The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines on Friday to advance articles of impeachment against President Trump, setting up a historic vote in the full House of Representatives next week.
After a hearing to formally consider the articles, which spanned three days and concluded Friday morning, the committee’s 23 Democratic lawmakers signed off on the articles of impeachment exactly as written, voting down doomed GOP amendments that sparked debate and significantly delayed the proceedings.
Democrats will ultimately charge Trump on two counts—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—stemming from his effort to compel the government of Ukraine to do him political favors.
The impeachment articles describe Trump’s conduct as proof of his ongoing danger to U.S. national security and to the 2020 election, requiring immediate action in the House in the form of impeachment and removal.
“If the President can first abuse his power and then stonewall all congressional requests for information,” said Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), “Congress cannot fulfill its duty to act as a check and balance against the Executive—and the President becomes a dictator.”
This week’s so-called “markup” was almost certainly the final impeachment hearing in the House, concluding nearly three months of work by House Democrats over the course of the inquiry. Republicans had pushed for their own hearing to call testimony from witnesses such as Hunter Biden, but Democrats rejected those requests. In a show of defiance and in an attempt to continue airing their grievances with the process, GOP lawmakers extended the debate late into Thursday night.
In remarks at the beginning of the hearing, Democratic lawmakers framed their support of impeachment articles as a solemn obligation to the country that they never wanted to fulfill.
"I believe the president abused the power of his office, putting his own interests above the needs of our nation, above the needs of the people I love and serve—and for that, I must vote my conscience,” said Rep. Lucy McBath, a Democrat from a Georgia swing district who is set to take significant political heat for her vote. “And I do so with a heavy heart and a grieving soul.”
The GOP, meanwhile, increasingly rested their defense of Trump on the argument that Democrats personally hate the president and are determined to impeach him no matter what. “Go ahead and rejoice,” Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the panel’s top Republican, told his Democratic colleagues on Thursday. “This is what you wanted.”
The House’s impeachment debate will now move to the floor of the House chamber, where top-ranking lawmakers on both sides are expected to make their final cases for and against impeachment. A full vote on the articles—a sight the House has seen only three times in the country’s history—could come as soon as Wednesday.