House Democrats’ effort to impeach President Donald Trump is ramping up as the year winds down, putting the Republican-led Senate on track to hold a trial on the charges against him as the new year begins.
The House Judiciary Committee on Friday approved two articles of impeachment. The articles charge Trump with abuse of power and obstructing Congress, and next head to the House floor, where a vote is likely sometime next week
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats had rolled out the two articles of impeachment on Tuesday, and the judiciary panel had started off its consideration of the articles and potential amendments on Wednesday and conducted a divisive 14-hour session on Thursday.
If a majority of the House votes to impeach Trump, he would become only the third American president to have been impeached formally by Congress, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon resigned before such a vote could take place.
Neither Johnson nor Clinton was found guilty in an ensuing impeachment trial in the Senate, and that’s expected to happen for Trump, whose Republican Party controls 53 of the chamber’s 100 seats. That helps explain why the stock market
hasn’t reacted much lately to impeachment-related developments.
“We all know how it’s going to end,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, told Fox News on Thursday. “There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office. My hope is that there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment.”
The Senate is getting set to try the president in January, with its legislative calendar for that month cleared for the proceedings. Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the Senate trial, and Trump would be asked to address the charges.
House Democrats are expected to serve as the prosecutors in the trial, while the president’s lawyers defend him. A two-thirds majority of senators must vote to convict Trump in order to remove him from office.
The Democrats’ impeachment effort centers on Trump’s pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations into Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as into a theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24.
“The facts are uncontested,” Pelosi said on Dec. 5. “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival.”
Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham blasted Democratic lawmakers after the House Judiciary Committee’s vote on Friday.
“This desperate charade of an impeachment inquiry in the House Judiciary Committee has reached its shameful end,” Grisham said in a statement. “The president looks forward to receiving in the Senate the fair treatment and due process which continues to be disgracefully denied to him by the House.”
Trump’s re-election prospects may be rising as the impeachment efforts escalates, said Capital Alpha Partners analysts in a recent note. New Republican polls show impeachment may be helping Trump’s 2020 campaign in the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the analysts said.
This is an updated version of a report first published on Dec. 10, 2019.