The House Judiciary Committee on Friday voted along party lines to send two articles of impeachment to the House floor for a full vote next week, marking a major step forward in the pursuit of holding President Donald Trump accountable for his alleged misbehavior with respect to Ukraine and the 2020 election.
"Mine isn't a vote against any single person," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who voted for both articles. "It is a vote for We, the People."
Today, I voted to send Articles of Impeachment – charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – to the entire People’s House for consideration.— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) December 13, 2019
Mine isn’t a vote against any single person. It is a vote for We, the People. pic.twitter.com/tcqwkIDFM7
Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) bemoaned the lack of cooperation from the White House on the probe in comments after the vote to reporters but said that the actions of the president left Congress no choice.
"If the president can first abuse his power and then stonewall all congressional requests for information, Congress cannot fulfill its duty to act as a check and balance against the Executive," said Nadler, "and the president becomes a dictator."
"The article is agreed to."— ABC News (@ABC) December 13, 2019
Chair Jerry Nadler quickly adjourns the House Judiciary Committee after the historic votes to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House of Representatives. https://t.co/EPAxCIAgAY pic.twitter.com/oY8gc5yrlh
The articles are based on Trump's pressuring, via the withholding of military aid, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce his country's justice system was investigating Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a frontrunner for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination. The scheme was exposed by a whistleblower in September.
The Judiciary Committee sent charges of obstruction of justice and abuse of power to the full chamber on a 23-17 vote.
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Democrats on the committee framed the vote as an unfortunate but necessary step that had to be taken to rein in an out of control executive.
"I believe the president abused the power of his office, putting his own interests above the needs of our nation, above the needs of the people I love and serve—and for that, I must vote my conscience," said Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.)
If, as is assumed to be the case, the Democrat-dominated House approves the articles passed out of the Judiciary Committee Friday, the process moves to the Republican-domainted Senate where Senators will hold a trial to decide on whether or not to remove Trump from office. As Common Dreams reported earlier Friday, a conviction in the upper chamber is unlikely—due to expected political machinations from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-Ky.) who on Thursday vowed "total coordination" with the White House on the trial.
In a statement, advocacy group Stand Up America founder and president Sean Eldridge said that letting the Ukraine scandal go would only embolden the president.
"Donald Trump has shown time and again that he is willing to abuse the power of his office and conceal the evidence of his high crimes for his own gain," said Eldridge, "and unless he is removed from office, Trump's corruption will only become more brazen."
With a full vote on the articles expected next week, Eldridge expressed hope that members will set aside partisanship for country.
"We call on every lawmaker—Democrats and Republicans—to show their loyalty to our country and our Constitution by voting to impeach Donald Trump," Eldridge said.