LIVE COVERAGE

Impeachment live updates: Judiciary Committee debates two articles against Trump

Latest news from the hearings as the House Judiciary Committee discusses amendments to the two articles of impeachment against President Trump.
Image: Jerrold Nadler
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., departs after the House Judiciary Committee heard investigative findings in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Dec. 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill.Patrick Semansky / AP

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The House Judiciary Committee is holding a public discussion about amendments to the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The first meeting on Wednesday night saw a debate amongst lawmakers before a scheduled vote on Thursday on the two articles before sending it to the House floor. The Thursday session begins at 9 a.m.

Follow us here for all of the latest breaking news and analysis from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HIGHLIGHTS

  • On the eve of the scheduled vote on articles of impeachment, Democrats argued late Wednesday that Congress must hold the president accountable, while Republicans charged that the only abuse of power was by the Democrats.
  • The House on Tuesday announced two articles of impeachment over what House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler described as "high crimes and misdemeanors": abuse of power and obstructing Congress.
  • Monday's hearing, which included roughly nine hours of testimony, was marked by interruptions and fiery exchanges.
  • Read everything we learned from the House Intelligence Committee's weeks of impeachment hearings.

Download the NBC News mobile app for the latest news on the impeachment inquiry

Live Blog

The markup is in recess until Thursday morning

The first day of the markup concluded at 10:34 p.m. The meeting will continue at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

A lot of empty seats in the audience

Unlike previous hearings, tonight the hearing room in the Longworth House Office Building has more empty seats than full ones. 

There are no House members watching from the audience.

GOP counsel Steve Castor is sitting in the first row, and Rep. Jordan has come down to chat with him periodically. GOP lawmakers have come and gone after speaking. Gaetz, Buck and Ratcliffe have all left, and it’s not clear if they’ll return. 

Some Democrats have cycled in and out of the room, but at the moment only two of their seats are empty. With the exception of Gohmert and Gaetz, tonight’s hearing has been much more high-minded and somber than others. There have been no procedural hijinks, and lots of appeals to the founders’ visions, holding up of pocket Constitutions and personal anecdotes supporting votes. 

Jayapal calls Trump the 'smoking gun'

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., made her case for impeachment by arguing that the president abused his power by pressuring a "fragile ally" to investigate a political rival by withholding aid.

"This is not hearsay. The president was the first and best witness in this case. The president admitted to his wrongdoing and corrupt intent on national television. The president is the smoking gun," she said. 

She argued that if Congress does not hold Trump accountable he will commit abuses of power again. 

"The smoking gun is already re-loaded and whether or not it gets fired, that's up to us," she said. 

GOP impeachment posters attack, mock Democrats

House Judiciary Republicans brought large posters to the impeachment markup to call out Democrats over the inquiry. 

One sign, without context, reads: "44% of House Democrats already voted to impeach President Trump. The outcome is predetermined."

The other sign takes aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chairs of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry, dubbing them the "Coastal Impeachment Squad" because most represent New York or California. 

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill on Dec. 11, 2019.Jose Luis Magana / Pool via Getty Images

Gaetz rails against 'hot garbage impeachment'

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., railed against the "hot garbage impeachment" during his opening remarks and called the process a "political hit job." 

Gaetz is one of the president's staunchest allies in Congress and has repeatedly excoriated witnesses and sharply criticized his Democratic colleagues during the impeachment hearings. 

 

Gohmert publicly names person some Republicans say is whistleblower

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, speaking on Wednesday at a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on impeachment, said the name of a person whom Republicans believe is the whistleblower who sparked the inquiry against President Donald Trump.

The Texas lawmaker said the person's name while rattling off a list of witnesses he said should have been called as fast witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.

"Now that we have the articles of impeachment — a vague abuse of power, obstruction of Congress — the very things the majority has done in preventing us from having the witness that could shed light on this, not opinion but fact witnesses, we need to hear from those witnesses,” he said. He then proceeded to say a list of names of witness he wanted to testify which included the person alleged to be the whistleblower.

Read the full story here

Bass blasts Republicans for calling impeachment a 'coup'

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., excoriated Republicans for calling the impeachment inquiry a coup to overthrow President Donald Trump

"This is not a coup, and it is irresponsible to label a constitutional process a coup," she said. 

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who is also on the House Judiciary Committee, previously called the process the "slowest-moving coup in history."

This is Rep. Lofgren's third impeachment

Collins rails against Democrats, calls their impeachment effort a 'three-year vendetta'

Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., blasted Democrats for the articles of impeachment against the president, including one that targets his alleged abuse of power.

“Two articles? Like that? Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress? The only abuse of power is the majority” racing against the clock and the calendar “determining what impeachment looks like — that’s the abuse of power,” said Collins. 

 

He said that the real legacy of the impeachment hearing “will not be the removal of Donald Trump as president, which only the Senate has the power to do.

“In fact, they see the majority for what they are: a three-year vendetta to get somebody that they couldn't beat and they’re desperate to do it before he beats them against next year.”

Collins said that he predicts Trump will be president for five more years, winning re-election next year.