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Analysis after House Judiciary Committee votes to impeach President Trump

Lawmakers act against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The House Judiciary Committee voted Friday to impeach President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstructing Congress. The historic vote lasted just a few minutes following a marathon, 14-hour public discussion about amendments to the articles.

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.

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. 

Image: House Judiciary Committee Meets For Markup On Articles Of Impeachment
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.

Nadler makes case for impeachment, urges Republicans to honor their oath: 'How would you be remembered?'

Chairman Nadler opened the House Judiciary impeachment inquiry hearing to markup the articles of impeachment against President Trump by laying out the allegations against Trump and urging Republicans to honor their oath and remember their legacy. 

He argued that President Trump put his private interests above American national security and compromised the integrity of U.S. elections by pressuring a vulnerable ally. He also said that the House must use impeachment to hold Trump accountable despite the upcoming election because his abuse of power will continue unchecked. 

"Over the past 94 days since the House investigation began — indeed, over the past three years — one indisputable truth has emerged: if we do not respond to President Trump’s abuses of power, the abuses will continue," Nadler said. "We cannot rely on an election to solve our problems when the president threatens the very integrity of that election."

He also urged Republicans to consider their constitutional oath. 

"I hope every member of this committee will withstand the political pressures of the moment," he said. "When his time has passed, when his grip on our politics is gone, when our country returns, as surely it will, to calmer times and stronger leadership, history will look back on our actions here today. How would you be remembered?"

The markup has started

There will be opening statements first from the Nadler, followed by the Collins and then the remaining 38 members alternating back and forth between Democrats and Republicans.

House Intelligence Committe sends Pence aide's classified supplemental testimony to Judiciary

Ahead of the Judiciary Committee markup hearing, supplemental testimony from Vice President Pence's aide Jennifer Williams was declassified and sent to the Judiciary.   

Per a Committee official:

"Last week, the House Intelligence Committee requested that the Office of the Vice President declassify supplemental testimony provided by Jennifer Williams regarding the Vice President’s September 18, 2019 call with the Ukrainian President, so Members could see further corroborative evidence as it considers articles of impeachment, and provide the public further understanding of the events in question. The Office of the Vice President has not responded to our letter. 

"Today, the Committee informed the Judiciary Committee of the classified supplemental submission and is making it available for the Committee’s review and consideration during their markup of the articles of impeachment."

Williams, a special adviser on Europe and Russia to Pence who listened in on the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy, said that call gave her cause for concern. 

Williams said she "found the July 25th phone call unusual because, in contrast to other presidential calls I had observed, it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter."

Article II: Inside Impeachment — The View from the White House

President Trump is facing two articles of impeachment and he’s mounted a strong defense in response. 

At a rally Tuesday night in Pennsylvania, President Trump’s tactics were on full display — play to the Republican base by attacking the Democrats and the process. NBC News Senior White House Reporter Shannon Pettypiece offers insight into how the President’s tactics are playing in the White House and whether they are effective with Republican voters.

Listen to the episode here

Graham on a Senate impeachment trial: 'I think we should vote and end it'

 

Rep. Lieu missing markup sessions following surgery

Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., will not be attending the articles of impeachment markup this week due to a medical procedure, according to his chief of staff.

Lieu had chest pain on Monday and on Tuesday underwent stent surgery. He is now in recovery.

“He does plan to watch a lot of TV as he recovers,” Marc Cevasco said.

 

Graham strongly rebuts Ukrainian meddling in 2016 election during Senate hearing

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, disputed a growing GOP-led conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election at a panel hearing Wednesday to review the findings of the DOJ's inspector general report. 

"We know the Russians are messing in our election. And it was the Russians, ladies and gentlemen, who stole the Democratic National Committee emails, Podesta’s emails, and screwed around with Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t the Ukrainians — it was the Russians. And they’re coming after us again," Graham said. 

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz also agreed with Graham that it was the Russians who attacked the DNC and stole the committee's emails to hurt Clinton's campaign. 

The president and his allies have floated a debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine — not the Kremlin — that interfered in the election in order to hurt Trump and help Clinton. The claim was also repeated by GOP lawmakers during the public impeachment hearings into Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as a discredited conspiracy theory involving Democrats in 2016.

How the markup sessions will go

The House Judiciary Committee will on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET hold a public markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Committee members will deliver opening statements later this evening and lawmakers will then discuss the articles, debate amendments and ultimately vote beginning at 9 a.m. ET Thursday morning.

Trump blasts articles as 'impeachment light'

At a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night, President Trump railed against the articles of impeachment, saying it was the lightest impeachment in the country’s history.

 

Read the full text of the articles of impeachment

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., on Tuesday announced the introduction of two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Read the full text of the articles here: