a fiery letter Tuesday to Pelosi on the eve of his expected impeachment, Trump maintained that he did nothing wrong in seeking foreign investigation of political rivals, and he attacked Democrats for focusing on impeachment rather than other issues.
Trump also repeated his objections to the process of the House inquiry, claiming “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”
Trump said he doesn’t believe
his letter will change anything, but he is registering his objections “for the purpose of history.”
Meanwhile at the Capitol, House Democrats and Republicans sparred over the rules of debate for Wednesday’s historic votes on impeaching Trump, dispatching the lofty rhetoric of constitutional duty for the rugged politics of the House action and Senate trial that is expected to follow.
The Democratic-majority House Rules Committee met through the day Tuesday, with lawmakers arguing over the parameters for Wednesday’s debate, which is expected to culminate in votes to make Trump the third president to be impeached in American history.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to be here today, but the actions of the president of the United States make that necessary,” said Chairman Jim McGovern, DMass. “The evidence is as clear as it is overwhelming.”
He said the president “jeopardized our national security and ... undermined our democracy.”
He added: “Every day we let President Trump act like the law doesn’t apply to him, we move a little closer” to rule by dictators.
Republicans disagreed. The top committee Republican, Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, said the split view among Americans over impeachment should be reason enough not to proceed with the rare action. “When half of Americans are telling you what you are doing is wrong, you should listen,” he said.
House Democrats are planning Wednesday to launch the debate and, likely, votes to impeach Trump, formally accusing him of abusing his power as president in dealing with Ukraine to help himself politically and then obstructing Congress by blocking the later investigation. Votes will follow. “We must impeach this president,” said a statement from Democratic Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, an Air Force veteran who is among a group of newly-elected former national security officials calling for impeachment. “I grieve for our nation. But I cannot let history mark the behavior of our President as anything other than an unacceptable violation of his oath of office.”
Pelosi, who warned against pursuing a strictly partisan impeachment, is now all but certain to have the numbers as voting begins.
As impeachment appears set in the House, attention is shifting to the Senate which, under the
Constitution, is required to hold a trial on the charges.
It is expected to begin in January.
Hoping to dispatch with lengthy proceedings, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rejecting the Democrats’ push for fresh impeachment testimony in a last-ditch plea for the House to “turn back from the cliff” of Wednesday’s expected vote.
McConnell’s remarks Tuesday effectively slapped the door shut on negotiations for a deal proposed by the Democratic leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who wants to call top White House officials for the Senate trial, which is set to start next year if the House impeaches Trump.
“If House Democrats’ case is this deficient, this thin, the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it here in the Senate,” McConnell said. “The answer is that the House should not impeach on this basis in the first place.”
McConnell and most GOP senators prefer a swift trial. Senate Democrats want to hear from John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney and others as the proceedings push to the chamber for the trial.
“Why is the leader, why is the president so afraid to have these witnesses come testify?” asked Schumer from the Senate floor. “They certainly ought to be heard.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is all but certain to have the numbers to impeach President Donald Trump.
Fog settles Tuesday over the Capitol, where the House is preparing to vote Wednesday on articles of impeachment.