House panel passed Trump impeachment charges

Sunday, 15 Dec, 2019

The abuse of power charge stems from Mr Trump's July phone call with the Ukrainian president pressuring him to announce an investigation of Democrats as he was withholding United States aid.

Officials said Saturday that Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, a vocally anti-impeachment Democrat, will join the Republican Party in the coming days following a Friday meeting with President Trump - a move that would put a political chill on the Democrats' expected vote to impeach Trump next week.

Appearing on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, McConnell said there was "zero chance" of Trump being removed from office.

The abuse of power charge also accuses Trump of freezing almost $400 million in USA security aid to Ukraine and offering a possible White House meeting to Zelenskiy to get him to publicly announce the investigations of Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

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.

In a lighter moment, Trump - who agreed to a still-murky "phase one" trade pact with China as Republican and Democratic lawmakers claimed to have struck a spending deal - noted, "This has been a wild week".

Democrats say the request was improper because Biden is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

"The Republicans House members were fantastic yesterday", the president said in one of several tweets.

Here's what Twitter is saying as House Judiciary Committee members seem well on their way to burning the midnight oil.

He said: "I'll do whatever I want".

"Is any one of my colleagues willing to say that it is ever OK for a President of the USA to invite foreign interference in our elections?" asked Pramila Jayapal, an Indian-American Washington Democrat.

The U.S. Senate would then hold a trial, where the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would preside.

The committee passed both articles of impeachment on party-line 23-17 votes.

McConnell has indicated that he would like swift proceedings, but the president has said he would not mind a full trial, with testimony from a number of witnesses, including Biden and the whistle-blower, whose complaint led to the impeachment inquiry. The articles are expected to be voted on by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives next week.

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".