On the eve of the House Judiciary Committee scheduled vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Democrats argued late Wednesday that Congress must hold the president accountable, while Republicans charged that the only abuse of power was by the Democrats.
The abuse of power article is focused on Trump's requests to Ukraine and the holdup of aid that was released on September 11, while the obstruction article stems from the president's directive that top officials not participate in the congressional impeachment probe.
In publicly releasing the articles on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "A president who declares himself above accountability, above the American people and above Congress's power of impeachment, which is meant to protect against threats to our democratic institutions, is a president who sees himself as above the law".
In the formal articles announced Tuesday, the Democrats said Trump enlisted a foreign power in "corrupting" the US election process and endangered national security by asking Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, including Biden, while withholding USA military aid as leverage.
The final step in the process would be a trial in the Republican-majority Senate, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday would happen next month."Assuming that House Democrats send us articles of impeachment next week, a Senate trial will have to be our first item of business in January", McConnell said.More news: Five Afghans wounded in blast outside main USA base in Kabul
The House Judiciary Committee is due to begin considering those charges at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (0000 GMT) and is expected to approve them on Thursday. According to another survey released by Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, two more incumbent Democrats could face backlash if they choose to back their party's impeachment efforts.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., later turned to Republicans, and said, "Wake up". Freshman Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia emotionally talked about losing her son to gun violence and said that while impeachment was not why she came to Washington, she wants to "fight for an America that my son Jordan would be proud of". "They don't like the 63 million people who voted for this president, all of us in flyover country, all of us common folk in Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Texas".
Trump has maintained that he did nothing wrong and that Democrats are trying to undo his victory in the 2016 election.
"President Trump's high crimes threaten our democracy", said Democratic Representative Hank Johnson.
The articles of impeachment unveiled on Tuesday do not draw on other, more contentious aspects of Trump's tenure, such as his efforts to impede former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe.More news: Iran Expects Additional Prisoner Swaps With US
"They're impeaching me and there are no crimes". The start of debate sets in motion a process that will probably move to a trial in the US Senate.
"The power to impeach is not to punish a president".
The House is expected to vote on the charges, possibly after holding a daylong debate that could involve all 431 of its current legislators. "Stop deflecting and distracting and treating those you represent as if they don't see what's going on, like they're not smart enough to realize that you are willfully ignoring the facts to protect a corrupt and unsafe president".
The Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the articles later this week. "No decisions have been made yet".More news: McIlroy refuses to play in Saudi, despite US$2.5 mil offer