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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.

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Pence slams impeachment as 'complete waste of time'

Vice President Mike Pence slammed the Democrats' impeachment process of Trump as "partisan" and "a complete waste of time." 

“Never in our country’s history has a President been treated so unfairly by a sham investigation with one-sided testimony meant to undermine the will of the American people," Pence’s press secretary, Katie Waldman, said in a statement.

"Democrats in Congress should heed the voice of the American people and reject this partisan impeachment that has been a complete waste of time," Waldman added. "Democrats in Congress need to get back to work for the American people!”

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 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. 

Andrew Johnson

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.

Bill Clinton

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

The vote count sits on a desk at the House Judiciary Committee as members voted on House Resolution 755, Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Dec. 13, 2019.Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images

 

How the historic vote in the House Judiciary Committee played out

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."