Impeachment goes prime time as Congress plans to debates charges against Trump

by Editorial Team

Grab the popcorn: the impeachment drama is coming to prime time.

The Democratic-led Judiciary Committee plans to start debate Wednesday evening about the two articles of impeachment aimed at President Trump.

Expect rhetorical fireworks and plenty of partisan grandstanding.

Democrats want to use a national platform to pound into Americans why they are moving ahead with what they consider to the inescapable fact that Trump’s abuse of power merits his impeachment.

Republicans will seek to give voice to the fury their right-wing base is feeling about the effort to remove a president elected with their overwhelming support.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan), the committee chairman, will be the man with the gavel, hoping to keep things moving ahead and keep GOP disruptions to a minimum.

He’s already told Democratic colleagues he plans to “take no s—” from Republicans.

That will be a tall order as GOP lawmakers are certain to use a series of stunts to try to discredit the entire process. A key goal will also be to delay the proceedings as long as possible, which may turn the public against impeachment.

Nothing is expected to be wrapped up Wednesday night. Instead, lawmakers are expected to reconvene Thursday morning to take crucial committee votes.

The articles of impeachment are then expected to go to the full House of Representatives next week, setting up a vote before lawmakers go home for the holidays.

Assuming the Democratic House votes for impeachment, the Senate will hold a trial, most likely in January, where a two-thirds majority is needed to remove Trump.

Democrats have introduced two articles of impeachment. The first accuses him of abusing his power by withholding $391 million American defense aid to Ukraine to get the ally to announce politically charged investigations of Democratic rivals. A second says he obstructed Congress by stonewalling the investigation into the scheme.

The articles of impeachment avoid delving into other alleged Trump misdeeds, like his efforts to derail former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian campaign collusion.

Democratic lawmakers who represent Trump-friendly districts like Max Rose (D-Staten Island), won an internal debate to keep the focus squarely on Ukraine.

Now that those so-called “frontline members” won that battle, insiders say they are likely to line up in lockstep behind the impeachment articles, maybe with a few small tweaks.

They say there is no chance that any significant group of Democrats will opt for some form of censure resolution, which would fall short of impeachment. Just two Democrats voted against launching the probe and Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) and Colin Peterson (D-Minn.) are expected to vote against the impeachment articles.

“I think you’ll see virtually all the Democrats support these articles,” said Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.)


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