The House Judiciary Committee voted to adopt two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Friday morning, sending the matter to the full House for a vote next week.
The articles accuse Trump of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election and of obstructing the impeachment inquiry. Both articles were adopted on party-line votes, with all 23 Democrats in favor and all 17 Republicans opposed.
The vote followed a marathon 14-hour hearing on Thursday, which did not end until after 11 p.m., during which a series of Republican amendments to the articles were rejected.
The committee was initially expected to vote on Thursday night. Chairman Jerrold Nadler infuriated Republicans when he announced late Thursday that the vote would be delayed until Friday morning.
Nadler argued Thursday that Trump had placed his own political interests above the national interest, calling that “the highest of Constitutional crimes — an abuse of power.”
“The president must be impeached to safeguard the security of our elections, and to safeguard the separation of powers, both of which are essential to safeguard our liberties,” Nadler said.
Under the rules, each member was allowed five minutes to comment on every proposed amendment. Many of the Republicans used their time to laud Trump’s accomplishments, commenting on the strength of the economy and the appointment of conservative judges.
Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Republican from Texas, used his time to apologize to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, to Trump and to the American people.
“I’m sorry, President Trump, that you’ve tried to keep every promise, you’ve given us a great economy and you’ve done it against incredible headwinds where you’ve been falsely accused of treason,” Ratcliffe said.
As the debate moved into the late evening, some members began to grow tired of the lengthy discussion.
“I have not heard a new point or an original thought from either side in the last three hours,” said Tom McClintock, R-Calif., who urged his colleagues to “resist the temptation to inflict what we have heard over and over again.”