The House of Representatives plans to open debate on Wednesday over whether to impeach the president for the third time in American history as Democrats bring forward two articles of impeachment charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The debate will fall sharply along party lines, with Democrats asserting that Mr. Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors by pressuring Ukraine to tarnish Democratic rivals to aid his re-election campaign while Republicans argue that the majority was engaged in a partisan witch hunt against a president they fear they could not beat at the polls. The House plans to vote by the end of the day.
Rough Rundown of the Day:
In the morning, the House is expected to vote to adopt the rules that the House Rules Committee hashed out on Tuesday. This will be the first procedural vote by the full chamber to lay the groundwork for formally impeaching Mr. Trump.
Early in the day, expect a lot of parliamentary moves by the Republicans to register their opposition and slow the process, which could lead to multiple procedural votes that don’t amount to much. The votes everyone is waiting for — on the two articles of impeachment — are expected in the evening, most likely between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. The House will hold a separate vote on each of the two articles.
The House may also vote to empower Speaker Nancy Pelosi to name impeachment managers, whose identities are likely to become public in the coming days. The managers are House members who act much like prosecutors in the impeachment trial to come in the Senate, presenting the findings of the House inquiry to their colleagues across the Capitol. Senators decide whether to acquit the president or convict and remove him from office, which requires a two-thirds vote, or 67 senators if all are present.
When and Where: The morning proceedings are likely to start around 9 a.m. Eastern on the House floor.
How to Watch: The New York Times will stream the testimony live, and a team of reporters in Washington will provide updates and analysis of the events on Capitol Hill. Follow along at nytimes.com, starting a few minutes before 9.
Trump comes out swinging as Democrats lock up enough votes to impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors.
House Democrats head into the debate with the 218 votes they need to pass the articles of impeachment already in their pocket, according to a survey of members by The New York Times, but that will not stop members on both sides from engaging in hours of passionate and even angry debate before the roll is called.
Mr. Trump set the tone on Tuesday with an aggrieved and hectoring six-page letter to Ms. Pelosi accusing her of “declaring open war on American Democracy” with “an illegal, partisan attempted coup” that he called a “perversion of justice and abuse of power.” He complained he was being railroaded: “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”
Republicans will almost surely pick up many of his points on the floor on Wednesday, while Democrats make their case that Mr. Trump put his own political interests ahead of those of the country by withholding American security aid from Ukraine even as he pressed the country’s new president to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats.
If the House, as expected, approves both of the articles, Mr. Trump will find himself in the company of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, who were the other presidents impeached. President Richard M. Nixon resigned after the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment but before the full House could vote. Both Mr. Johnson and Mr. Clinton went on to be acquitted in a Senate trial, and by all accounts, it looks as if Mr. Trump will follow that pattern as well.
For Democrats, the only question is how many of their own balk at impeaching Mr. Trump.
With the final outcome seemingly preordained, perhaps the only suspense about the vote on Wednesday will be how many Democrats break with the party and oppose impeachment.
Two House Democrats who registered their opposition to the inquiry by voting against its ground rules in October, Representatives Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, plan to vote against the articles as well — and Mr. Van Drew is expected to leave the party altogether to become a Republican.
Another 14 Democrats have said they were undecided or have not responded to The Times’s survey, but only one of them, Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, represents a district won by Mr. Trump. The rest of the so-called front-line Democrats representing Republican areas announced their support for impeachment in recent days, suggesting that the party was rallying behind the effort.
No Republican has announced support for impeachment and while 30 have not said how they would vote, few expect any to break with the president.
Catch up on some important background on how we got here.
Mr. Trump and his advisers repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine for investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump politically, including one of Mr. Biden. Here’s a timeline of events since January.
Who Are the Main Characters in the Whistle-Blower’s Complaint?
President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.
Congressman: “Sir, let me repeat my question: Did you ever speak to the president about this complaint?” Congress is investigating allegations that President Trump pushed a foreign government to dig up dirt on his Democratic rivals. “It’s just a Democrat witch hunt. Here we go again.” At the heart of an impeachment inquiry is a nine-page whistle-blower complaint that names over two dozen people. Not counting the president himself, these are the people that appear the most: First, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. According to documents and interviews, Giuliani has been involved in shadowy diplomacy on behalf of the president’s interests. He encouraged Ukrainian officials to investigate the Biden family’s activities in the country, plus other avenues that could benefit Trump like whether the Ukrainians intentionally helped the Democrats during the 2016 election. It was an agenda he also pushed on TV. “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden.” “Of course I did!” A person Giuliani worked with, Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general. He pushed for investigations that would also benefit Giuliani and Trump. Lutsenko also discussed conspiracy theories about the Bidens in the U.S. media. But he later walked back his allegations, saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. This is where Hunter Biden comes in, the former vice president’s son. He served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company run by this guy, who’s had some issues with the law. While Biden was in office, he along with others, called for the dismissal of Lutsenko’s predecessor, a prosecutor named Viktor Shokin, whose office was overseeing investigations into the company that Hunter Biden was involved with. Shokin was later voted out by the Ukrainian government. Lutsenko replaced him, but was widely criticized for corruption himself. When a new president took office in May, Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky said that he’d replace Lutsenko. Giuliani and Trump? Not happy. They viewed Lutsenko as their ally. During a July 25 call between Trump and the new Ukrainian president, Trump defended him, saying, “I heard you had a prosecutor who is very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.” In that phone call, Trump also allegedly asked his counterpart to continue the investigation into Joe Biden, who is his main rival in the 2020 election. Zelensky has publicly denied feeling pressured by Trump. “In other words, no pressure.” And then finally, Attorney General William Barr, who also came up in the July 25 call. In the reconstructed transcript, Trump repeatedly suggested that Zelensky’s administration could work with Barr and Giuliani to investigate the Bidens and other matters of political interest to Trump. Since the whistle-blower complaint was made public, Democrats have criticized Barr for dismissing allegations that Trump had violated campaign finance laws during his call with Zelensky and not passing along the complaint to Congress. House Democrats have now subpoenaed several people mentioned in the complaint, as an impeachment inquiry into the president’s conduct continues.
President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCredit…Illustration by The New York Times
Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com