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.
Rudy Giuliani calls Trump's impeachment a 'smokescreen'
'Witch hunt,' 'sham,' 'hoax': Trump shreds impeachment process in first comments since vote
Trump, talking to reporters alongside his Paraguayan counterpart, shredded the impeachment process, calling it a "witch hunt," a "sham," and a "hoax."
"To be using this for a perfect phone call," he said, referring to the July 25 phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that was partly the basis for the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, is a "scam," he said.
He added that it was "a horrible thing to be using the tool of impeachment," which, Trump said, "is supposed to be used in an emergency."
Trump said Democrats were "trivializing impeachment."
"It's a very bad thing for our country," he added.
Trump accuses House Democrats of 'trivializing impeachment'Dec. 13, 201903:24
Trump predicted that the saga will eventually backfire on Democrats.
"Someday there will be a Democrat president and a Republican House, and I suspect they’re going to, they’ll remember it," Trump said.
"The people are disgusted," he continued. "No one has ever seen anything like this."
Asked about whether he would prefer a brief Senate trial or one that is more drawn out, Trump responded, "I'll do long or short."
"I wouldn't mind a long process," he said. "I'd like to see the whistleblower."
These are the other presidents who were impeached — and their fates
If the full House votes to impeach Trump next week, Trump will be just the third president in U.S. history to face such a fate, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon faced near-certain impeachment but resigned before it could occur.
Johnson was impeached in 1868, facing 11 articles of impeachment for the allegation that he violated the Tenure of Office Act — a law designed to limit presidential power to remove federal appointees. The Senate voted to not convict him, and he was not removed from office.
Clinton was impeached in 1998, facing two articles — perjury and obstruction of justice — based on allegations that he lied to investigators about, and interfered with the investigation itself, into his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The Senate voted to not convict him, and he was not removed from office.
Bonus item: Richard Nixon
Nixon faced near-certain impeachment for his role in the Watergate scandal, but resigned before he was formally impeached. In July 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommended three articles of impeachment for a full House vote — obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress — but Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, before the full House vote could occur.
How the vote looked on paper
How the historic vote in the House Judiciary Committee played out
House Judiciary approves articles of impeachment against President TrumpDec. 13, 201905:39
White House: We’re ready to ‘clear the president’
Pam Bondi, the White House adviser on impeachment, told Fox News that the White House is ready to tackle the Senate impeachment trial whenever it happens.
White House attorneys “have been working non-stop on this,” she said while declining to note whether they would participate in the Senate impeachment trial and condemning the overall process as a "waste of the American people's time."
Bondi continued: “If they want to start this next week, we're ready to go. We are ready to go and clear the president."
Rules committee to mark up impeachment Tuesday; full House vote likely Wednesday
The House Rules Committee on Friday said it would hold a meeting Tuesday to consider a resolution impeaching Trump.
Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern, D-Mass., said his panel will mark up the resolution Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. This meeting will dictate rules like length of floor debate for the full House vote that would follow.
The mark-up meeting sets up a likely Wednesday vote by the full House on impeachment.
Collins: Democrats have 'gravely abused their power'
In a statement, Collins — the ranking Republican on the committee — slammed Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee for delaying the vote on the articles until Friday and accused them of having "gravely abused their power."
“Today’s vote highlights the pettiness of last night’s delay and the folly of articles of impeachment that allege no crime and establish no case. While it’s already clear that Democrats broke their own promises to rig this outcome, what will become more obvious in the coming days and years is that Democrats gravely abused their power," Collins said.
“This abuse of power doesn’t just undermine the integrity of our chamber or the independence of future presidencies. Democrats have sacrificed core American tenets of due process, fairness and the presumption of innocence on the altar of a 2016 election that they lost three years ago," he added.
“Rather than help Americans move into the future with confidence, Democrats are attempting to knee-cap our democracy," Collins said. "They’re telling millions of voters that Democrats will work to overturn the will of the people whenever it conflicts with the will of liberal elites.”
Nadler says it's a 'sad day' and the 'House will act expeditiously'
Shortly after voting to send the two articles of impeachment to a full House vote, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler made a brief statement.
"Today is a solemn and sad day," he said. "For the third time in a little over a century and a half, the House Judiciary Committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
"The House will act expeditiously."
He did not take questions from reporters.
White House slams Dems' impeachment inquiry as 'desperate charade' that reached 'shameful end'
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has issued a statement slamming the impeachment inquiry against Trump as a "desperate charade" that has reached a "shameful end."
"This desperate charade of an impeachment inquiry in the House Judiciary Committee has reached its shameful end," Grisham said. "The President looks forward to receiving in the Senate the fair treatment and due process which continues to be disgracefully denied to him by the House."
Moments earlier, following announcements from both Trump and Beijing that they'd reached a Phase One trade deal, Grisham had tweeted that Pelosi should "take note" of "what real leadership looks like."
Trump tweets on China trade deal — but not impeachment
Eric Trump chimes in on Twitter moments after vote
Advocates for Trump, including his son Eric, immediately chimed in on Twitter, following the House Judiciary Committee's historic vote to recommend two impeachment articles against the president.
Eric Trump tweeted about stock market gains seen under his father's presidency, just as his father announced on Twitter a "very large Phase One" trade deal with China.
Later, members of the Trump re-election campaign weighed in.
“This committee vote is just another act in the Democrats’ political theater. The baseless, sham impeachment is just out-of-control partisan politics and the American people are rejecting it," Brad Parscale, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, said in a statement.
Kayleigh McEnany, the national press secretary for the president's re-election campaign, tweeted that House Democrats had "made a choice to betray the American people."
The view from the White House after the Judiciary Committee votes to impeach trump
When asked if President Trump was watching the vote as it unfolded, Kellyanne Conway told NBC News she was with him moments ago and he wasn’t watching.
Other White House officials say it’s likely the president will address impeachment when he meets with the President of Paraguay at 11:10 a.m.
These officials would not say if Rudy Giuliani — who was spotted at the White House this morning — was scheduled to meet with the president but said he remains the president’s personal attorney, to the best of their knowledge.
Rudy Giuliani spotted at the White House
The president's personal lawyer and the man at the center of Trump's Ukraine affair was seen by reporters heading toward the White House Friday, just as the Judiciary Committee votes were getting underway.
Nadler adjourns committee
Following a quick committee vote to recommend both articles of impeachment for a full House vote, Chairman Jerrold Nadler has adjourned the committee meeting.
Committee votes to recommend second impeachment article against Trump
The House Judiciary Committee has now voted to recommend the second of two impeachment articles against Trump for a full House vote, completing an arduous committee process for the most powerful action Congress can take against a commander-in-chief.
The committee voted along party lines, again 23-17, to advance the article on obstruction of Congress against Trump.
Moments earlier, the committee voted along party lines to advance the first article against Trump — abuse of power — for a full House vote.
The full House is now expected to hold a floor vote on the impeachment articles, mostly likely on Wednesday, before lawmakers leave for their holiday break.
If approved by the full House next week, a trial about whether to convict Trump and remove him from office will be held in the Senate in January.
Committee votes to recommend first impeachment article against Trump
After a three-day markup session, the House Judiciary Committee has voted to recommend the first of two impeachment articles against President Donald Trump for a full House vote.
The committee voted along party lines Friday morning to advance the article on abuse of power against Trump for a full House vote.
Another vote will occur in the coming moments on the impeachment article against Trump for obstruction of Congress.
The full House vote is expected next week.
The third day of the markup has resumed
The third day of the markup meeting is got underway at 10:03 a.m. with votes on both articles of impeachment expected to take place soon.
Here's what we're expecting Friday once the Judiciary Committee meeting resumes
At 10 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee will continue its three-day markup to consider the two articles of impeachment against President Trump — one on abuse of power and one on obstruction of Congress.
The markup debate is over and no additional amendments can be offered Friday. All there’s really left to do is vote on recommending Article I and then Article II to the House floor. It’s possible, given how upset Republicans were Thursday night about the surprise move by Nadler, that there could be procedural moves by the Republicans to delay the vote.
WH counsel Pat Cipollone expected to defend Trump in Senate impeachment trial
White House counsel Pat Cipollone is expected to argue on behalf of President Donald Trump during the Senate impeachment trial, a senior administration official told NBC News Friday.
News of Cipollone's plan to defend Trump was first reported by Bloomberg News.
Read the full NBC News story here.
House Republicans narrow in on potential Democratic defectors for final impeachment votes
WASHINGTON — Confident that their ranks will remain united in the potential final House votes on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Republicans are turning their attention to Democrats, hoping to pressure at least a handful into joining them in opposition, according to two Republican House aides.
In particular, Republicans are focusing on as many as eight Democrats who have indicated that they remain undecided on the matter, according to one aide with knowledge of the effort. Those eight are part of a group of 31 who won their seats in 2018 from districts also carried by Trump in 2016.
“Some of our members will do informal outreach to Democrats on the fence they have relationships with,” a second GOP aide told NBC News. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has also been talking with some Democrats, according to an second aide familiar with the conversations.
Final votes on the articles are expected next week after Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee announced suddenly late Thursday that the panel would not vote on them as planned, delaying their expected passage and angering Republicans.
Read the full article here
Trump tweets praise for House Republican 'warriors'
The president is wasting no time taking to Twitter on Friday morning, picking up where he left off.
Collins blasts Dems for 'bush-league' impeachment hearing 'crap'Dec. 13, 201906:00
Trump mischaracterizes Pelosi comments about impeachment
President Donald Trump, in a tweet late Thursday, mischaracterized comments made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., earlier in the week, in which he claimed she said that she was “duped” in an interview by saying “she has been working on impeaching me for ‘two and a half years.’”
That, however, is not what Pelosi said during an event Tuesday afternoon at Politico’s “Women Rule” summit.
Politico’s Anna Palmer asked Pelosi to react to the criticism that Democrats are racing through their impeachment inquiry of the president.
“It’s been going on for 22 months, two-and-a-half years actually,” Pelosi said initially.
Then immediately made clear she was referring to the Mueller investigation.
“I think we are not moving with speed. Was it two and a half years ago they initiated the Mueller investigation? It’s not about speed. It’s about urgency. One of the charges against the president of the United States is that he was violating his oath of office by asking for government to interfere in our election undermining the integrity of our elections,” she said.
Republicans have repeatedly argued throughout the impeachment process that Democrats have been trying to impeach Trump since he first came to office in 2017. Democrats, however, have said they’ve collected detailed evidence from Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign that merit impeachment.
The tweet was one of many for Trump on Thursday.
NO VOTE THURSDAY: Nadler recesses debate, angering Republicans
In a surprise move, Nadler announced after over 14 hours of debate and fiery exchanges between Republicans and Democrats that the committee will be in recess until 10 a.m. on Friday.
Nadler urged members to spend the time searching their conscience and evaluating how history will judge them. However, when he gaveled out, Republicans were outraged and accused Nadler of railroading the debate.
A visibly frustrated Collins, the ranking member, said GOP lawmakers were not consulted beforehand and Nadler's "integrity is gone" and "they have nothing they can offer except the kangaroo court."
"That was the most bush league play I have ever seen in life," Collins said.
Someone else in the meeting room could be heard saying "this is a sneaky move on their part" in an apparent reference to Democrats.
Democrats left the room after the meeting ended and many Republicans stayed and gave media interviews, accusing Democrats of blindsiding them.
Debate. Rinse. Repeat.
The Judiciary Committee is currently debating the substitute amendment that Chairman Nadler offered in the first hour of the meeting on Thursday morning about tweaking the language from Donald J. Trump to Donald John Trump.
We BELIEVE that debate on this amendment should be the last of the evening. However, members can each speak for 5 minutes so that can still take more than 3 hours if each member wishes to speak.
After all debate concludes, there will likely be three votes:
Vote on the substitute amendment
Vote on Article I
Vote on Article II
McConnell: 'No chance' Trump will be convicted in the Senate
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Thursday that President Trump will not face conviction and removal in the GOP-controlled Senate as the House continued to debate articles of impeachment.
"The case is so darn weak coming from the House. We know how it's going to end. There's no chance the president's going to be removed from office," he said. "My hope is that there won't be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment and, Sean, it wouldn't surprise me if we got one or two Democrats."
The session has resumed
When will they vote? Who knows at the moment?
"As long as they have amendments, we're going to stay here," Rep. Sheila Jackson, D-Tex, said on MSNBC as the meeting resumed.
Trump involved in marathon session of his own on Twitter
The day is still not over, but as of 9:30 p.m., Trump has tweeted or retweeted 115 times on Thursday — most of them centered on impeachment.
It’s been a prolific last few days for the president's thumbs. On Sunday, he tweeted and retweeted 105 times.
The session is in recess for half an hour
After the fifth amendment was voted down, Nadler announced a half-hour recess.
Dems knock down another GOP amendment from Jordan
After roughly two hours of debate, the Judiciary Committee defeated the GOP’s fifth amendment to the articles of impeachment in another 23-17 party-line vote.
The amendment from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, would have removed the last eight lines of both articles of impeachment, which both end with language about how Trump “has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”
In response, it says that Trump warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.
Anything new? McClintock says what many are thinking
As we approach the 12th hour of this debate, a frustrated Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., had somewhat of a breaking-the-fourth-wall moment and said what many are thinking: Does anyone have anything new to say?
“The same talking points have been repeated over and over again ad nauseam by both sides,” he said. "Repeating a fact over and over doesn't make it true and denying a fact over and over doesn't make it false - everybody knows this, everybody watching knows this."
He added: "This hearing's been enough of an institutional embarrassment without putting it on an endless loop so if I could if could just offer a modest suggestion — if no one has anything new to add that they resist the temptation to inflict what we already heard over and over again."
At White House congressional ball, Trump predicts: 'We’re going to have a fantastic year'
At the congressional ball mentioned earlier, President Trump made brief remarks while the Judiciary Committee members continued to debate the articles of impeachment.
He began by calling it a “very exciting month in Washington, D.C.,” to laughter.
“Our country is doing really great,” he said, while touting the stock market records and thanking the Pences and the first lady.
He said his family calls the White House a home, but some presidents called it a house — and some called it much worse.
'We’re going to have a fantastic year,” he said. “The best year in decades.”
Jordan introduces fifth GOP amendment
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced a fifth amendment aiming to strike the last eight lines of both articles of impeachment.
Both articles have the same language: "Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States."
The other four amendments introduced by Republicans have each failed with a party-line vote.
Fourth GOP amendment killed ahead of committee vote on articles of impeachment
The fourth GOP amendment was killed in another party-line 23-17 vote. The three other amendments introduced by Republicans were also killed after lengthy debates.
The fourth amendment was introduced by Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Penn., to strike the entire second article of impeachment: obstruction of Congress.
Floor vote scheduling... if things stay on schedule
If things continue to come together on schedule, we are looking at votes Tuesday on appropriations, Wednesday on impeachment, and Thursday on USMCA. With again, a caveat this could all change.
An energy boost?
Fourth amendment introduced to strike entire second article of impeachment
The fourth GOP amendment has been introduced by Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Penn., to strike the entire second article of impeachment: obstruction of Congress.
The three other amendments introduced by Republicans have been killed along party lines by a vote of 23-17.
- Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced the first amendment to strike the entire first article of impeachment, which deals with abuse of power.
- Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced the second amendment to strike reference of Joe Biden with his son Hunter Biden and Burisma, the Ukraine gas company for which he worked.
- Rep Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., introduced the third amendment arguing that military aid was released after the Ukrainian president showed he was serious about reform when he signed two major anti-corruption measures into law.
Democrats vote down GOP amendment on aid to Ukraine
The committee voted 23-17 along party lines against the third GOP amendment, which was offered by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
The amendment would have inserted language into the articles for impeachment that says the U.S. aid to Ukraine that was held up over the summer was eventually released.
Cliché away! Lawmakers use quips in impeachment hearing
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., whipped out a yoga reference to make her case for impeaching Trump when she excoriated Republicans for twisting the record.
"My sister's a yoga teacher. She doesn't contort the way the Republicans do on the facts," she said.
Throughout the markup, there has been a long list of clichés, similes, metaphors and allusions — some good, some not so good — as lawmakers trudge ahead with a marathon debate on the two articles of impeachment.
Congresswoman: Republicans 'contort' the facts more than a yoga teacherDec. 12, 201901:01
Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., went biblical and compared Republicans to Judas "because Judas for 30 pieces of silver betrayed Jesus; for 30 positive tweets for easy re-election, the other side is willing to betray the American people."
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon. D-Va., also had a cliché, arguing that if it "smells like a duck" then it's a duck in explaining Trump's call to Ukraine to ask them to open an investigation into the Bidens.
Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., compared Republican lawmakers to Judas, saying they "would betray the American people" for "30 positive tweets" from President Trump.
Richmond compares Republican lawmakers to JudasDec. 12, 201901:30
White House counsel meets with McConnell during markup
White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Eric Ueland, the legislative affairs director, met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for over an hour on Capitol Hill on Thursday afternoon.
“This is one of a regular set of conversations we’ve been having with Senate Republicans on the issue of impeachment, and we’re going to keep having good conversations about it," Ueland said.
When asked if he has a preference for how long the hearing will be, Ueland said, “Look, I’m not in the prognostication business, I don’t have a crystal ball in terms of timing. The president deserves to have his case heard. Unfortunately, the process in the House was fatally flawed and based on facts that were not all correct since the president did nothing wrong. So we continue to make our case to the American public.”
Cipollone did not answer questions from reporters.
Biggs introduces amendment arguing administration did nothing wrong freezing aid to Ukraine
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., introduced the third amendment of the day, which would insert language into the articles for impeachment that says the U.S. aid to Ukraine that was held up over the summer was eventually released.
“The aid was released within days of Ukrainian President Zelenskiy signing two major anti-corruption measures into law, convincing President Trump that the new Ukrainian administration was serious about reform measures and consistent with Administration policy to ensure foreign aid is not used for corrupt purposes,” the amendment says.
In explaining his amendment, Biggs brought up a letter from the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees the distribution of U.S. aid to foreign countries, that he said walks through the entire process.
Biggs said that the Trump administration “never intended to or actually violated the law” and that it “always intended to release the funds.”
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., however, then questioned why Biggs was tying the release of the aid to anti-corruption efforts when she said that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney himself said at a White House press conference that the aid was clearly being withheld as leverage to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations demanded by Trump.
The aid was frozen by July 18 and the hold wasn’t lifted until September 11.
Folks, we could really be in for a long night
After three-and-a-half hours of debate, members voted down Gaetz's amendment to replace Biden's name in the articles of impeachment with his son's name and the name of a Ukrainian company he sat on the board of.
Three-and-a-half hours (which did include an hour-and-a-half recess) over an amendment to alter one line of the articles of impeachment.
The committee is just now debating its third proposed amendment of the day. The hearing started nearly seven hours ago. On top of this, Collins suggested the committee could be in session "all night" as part of this process. And there will likely be more breaks.
If you're planning on sticking with this all the way through, find a comfortable seat if you haven't already.
Gaetz amendment to articles of impeachment fails
An amendment introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz failed to pass during the House Judiciary Committee's debate to bring the articles of impeachment against Trump into final form.
Gaetz had introduced an amendment to strike a reference of former Vice President Joe Biden from the articles of impeachment and put in Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, and Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of that company while his father was in office.
It failed to pass with 23 Democrats voting against and 17 Republicans voting in favor.
Where we are now...
It has been roughly six hours since Thursday's markup meeting began and now Republicans and Democrats are fiercely making their case for and against impeachment.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced an amendment to strike a reference from Joe Biden from the articles of impeachment and replace it with Hunter Biden and Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where he worked, in an apparent effort to argue that the company was corrupt and Biden was unqualified but well-connected.
Republicans have repeatedly hammered home their position that Trump did not abuse his power when he spoke with the Ukrainian president on July 25 because he had legitimate concerns about corruption in the country before releasing critical military aid. GOP lawmakers also said that because Ukraine did not feel pressured, did not know the aid was held up and it was later released, there was no wrongdoing. Republicans also have slammed Democrats for the process, saying it is moving too quickly, unfair to the president and has limited committee Republicans from fully making their case.
Democrats, on the other hand, have implored their Republican colleagues to remember their oath is to the Constitution, not the president. They have also argued that impeachment is the last resort to hold Trump accountable or else he will abuse his power and usurp Congress’ authority again. Committee Democrats argued that Trump gave Ukraine the aid before this year and held up and eventually released the aid after the whistleblower complaint began circulating. Democrats also said that Trump was not concerned about corruption because it was not mentioned on the call, but his own re-election.
Collins says hearing could go on 'all night'
It might be an even longer day than we anticipated.
Ahead of tonight's congressional ball, Collins just said there will plenty of opportunities to attend such swanky parties in the future and suggested the hearing could go on "all night."
Markup is back in session
Following a roughly hour-and-a-half break, the meeting has resumed.
Meacham: We're having a historic debate in unhistoric fashion
Historian Jon Meacham reacts to the House Judiciary Committee hearing to vote on articles of impeachment. Meacham says the committee is having a historic debate in an unhistoric fashion.
Meacham: We're having a historic debate in unhistoric fashionDec. 12, 201901:03
4 takeaways from the hearing so far
We're still in what we'd describe as an intermission of today's Judiciary Committee markup, so here are some of the bigger takeaways from this morning's action — or lack thereof.
- Republicans echo Trump in their lead defense: "No crimes" being alleged in the articles of impeachment. Democrats pointed to similar articles drafted during the Nixon impeachment proceedings.
- We're moving at a very slow pace. Through the first four hours, there have only been two amendments debated. So far, only one of those amendments has earned a vote, and it was shot down.
- Republicans insist there's no evidence Ukraine knew of the hold on aid until it became widely known. That runs counter to evidence provided by the Pentagon's Laura Cooper, who testified that Ukrainians emailed her staff as early as July 25 asking what was going on with the aid.
- Trump's watching closely. He already tweeted in direct response to little-noticed comments made by Democratic lawmakers during the proceedings.
Markup is in recess. So far, it's been 4 hours, 2 amendments and 1 vote.
Members are taking an extended break from today's hearing, which just hit the four-hour mark.
In those four hours, we've seen debate over just two amendments that were introduced so far. And only one of those amendments reached the point of being voted on. It was shot down.
Buckle up, folks. It looks like it's going to be a long day.
Democrats jockeying for coveted House manager appointments
Once impeachment deliberations move to the Senate, it will be up to House “managers” — or prosecutors — to present the case against President Trump at trial.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sole discretion to appoint House managers, and sources tells us members have already started campaigning and jockeying for what will be a career-defining appointment.
As Jon Allen notes today, “It's a complicated task for the politically ambitious because the picks will be made solely at the discretion of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and many House members presume that it could be disqualifying to lobby too hard — especially publicly — for posts that require the utmost solemnity.”
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler are almost certain to make the cut as managers. (As Garrett Haake notes: Republicans who want Schiff to appear as a witness in a Senate trial may get their wish, in that Schiff would be in a position to answer questions.)
Pelosi has privately signaled that she wants the group to represent a range of regional, gender and racial diversity – two sources familiar tell NBC News.
Pelosi, one source says, is especially interested in “regional diversity,” to help counter the Republican criticism that the House process is being led by a “coastal impeachment squad.”
During the Clinton impeachment, 13 House Republicans served as managers, all of whom were on the Judiciary Committee.
This time, according to a second source familiar, it will likely be a mix of House Intelligence and House Judiciary members.
Among the Democratic representatives whose names are circulating (and this is not meant to be a complete list):
- Schiff, Calif.
- Nadler, N.Y.
- Hakeem Jeffries, N.Y.; House Democratic Caucus chairman
- Zoe Lofgren, Calif.
- Jamie Raskin, Md.
- Jackie Speier, Calif.
- Eric Swalwell, Calif.
- Val Demings, Fla.
- Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ill.
Gaetz brings up Hunter Biden's past substance issues — and it immediately backfired
Debate surrounding the next amendment to be introduced quickly divulged into a tit-for-tat involving allegations of cocaine usage and driving under the influence charges.
It began with Gaetz introducing an amendment to strike former Vice President Joe Biden from the articles of impeachment as the subject of an investigation Trump wanted Ukraine to launch and replace him with Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, and Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of that company.
Gaetz said the purpose of Trump's ask was clear: probe Hunter Biden's conduct. In the July phone call with Zelenskiy, Trump asked his counterpart to investigate "the Bidens."
But then Gaetz went into an extensive speech in which he highlighted Hunter Biden's past cocaine and crack abuse.
Johnson checks Gaetz for bringing up Hunter Biden's past substance abuseDec. 12, 201901:53
"I don't want to make light of anybody's substance abuse issues," Gaetz said. "But it's a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car."
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., took note of Gaetz highlighting Hunter Biden's past substance abuse and said it was rather hypocritical to hear such commentary, alluding to Gaetz's 2008 arrest on a charge of driving under the influence.
Gaetz calling out Hunter Biden's substance abuse was like the "pot calling the kettle black," Johnson said, adding that if someone had a DUI, it would not be something he'd bring up. The charge against Gaetz was eventually dropped.
"I would say that the pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do," Johnson said. "I don't know what members, if any, have had any problems with substance abuse, been busted in DUI, I don't know."
"But if I did, I wouldn't raise it against anyone on this committee," he continued. "I don't think it's proper."
Collins: Democrats have 'lowered the standard' for impeachment
Collins: Democrats have 'lowered the standard' for impeachmentDec. 12, 201902:25
Jordan's effort to eliminate first article of impeachment is defeated
After nearly three hours of debate, Jordan's amendment to eliminate the first article of impeachment against Trump — the one charging him with abuse of power — was voted down along party lines.
Raskin criticizes Republican defense of Trump: 'They don't accept the facts'
Pelosi says Democrats are not whipping members to support impeachment articles
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that Democratic leaders are not whipping their members in favor of the articles of impeachment, assuming they come out of the Judiciary Committee and to the floor.
“We are not whipping this legislation, nor do we ever whip something like this. People have to come to their own conclusions,” she said at her weekly press conference when asked if she had a message to moderate Democrats who may be undecided about how to vote next week.
Pelosi added that she “rather not ask anybody what their vote is.”
Pelosi on impeachment votes: 'We are not whipping this legislation'Dec. 12, 201901:15
Though, she said emphatically, “The facts are clear — irrefutable, in fact.”
Asked to react to Trump calling the articles of impeachment against him “impeachment lite,” Pelosi said. “The president is wrong.”
The president made the comment this week suggesting he expected Democrats to introduce more articles than just abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
When asked why bribery wasn’t another article, Pelosi said that she’s not a lawyer.
"The articles are what they are. They're very powerful, they're very strong."
Inside the jockeying to prosecute Donald Trump's impeachment
WASHINGTON — In furtive conversations with senior colleagues on the House floor, with their own aides and in private conclaves like Wednesday's weekly Congressional Black Caucus luncheon, Democratic lawmakers have been quietly trying to game out how to become one of the "managers" who will prosecute the case in the Senate if the House impeaches President Donald Trump.
"There are a lot of discussions going on and rumors," Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the CBC, said after the panel's impeachment session Wednesday night. "I’m told that my name is on the list [for consideration], but I have not actively sought to be one of the floor managers. ... If the speaker would like for me to do that, I would be happy to do it."
The allure of being named to a select group for a historic mission — no matter the cautionary tale provided by the last Senate trial of a president — is as self-evident as most lawmakers' desire to carve out a personal legacy, get more airtime on television and raise more campaign money.
At the same time, it's a complicated task for the politically ambitious because the picks will be made solely at the discretion of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and many House members presume that it could be disqualifying to lobby too hard — especially publicly — for posts that require the utmost solemnity.
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‘I move to strike the last word!’ made simple
If you’ve been watching closely, you’ve heard these words a lot. According to the Congressional Research Service, in this context, it just means I’d like to talk now.
There's talks about adding Dershowitz to Trump's legal team, sources say
There are preliminary discussions happening now about bringing Alan Dershowitz on to the president's legal team, according to a source familiar with the conversations, but the source cautions no final decision has been made and so far nothing appears imminent.
Dershowitz, who was at the White House yesterday for a Hanukkah reception, has often defended the president re: the Mueller investigation on cable news. But he also has described himself as a "loyal liberal who has supported every Democratic candidate for president since I campaigned for Adlai Stevenson in 1952," and has said he didn't agree with some of the president's policies — like on the travel ban and DREAMers.
He'd likely be a controversial pick: cases he has defended or advised on include those of O.J. Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein, and Harvey Weinstein. He's a professor emeritus at Harvard Law and a graduate of Yale Law.
Trump is watching (and inaccurately tweeting)
It appears the president has tuned in.
He's right that he asked President Zelenskiy to "do us a favor," but he's misstating Democrats' statements here.
Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, was posing a hypothetical about a governor asking for a favor when she said "do me a favor," and according to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's retelling, Trump said, "I would like you to do a favor, though." She didn't use an "us" or "me."
Bannon predicts impeachment will backfire for Democrats and an 'Ali-Frazier' Trump-Clinton rematch
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told CNBC on Thursday that he thinks the impeachment process has ensured Trump’s re-election in 2020 and that Democrats will lose their House majority to Republicans. He also predicted Hillary Clinton is going to jump into the Democratic primary for an “Ali-Frazier” rematch with Trump.
"What the Democrats, I think, may have done is to lock in control of the Senate, reinforce President Trump's re-election in 2020, and also concede the House so we could be back to the beginning of the Trump administration when we had all aspects of government," Bannon said.
"What they're going to turn to is who can save the Democratic Party ... I think you're going to see a rematch, Ali-Frazier — it's going to be Clinton-Trump in 2020."
Gaetz says there's 'no evidence' Ukraine was aware of hold on military aid, but evidence suggests otherwise
Gaetz asserted there is "no evidence" that Ukrainian officials were even aware of a hold on nearly $400 million of military aid.
The evidence suggests otherwise.
Pentagon official Laura Cooper testified before impeachment investigators that her staff received emails from Ukrainian officials asking what was going on with the aid as early as July 25 — the same day as the Trump/Zelenskiy call.
"What is going on with Ukrainian security assistance?" one Ukrainian contact emailed a member of Cooper's staff, she testified.
Though she could not be certain the check-in was a result of the recently placed hold on aid or just a regular inquiry, she said, "It's my experience with the Ukrainians they would call about specific things, not just generally checking in on the assistance package."
Hillary Clinton weighs in
White House suggests Trump is 'ready for anything in the Senate'
The White House is publicly suggesting the president is open to whatever kind of process the Senate decides on.
“The president has done nothing wrong, and the House should stop this ridiculous illegitimate impeachment sham, but he is absolutely ready for anything in the Senate,” Deputy Press. Sec. Hogan Gidley says.
Privately, a source familiar with the strategy cautions the president wants two things: to ensure the process in the Senate is fair, and that a trial gives the president the due process rights the White House feels he was deprived of in the House.
As some of the Republicans — like Sen. Braun below — have indicated, there’s still uncertainty on what that concretely translates to as far as whether he will insist witnesses will be called, etc. So far, the tone from the White House officials has been one of deference to Sen. McConnell.
Chabot dismisses abuse of power as a legitimate charge for impeachment
Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, said that the Constitution says that impeachment is for someone who has committed treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
“No president should abuse the power of his or her office. That doesn’t make alleged abuse of power a high crime or misdemeanor,” he said.
Chabot said that the House has never adopted alleged abuse of power as a charge in a president’s impeachment, saying that it’s a “vague, ambiguous term” and “lacks a concise legal definition.”
The congressman, who sat on the Judiciary Committee during President Clinton’s impeachment, said that the significant difference between the impeachment process for Presidents Nixon and Clinton and Trump’s is that for the former two, “abuse was a tacked-on charge, far less important in those cases than the actual high crimes against both of them.”
“The entire argument for impeachment, in this case, is based on a charge that is not a crime,” he said.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., responded, “There are no crimes here? That is the defense my colleagues across the aisles are putting forward?”
“The president committed the highest crime against the Constitution by abusing his office,” he said, by cheating in the election and inviting foreign interference while jeopardizing U.S. national security.
The posters behind Republicans' seats
The posters behind republicans today include:
- A return of the photo of Pelosi, CA, and the committee chairs Nadler, NY, Maloney, NY), Waters, CA, Schiff, CA, Engel, NY, and Neal, MA, announcing the impeachment articles with the heading “Coastal Impeachment Squad” and “this is why we have the electoral college” below.
- “If the Senate doesn’t convict that doesn’t mean it’s over,” Rep. Al Green
- “The president’s accusers must go beyond heresy and innuendo and beyond demands that the president prove his innocence of vague and changing charges,” Chairman Schiff
Nadler makes a style change to Trump's name, Collins gives a monologue
Chairman Nadler offered an amendment to spell out the president’s middle name, John, in the articles of impeachment. Ranking Member Collins used the opportunity to loudly complain about the Democratic-controlled process.
This must be the Congressional bickering and parliamentary process that endears this body to the American people.
Responding to GOP complaints, Deutch argues Democrats gave Trump opportunities to present his case
Responding to complaints by Collins about Democrats not treating Republicans fairly, Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said that Republicans had GOP counsel Steve Castor present evidence on their behalf on Monday in the Judiciary Committee’s second impeachment hearing.
“Before telling us the sky is falling and there’s great disrespect for the rules, it’s important to actually look at the rules,” Deutch said.
Democrats, Deutch said, gave Trump the opportunity to appear himself at the Dec. 4 committee hearing “to advocate for himself” and had the opportunity to call his own witnesses but he chose not to.
“Let’s be careful to suggest that rules are being violated,” Deutch said.
Jordan wants to strike 'abuse of power' from the articles of impeachment
Jordan offered an amendment to strike the entire first article of impeachment, which charges Trump with abuse of power.
"This amendment strikes articles one because article one ignores the truth!" Jordan said.
Jordan claims charging Trump with abuse of power 'ignores the facts'Dec. 12, 201902:28
Democrats then began describing how Trump allegedly abused his power, listing off multiple instances of Trump's conduct toward Ukraine and testimony from current and former Trump administration officials.
Cicilline said there was "overwhelming evidence" of Trump's abuse of power.
And the procedural bickering begins...
After the articles of impeachment were read at the onset of Thursday's hearing, Ranking Member Collins made a point of order to highlight that Democrats did not provide Republicans with a minority hearing day that they have been pressing for.
Nadler said he was still willing to consider such a hearing, but not as a way to delay the consideration of the articles of impeachment.
Collins pushed back, and was then gaveled by Nadler. The two men started speaking over each other and Collins sought to appeal Nadler's ruling.
Members voted on whether to table Collins' motion. It was tabled along party lines.
McConnell's dilemma: Senate trial with Trump's witnesses, or a quick vote
WASHINGTON — As the Senate begins preparations for an impeachment trial next month, many Republican members are questioning the wisdom of having President Donald Trump call witnesses and are instead discussing a speedy resolution.
Republican senators have been holding talks about the likely trial and few see the benefit of a slate of witnesses testifying on behalf of the president, fearful that the benefits of a defense filled with contentious testimony that may not necessarily exonerate him could be overshadowed by political rancor and gamesmanship.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has mostly avoided looking like he is putting his thumb on the scale on how to conduct the trial, will be keeping tabs on his members to know when to a call for a vote. He said that after the presentations from each side, senators could decide "that they've heard enough and believe they know what would happen and could move to vote on the two articles of impeachment."
Trump has indicated that he wants former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, the whistleblower and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to testify.
Others want to get to a Senate vote much more quickly.
Read the full story here
The markup meeting is back in session
House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler gaveled in the second day of the markup on articles of impeachment at roughly 9:03 a.m.
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.
Jayapal: ‘The president is the smoking gun’Dec. 12, 201905:06
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.
Bass: ‘This is not a coup’Dec. 12, 201904:38
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.
Gaetz calls impeachment process a ‘political hit job’Dec. 12, 201905:07
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."
Jon Meacham: GOP arguing that Trump is a monarchDec. 12, 201901:45
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.
Collins blasts Democrats over articles of impeachmentDec. 12, 201910:55
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.
Trump: ‘This is impeachment lite’Dec. 11, 201901:52
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: