US House Committee votes on impeachment over abuse of power, obstruction
A US House committee has voted on abuse of power and obstruction as the charges based on which President Donald Trump should be impeached by the full House of Representatives.
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The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved charges of abuse of power and obstruction against the Republican president on Friday, making it almost certain Trump will become the third US president in history to be impeached, Reuters reported.
The committee voted along party lines to approve an article of impeachment charging the president with abusing the power of his office when he pressured Ukraine to probe a
possible 2020 Democratic presidential rival, Democrat Joe Biden.
The panel also approved another article charging Trump with obstructing the US Congress' investigation of the scandal.
The committee had been expected to cast its impeachment vote Thursday night, but the panel's Democratic chairman delayed the proceedings until 10 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) Friday.
"The American people deserve to see the vote," House Judiciary Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon said after the change.
Speaking to reporters at the White House after the Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against him, Trump on Friday dismissed the impeachment process as a “sham” and said he would not mind a long trial in the Senate.
He condemned the process as a "sham" and said Democrats were trivializing impeachment.
"It's a very sad thing for our country, but it seems to be very good for me politically," Trump said, arguing that his poll numbers had increased.
"Impeachment is a hoax. It's a sham," he said. The president said he was open to a short or long process in the Senate, which is expected to hold a trial in January.
"I'll do whatever I want. ... So I'll do long or short," Trump said. "I wouldn't mind a long process, because I'd like to see the whistleblower, who's a fraud."
Trump said that using the impeachment process against him was not good for the country.
"There was nothing done wrong. To use the power of impeachment for this nonsense is an embarrassment to this country," he said.
Trump said House Democrats were “trivializing impeachment."
“And I tell you what, someday there will be a Democrat president and there will be a Republican House, and I suspect they're going to remember it,” he added.
Republicans on the committee defended Trump and slammed Democrats as the president posted a series of tweets.
"The Republicans House members were fantastic yesterday," Trump tweeted early Friday morning, adding that "the unity & sheer brilliance of these Republican warriors, all of them, was a beautiful sight to see."
On Tuesday, House Democrats unveiled the two articles of impeachment against Trump, accusing the Republican president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The Democrats believe Trump had tried to put himself above the law by abusing his power and obstructing the Congress.
Impeachment begins in the House. If the lower chamber of Congress approves articles of impeachment, a vote is then held in the Senate. A two-thirds majority vote would be needed in the Senate to remove the president from office.
The House, which will likely vote next week in favor of impeaching Trump, will then submit the case for an impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate.
The Senate trial will possibly take place early next year.
However, experts say the chances for Trump’s removal from office by the Republicans are slim.
The heart of the issue is whether Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival seeking the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election, and then obstructed Congress' investigation into the scandal.
Trump denies having done anything wrong and has called the impeachment probe a hoax.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said on Tuesday shortly after the formal Democrat-led impeachment was launched against Trump that the president will be “fully exonerated” when the motion reaches the Republican-led Senate.
“The President will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong,” Grisham told The Washington Post.
He claimed that Trump was innocent and the charges raised in the impeachment would not stick, adding that the move would only hurt the people.
“The announcement of two baseless articles of impeachment does not hurt the President, it hurts the American people.”
Only two American presidents have been impeached by the House, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Neither Johnson nor Clinton was convicted by the Senate.
In 1974, then US President Richard Nixon resigned during his second term after it became certain he would be impeached and removed from office over the Watergate scandal.