The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The vote followed weeks of testimony related to his dealings with Ukraine and hours of fiery debate over the process.
Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Follow us here for all of the latest breaking news and analysis on impeachment from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HIGHLIGHTS
- From solemnity to anger to hyperbole, here are some of the buzziest lines from the historic House debate on Wednesday.
- President Trump sent a rambling six-page letter Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling Congress' impeachment inquiry a partisan “crusade,” an “unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” and a “spiteful” “election-nullification scheme.” Click here to read the full letter.
- The House Judiciary Committee released its full 658-page report just after midnight Sunday, in which the majority calls Trump the "Framers' worst nightmare."
- Read the details revealed in the House Intelligence Committee's weeks of impeachment hearings.
House begins vote on first article of impeachment
The House has begun voting on the first article of impeachment, for abuse of power. The vote will take about 20 minutes.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to take the chair to preside over this and the next vote on the second article, for obstruction of Congress.
Pence blasts 'partisan impeachment' at Trump campaign rally
Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday blasted Democrats for a "partisan impeachment" as the vote to impeach President Donald Trump neared.
Pence, speaking at a Trump campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, argued that Democrats are trying to impeach the president because they “can’t run against our record. They can’t run against his results.”
While Trump spent much of the day fuming from the White House before making his way to Michigan for the event, Pence showed little sign of the drama unfolding back home, making campaign stops across the state and mostly playing up the administration's economic record.
Pence on impeachment: 'They know they can't defeat this president'Dec. 19, 201901:02
Pence briefly addressed impeachment earlier in the day during remarks at a campaign event in Saginaw, Michigan, telling a crowd gathered in a hotel ballroom that “Democrats in Washington have been trying to overturn the results of the last election, and they're back at it again today with their partisan impeachment." But most of his more than 30 minutes of remarks were spent touting a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, phase one of a trade deal with China and record low unemployment.
After that speech, he boarded a campaign bus plastered with a giant photo of him and the president and traveled to a Bavarian-themed restaurant, shaking hands and taking pictures while waitresses dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes pushed through his gaggle of Secret Service agents and reporters with trays of fried chicken.
One diner, a mother with her small children, told Pence they were “future Republicans.”
Few places could be more crucial for the vice president to be mounting Trump’s defense in the hours leading up to the president's impeachment than the crucial swing state of Michigan. Trump eked out a victory there in 2016 — winning by about 11,000 votes out of more than 4.4 million cast — and Michigan is among those states hanging in the balance again in 2020.
McCarthy: Trump will still be president after impeachment
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declared in his final argument before the vote on Wednesday that impeachment is irrelevant because it won’t remove the president from office.
"Donald J. Trump is President of the United States. He is president today. He will be president tomorrow. And he will be president when this impeachment is over,” he said.
It’s not exactly news, but it’s a curious diversion from the president’s own argument that impeachment is a coup.
Former Senate Majority Leader Lott: 'Shut up and wait till you see all the facts'
Former Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who served as Senate majority leader during Clinton's impeachment trial, met with Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., on Wednesday to prepare him for the upcoming trial in the Senate.
“He was my chief deputy whip, and the whip does have a possible role in all of this,” Lott said. “We talked mostly about history, how did we get through it last time, without a lot of blood. But remember, I do make the point to everybody, it was a different time, different media and different people.”
Lott, 78, was also a member of Congress during the Nixon impeachment, which he told NBC News was the toughest vote he ever cast.
“My advice to people would be shut up and wait till you see all the facts," he said. "If I’d kept my mouth shut 10 more days, Nixon was gone and I’d never have to stick my neck out. But in my 35 years in Congress, that was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
For Clinton's impeachment, Lott said he and Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., had to agree on the structure of the trial to ensure that it was fair and neither side had any procedural advantage.
“They’re going to have to find a way to get it done, they’re not getting off to a great start, I don’t think,” Lott told NBC News. “Great advantage I had, was that I had Tom Daschle. He was fair, he was honest, we worked very closely through the whole process. And I think that made a huge difference. Important moments in history bring people together, whether they want to be or not. They’re going to have to talk about how to proceed. It’s that simple.”
House nearing a vote after 10 hours of debate
After 10 hours of debate, the House of Representatives is nearing an actual vote on impeachment as members of leadership deliver remarks on the two articles of impeachment.
The gallery above the floor of the House is filling up with onlookers, too, as lawmakers near the historic vote.
"Democrats did not choose impeachment," Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, as some GOP members in the House laughed loudly. "We did not want this. However, President Trump's misconduct has forced our Constitutional republic to protect itself."
Cheney: Voting to impeach Trump will 'permanently damage our republic'Dec. 19, 201903:06
'End of story': Trump did this to himself, Davis says before walking off
Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., offered a brief summary of her view just after 7 p.m. tonight.
“Make no mistake, we are not impeaching this president. He is impeaching himself. If you are the president, and you obstruct justice, try to bribe a foreign leader, and threaten national security, you’re going to get impeached. End of story,” she said before walking away from the podium.
Welcome brevity in hour 10 of member remarks.
Davis: President Trump is 'impeaching himself'Dec. 19, 201900:35
Nunes claims Democrats found a way to 'make a coup attempt boring'Dec. 18, 201902:59
McConnell, Schumer to discuss impeachment by week's end
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday that he would meet with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to discuss the path forward on an impeachment trial before the Senate leaves for the holiday recess.
"Before we finish the session, we’ll sit down and talk about the way forward, and hopefully the first phase will be easy to agree to," McConnell said.
The Senate could recess either by the end of the day Thursday or Friday, depending on when it finishes remaining work on spending bills and judicial appointments. The House passed a $1.4 trillion spending package Tuesday that would fund federal agencies through next fall.
Earlier in the day, McConnell said on the Senate floor that he “hoped” he and Schumer could sit down and reach an agreement about whether there should be witnesses in the trial.
Schumer responded shortly after, saying McConnell must “offer one good reason why relevant witnesses shouldn't testify in an impeachment trial of President Trump” and again urged Trump to allow four top aides to testify — former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, senior Mulvaney adviser Robert Blair and Michael Duffey, associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget.
Jordan: Democrats 'don't care about the process' for impeachmentDec. 18, 201903:10
Zeldin calls impeachment inquiry 'Schiff show' on House floor
Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., alluded to profanity as he called the impeachment inquiry a "Schiff show" while speaking on the House floor against impeachment, riffing on the surname of Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did not respond to the remark, but smirked. He has drawn the ire of Republicans who claimed he was unfair during the impeachment inquiry and some have called for his resignation, including Trump.
Trump has previously called Schiff "Adam Schitt," in another attempt to pronounce his name as vulgar slang. Republican lawmakers have also previously riffed on his name in the same way.
The House has rules against using profanity on the floor during a debate.
Watching from outside the House Gallery
Maxine Waters: 'This day was not inevitable, but it was predictable'
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., wrapped up three minutes of remarks (a lot of time in this format!).
She went slightly over time and Republicans began to audibly grumble when she wasn’t immediately cut off. When Waters was gaveled out, she jokingly “yielded” time back (that she no longer had), eliciting laughs from the Democratic side of the chamber.
Maxine Waters: 'This day was not inevitable, but it was predictable'Dec. 18, 201903:38
Sen. Lindsey Graham: 'I assured' Trump his legacy would be more than impeachment
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump's closest allies, said Wednesday that he told the president his legacy would stand for more than just the expected House impeachment.
"I talked to him today. I said, 'How you doing?'" Graham told reporters when asked how Trump was feeling. "He said, 'Well, I’m being impeached, but other than that, I'm OK.'"
"I think he's worried about the effect it will have on the presidency itself," Graham added. "But I told him, 'Mr. President, when you look at the last week, we've accomplished some things that would be a great year for any normal president. Your legacy is going to now include being impeached by the House, acquitted by the Senate, the question is will it be more than that,' and I'm sure, I assured him it would."
Graham wants the Senate impeachment trial to be 'as short as possible'Dec. 18, 201901:27
Graham also said he would push for a quick trial in the Senate, adding that he would not call witnesses being sought by Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
"We’ll listen to the House case, allow the president to make comments through his legal team, then we’ll vote, and the sooner the better for me," Graham said.
"I've made up my mind about the accusations, I’ve seen the transcripts," he said, calling the testimony of Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and others "hearsay upon hearsay. I've never believed this was an impeachable offense."
Top Senate Republicans request records, interviews with former Obama officials
Top Senate Republicans on Wednesday requested records from and interviews with former Obama administration officials regarding Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, and Hunter Biden, both at the heart of Trump's impeachment inquiry.
Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, chair of the Homeland Security Committee; Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chair of the Finance Committee; and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter requesting information from the following:
- Antony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state
- Amos Hochstein, former senior adviser on international energy affairs to Vice President Joe Biden
- Catherine Novelli, former undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment
- Victoria Nuland, former assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs
- David Wade, former chief of staff to Secretary of State John Kerry
The three senators said the interview requests were part of their ongoing inquiry into potential conflicts of interest and political influence by Ukraine, including Burisma, which employed Hunter Biden as a board member while his father was vice president.
The chairmen have requested a response no later than Monday, Dec. 23.
Trump impeachment: 15 best lines from the House debate so far
There was solemnity. There was anger. There was hyperbole.
Wednesday's historic full House debate on the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump has had it all — and it's not even halfway over yet.
Here are the 15 standout lines from Wednesday's debate so far.
NBC/WSJ poll: Public remains split on Trump's impeachment and ouster from office
Just hours before the U.S. House of Representatives is slated to vote on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that the American public remains deadlocked — reliably along party lines — over whether he should be impeached and removed from office.
While that split suggests Trump will likely survive a Senate trial after an impeachment in the House — a conviction requires a two-thirds vote and thus a sizable number of Republican senators — the survey also finds that about half of all voters say they are certain to vote against the president next November.
And Trump’s job approval rating is stuck in the low or mid-40s, where it’s been in the NBC/WSJ poll for most of the last two years.
Amash: Trump 'has abused and violated the public trust'Dec. 18, 201902:07
Trump in 2008: It would've been 'wonderful' if Pelosi impeached Bush, but Clinton impeachment 'was nonsense'
President Donald Trump is not a fan of the impeachment proceedings, but a decade ago he said it would have been "wonderful" if Nancy Pelosi had impeached a Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
In a 2008 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, which went viral online on Wednesday, Trump said he was "surprised" Pelosi "didn't do more in terms of Bush and going after Bush."
"It just seemed like she was really going to look to impeach Bush and get him out of office. Which personally I think would have been a wonderful thing," Trump said.
Blitzer responded, "To impeach him?"
"For the war," Trump said. "For the war! Well, he lied! He got us into the war with lies!"
Trump then contrasted Bush with former President Bill Clinton, who was impeached.
"I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant," Trump said. "And they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense. And yet Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying. By saying they had WMDs, by saying all sorts of things that happened not to be true."
Fast-forward to 2014, and Trump spoke wistfully of the idea of impeaching then-President Barack Obama
"He would be a mess," Trump said. "He would be thinking about nothing but. It would be a horror show for him. It would be an absolute embarrassment. It would go down on his record permanently."
On Wednesday, Trump and his administration fumed ahead of the House impeachment vote. The House is expected to adopt two articles of impeachment against Trump.
“Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG!" Trump tweeted. "A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!”
“We are all mad,” a White House official told NBC News, describing the president's reaction as one of "disbelief" that the process had reached this point.
McConnell hasn’t coordinated with Pelosi on delivery of articles of impeachment
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s up to Speaker Pelosi on when they receive the articles of impeachment in the Senate and that he has not been coordinating with her on when they will be delivered.
"You'd have to ask her when she's going to send them," he said.
'We do not have kings, we have presidents': Lewis supports impeachmentDec. 18, 201901:34
Kellyanne Conway on impeachment vote: 'It’s an add water and stir day'
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters on Wednesday that President Donald Trump is watching the House impeachment debate but he doesn't see it as a stain on his legacy.
"I think it’s an add water and stir day," she said. "The proceeding is preordained."
Conway said he does see it as a stain on the legacy of the people determined to remove him from office.
"I think the day is solemn and sad, but not quite the way that the Democrats and Speaker Pelosi are describing it," she told reporters. "I think it’s a sad, solemn day because it never should happen. You can’t promise people treason, bribery, extortion, high crimes and misdemeanor, collusion, quid pro quos, and then come up with very spare, very specious articles of impeachment."
Gohmert, Nadler have words as gavel bangs for order
There was a brief, tense moment between House Judiciary member Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., after Nadler called Gohmert out over his floor remarks.
During his statement, Gohmert mentioned the conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, to which Nadler responded, "I'm concerned that any representative of the United States would spout Russian propaganda on House floor."
Gohmert returned to the dais to shout a response and then walked up to the committee chairman, appearing to briefly chastise him, as the gavel banged for order.
Schiff takes over as floor manager
Now that we are in the second half of the floor debate, House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff is taking over as the floor debate manager from Nadler.
'On the first day of hearings, Pelosi gave to us...': Pro-Trump carolers sing the '12 Days'
And here are the lyrics:
'What happens tomorrow?': Hurd asks what comes after impeachmentDec. 18, 201901:18
It's a duck! It's a witch! It's hyperbole! Lawmakers' colorful impeachment comparisons
Everyone agrees that Trump’s impeachment is historic. It’s the third in American history. But lawmakers on both sides — and Trump himself — have adopted their own colorful ways of describing it.
Since the beginning of the House hearings and debates leading up to the full House vote on Wednesday, clichés, similes, metaphors and allusions, among other ... attempts, have been used to make a case for or against impeachment.
Here’s what Trump's impeachment, the process, the debate and/or the hearings have been compared to:
The crucifixion of Jesus
The bombing of Pearl Harbor
Merry impeachment! White House sent Christmas cards to senators on Wednesday
As the House debated articles of impeachment against the president on Wednesday, the White House sent out Christmas cards to Donald Trump's potential jurors in the Senate.
The Christmas cheer was delivered along with some jeer — a copy of the president's searing six-page letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday blasting impeachment proceedings.
"True story: there is a White House staffer going around the Senate delivering to each office, as a package, the incoherent, scathing Pelosi letter AND ... wait for it ... a giant 16x12 White House Christmas card (along with, implausibly, a second smaller Christmas card)," tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. "What a day."
Murphy's fellow Democratic senator from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, said he'd received the packages as well.
"Thanks for this card & your 6 page impeachment screed. Bizarrely delivered together. Happy Holidays & best wishes for the coming year!" he tweeted.
On the House side, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., asked about the expense of sending Trump's letter by mail.
A White House official confirmed that Christmas cards and the letter were being delivered to senators, as well as House members, on Wednesday, but also noted that while they were delivered together, they were in separate packages.
Conway on GOP rep's comparison of Trump's treatment to Jesus': 'I don't like many Jesus comparisons'
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Wednesday that she wasn't a fan of comparing the impeachment investigation to how Jesus was treated after a Republican congressman said earlier that Jesus had received more due process than Trump.
"I don't like many Jesus comparisons," Conway said, adding, "I think it probably, on a day like today, is one of the least important comments made."
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., made the Jesus comparison.
"When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers," Loudermilk said from the House floor. "During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than Democrats have afforded this president in this process."
Republicans argue impeachment is happening because Democrats 'hate' Trump
Republicans have been hammering home a message throughout Wednesday's debate: Democrats are only voting to impeach Trump because they "hate" him.
"This vote, this day has nothing to do with Ukraine," Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said, adding, "This vote, this day is about one thing and one thing only: They hate this President."
Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., outlined a long list of policy differences Democrats have with Trump, claiming with nearly every one that Democrats "hate" Trump for those positions.
And Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., said Democrats were blinded by their "hate" of Trump.
Republicans insist Democrats 'hate' Trump during impeachment debateDec. 19, 201900:36
It's a message Democrats have countered at multiple junctures.
"We do not hate President Trump," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said. "But we do know that President Trump will continue to threaten the nation's security, democracy and constitutional system if he is allowed to remain in office."
And Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., said earlier, "I speak today not because I hate this president, but because I love this body, the people's House."
Notably, some of those same Republican congressmen did not mince words about the president when he was running for office in 2016.
Stewart, for example, compared Trump to Benito Mussolini, Italy's World War II-era fascist leader.
"If some of you are Donald Trump supporters, we see the world differently, because I can't imagine what someone is thinking," Stewart said in March 2016, adding that Trump "does not represent Republican ideals, he is our Mussolini."
Grothman, meanwhile, said that same month that Trump was "an embarrassment as a person."
"You look at the way he behaves," Grothman said. "If your 8-year-old child behaved that way, you'd wonder if there was something wrong with them. You'd chastise them. This is the president of the United States."
GOP Rep. Kelly compares Trump impeachment day to bombing of Pearl Harbor
Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., drew a direct comparison between Wednesday’s impeachment vote and the bombing of Pearl Harbor — saying that they are both dates that "will live in infamy."
“On Dec. 7, 1941, a horrific act happened in the United States, and it’s one that President Roosevelt said, this is a date that will live in infamy,” Kelly said, referring to the famous speech given by then-President Franklin Roosevelt after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
“Today, Dec. 18, 2019, is another day that will live in infamy,” Kelly said.
Connolly ties in past presidents during impeachment debate
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., wore a tie with a colorful collage of what appears to be past American presidents as he gave an impassioned speech on the House floor during the debate in support of impeachment.
GOP Rep. Loudermilk: Jesus 'afforded more rights' than Trump
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., said Wednesday that Jesus was treated more fairly than Trump.
"When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers," Loudermilk said from the House floor. "During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than Democrats have afforded this president in this process."
Trump did not go quite so far in his comparisons regarding the impeachment process, saying in a letter to Pelosi on Tuesday that he was being afforded less due process than those accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials.
Later during the floor debate, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted a response to Loudermilk, referring to Romans 1:25, which reads: "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen."
'Learn some history': Mayor of Salem, Mass., blasts Trump over witch trials
The mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, said President Donald Trump needs to "learn some history" after he claimed those accused in the city's infamous 17th century witch trials received more due process than he has in the House impeachment inquiry.
Mayor Kim Driscoll, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the trials in 1692 included "powerless, innocent victims" who were "hanged or pressed to death" on scant evidence.
Twenty people suspected of witchcraft were killed in Salem, a coastal city about 20 miles north of Boston, during a frenzy stoked by superstition, fear of disease and strangers, and jealousy. Nineteen were hanged, and one man was crushed by rocks.
Trump, Driscoll said, is a powerful world leader and the allegations against him come with "ample evidence" and "admissions of wrongdoing."
"Right, will they ever learn some history?" Driscoll wrote in a follow-up tweet. "This situation is much different than the plight of the witch trial victims, who were convicted using spectral evidence + then brutally hanged or pressed to death. A dubious legal process that bears no relation to televised impeachment."
In a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, Trump slammed Democrats for seeking to impeach him.
"More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials," he complained. "One hundred years from now, when people look back at this affair, I want them to understand it, and learn from it, so that it can never happen to another President again."
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Republican Rep. Rooney calls for White House aides to testify and Democrats to slow down
Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., who said Wednesday that he would against both articles of impeachment, told NBC News in a phone interview that he wants Trump aides who the White House has refused to make available during the House hearings to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.
“It bothers me, yes,” Rooney said Wednesday. “It’s making it hard on everybody. … They seem to want to play this subpoena-executive privilege game.”
Democrats have consistently complained about an "unprecedented" lack of cooperation from the White House.
Rooney, one of the last Republicans to announce how he would vote on impeachment, said that he took his vote “very seriously,” and that he did “exhaustive” research on Watergate, which he called the model, and President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. He said he also talked to former White House counsels.
He said Trump’s conduct is “not good” and criticized him for “beating up” on former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and Ukraine's president, and for deprecating our foreign service officers “who are suffering great hardship.”
However, he expressed skepticism about how the Democrats have run the inquiry.
He said if the aides are refusing to talk, the Democrats should “look beyond emotion” and “work through it” in court “so you can create a case for the American people.”
He said the president’s actions and the process are setting “very bad precedents,” and the remedy may just have to be the ballot box.
Congress, he said, should get to work, including “getting after those Russians for trying to influence our election.”
The Mueller investigation didn't start in Congress
Nadler retorts, 'The new president would be Mike Pence, not Hillary Clinton' if Trump is removed; Republicans cheer
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, zinged Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah after he slammed Democrats for trying to nullify the election through impeachment.
“They think Hillary Clinton should be president and they want to fix that,” Stewart had said, arguing that the impeach inquiry is a maneuver to “take away my vote.”
Nadler shot back, “I would remind the gentleman that if President Trump is removed the new president would be Mike Pence, not Hillary Clinton.”
Several Republicans cheered and clapped after Nadler's remarks, including Oversight Committee member Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Judiciary ranking Republican Doug Collins of Georgia.
Stewart: House Democrats 'want to take away my president'Dec. 18, 201902:13
Sarah Sanders: Pelosi 'too weak' to stand up to liberals in Democratic Party
Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders weighed in on today's impeachment debate, slamming Pelosi as being "too weak to stand up to the angry liberals in her party."
Trump appears to be watching, tweets: 'THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA'
Trump appears to be paying close attention to Wednesday's impeachment proceedings, tweeting, "SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS."
"THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!" he continued as the House debated Wednesday afternoon.
Moments earlier, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the press pool that Trump "will be working all day."
"He will be briefed by staff throughout that day, and could catch some of the proceedings between meetings," she continued.
Rep. Jayapal: 'The president is the smoking gun'
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., reprised a line she used during House Judiciary Committee impeachment debate last week.
Trump, Jayapal said, “solicited foreign interference before, he is doing it now, and he will do it again.”
“The president is the smoking gun,” she said.
Matthews: This isn't a fact finding mission, it's a roll-call vote to see what party you're in
Dems Gabbard and Serrano, Republicans Hunter and Shimkus haven't cast votes yet Wednesday
Two House Democrats have not yet voted Wednesday: Reps. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and José Serrano of New York.
Gabbard, who's running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said in a TV interview Tuesday in South Carolina that she was still "thinking through" how she planned to vote on the articles of impeachment. Gabbard added that she had "a lot of concerns" about any "partisan-driven impeachment process" that further divides an already divided country.
She also said in separate remarks Tuesday that she planned to introduce a resolution that would censure the president.
Serrano has Parkinson's disease and announced in March that he would not seek re-election in 2020.
"Unfortunately, my recovery has not progressed as quickly as I had hoped," he said in a statement explaining his absence. "I am continuing to address health issues related to my Parkinson's diagnosis, and other recent health concerns," including the need for prostate surgery this week.
"I have been monitoring the process from home however, and were I there, I would vote to impeach Donald Trump on both counts. His actions in office have undermined our national security, our democratic processes, and our Constitution.
"While it is difficult to miss these important votes, I trust my colleagues to make the right choices to protect our nation, our laws and our democracy."
Other members that have not voted Wednesday include Reps. John Shimkus, R-Ill., and Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. The Ethics Committee has said Hunter can't vote because he pleaded guilty this year to campaign finance violations.
Shimkus, who's retiring from Congress, said in a statement Wednesday that before the impeachment votes were scheduled, he had planned a trip to Africa with his wife to visit their son in Tanzania.
"At the White House last week I informed President Trump that I would not be present for the these votes, and he was supportive of me visiting my son," Shimkus said. "I told him I did not support his impeachment, and I have requested that this statement of my reasons for opposing both articles of impeachment be entered into the Congressional Record."
The offices of Gabbard and Hunter did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.
High-profile Trump allies being considered to defend Trump in Senate trial
Four sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News that several high-profile House Republicans are being considered to be part of the team that would defend the president in a Senate trial: Oversight Committee ranking member Jim Jordan of Ohio, Oversight member Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Intelligence and Judiciary member John Ratcliffe of Texas, and Judiciary member Mike Johnson of Louisiana.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone would still likely lead the effort. However, no decision has been made while the president considers his options, sources say, with one official describing the discussions as “fluid” right now.
While the signals from the Senate side suggest formal witnesses are unlikely to be called at this point, one source adds that the White House is also considering trying to have House Republicans — such as Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga. — serve as witnesses in some capacity to speak about the closed-door testimony they’ve heard and documents they’ve reviewed, and argue it amounted to nothing substantive.
Nadler outlines arguments underpinning articles
Citing a “clear pattern of wrongdoing,” Nadler focused his speech mostly on the substance of House Democrats’ arguments underpinning each of the articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — against Trump.
“To our founding generation, abuse of power was a specific, well-defined offense,” he said.
Nadler on impeachment: 'We cannot rely on the next election as a remedy'Dec. 18, 201902:11
Nadler, the House Judiciary Chairman, said Trump’s dealings in Ukraine were not based on “any legitimate national security or foreign policy interest” and that the “evidence” against him “exactly” fits the Founders’ definition of abuse of power.
“For this alone, he should be impeached,” Nadler said.
Collins: 'The people of America see through this'
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., delivered a familiar argument against the impeachment inquiry, saying that Democrats are beholden to the “clock and the calendar” and were ramming through the inquiry because they fear Trump at the ballot box.
“The clock and the calendar are terrible masters,” he said. “They do not care about facts.”
Collins: Impeachment vote 'tramples everything this House believes in'Dec. 18, 201906:53
Collins, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, again claimed that the president did nothing wrong because Ukraine said there was no pressure and was unaware of the hold on military aid. He said Republicans have no problem taking their case to the American people and letting the voters decide, but he said Democrats were using the impeachment inquiry to kneecap Trump in his re-election bid because they lost the 2016 election.
“It has trampled everything this House believes in,” he said. “The people of America see through this, the people of America understand due process, and they understand when it is being trampled in the people’s House.”
Tours of U.S. Capitol still underway for visitors
Tours of the U.S. Capitol were still being held Wednesday morning and afternoon as the House debated the articles of impeachment.
Groups of tourists sat above the House floor in the gallery observing the proceedings, including when the House voted to approve the rule for six hours of debate that will lead to the final votes on the articles.
Visitors were also seen touring the Capitol Rotunda, the hallway that leads past House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office and Statuary Hall, where a number of TV cameras were set up for live shots and interviews with lawmakers.
Pelosi kicks off debate speeches: 'He gave us no choice'
Pelosi, in a lengthy speech that kicked off a formal debate by the full House on the impeachment of Trump, called impeachment “one of the most solemn powers this body can take.”
“No member, regardless of political or party, comes to congress to impeach a president,” said Pelosi, standing next to a placard with an American flag that read “To the Republic For Which It Stands…”
But because Trump pursued an “improper personal benefit” at “the expense of our national security,” the “Founders’ vision of a Republic are under threat.”
Pelosi: 'Today we are here to defend democracy for the people'Dec. 18, 201908:34
She said she would, therefore “solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the President of the United States.”
“If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duties,” Pelosi said.
“He gave us no choice,” she added.
She also paid tribute to Elijah Cummings, the late House Oversight Committee chairman who passed away in October, in the middle of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, saying that he was now “dancing with the angels.”
Democratic members gave Pelosi a subdued standing ovation as she concluded her floor remarks.
Van Drew and Peterson lone Democrats voting with Republicans
Two Democrats — Reps. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota — voted with Republicans on a procedural vote before the full House vote on the articles of impeachment.
The "previous question" passed 229-197, which closes the articles of impeachment resolution rule debate before the six hours of debate preceding the full House vote.
Van Drew and Peterson are from districts that Trump won in 2016. Van Drew, most notably, is considering defecting from the Democratic Party because of the inquiry and his re-election chances.
'We are all mad': Trump, White House fume as House debates impeachment
President Donald Trump and his administration were fuming Wednesday as the House prepared to vote for his impeachment, and they prepared in turn for "war" over the move he fears will stain his legacy.
“Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!” Trump tweeted, one of nearly two dozen tweets and retweets from his account by noon Wednesday.
“We are all mad,” a White House official told NBC News, describing the president's reaction as one of "disbelief" that the process had reached this point, and his team as being “angry this is happening.” But officials were quick to add that the president is ready for the fight ahead, describing the White House as battle-tested at this point.
Trump's impeachment, in pictures
Frank Thorp V, a producer and reporter for NBC News on Capitol Hill, has documented the impeachment proceedings against Trump since Sept. 24, when Pelosi announced a formal inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine.
Thorp used a 1950s Graflex Speed Graphic large format camera to shoot critical scenes — key witnesses on the stand, lawmakers speaking to the press — on 4x5 black-and-white film. He then developed them himself and posted the resulting images on social media.
View more of the photos here.
Lieu present for impeachment vote days after heart surgery
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., was on the House floor Wednesday morning ahead of the impeachment vote days after he had heart surgery.
Lieu, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, missed the panel's vote last week on the articles of impeachment as he recovered from the procedure. He was also in the Capitol for votes on Tuesday.
Lieu: 'Impeachment is a form of deterrence' and will 'follow' TrumpDec. 18, 201902:48
Democrat McGovern calls on Republicans 'to stand up for your Constitution,' while GOP's Cole says 'we deserve better'
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said in his closing statement as debate on the rule came to an end that if Trump’s actions aren’t checked, America is “rolling out the welcome mat” for foreign nations to interfere in U.S. elections and in choosing our leaders.
“I took an oath to uphold the Constitution,” he said, claiming that he decried partisanship.
McGovern urged his Republican colleagues to take his approach and “stand up for your Constitution.”
“When I vote yes,” he said, “my conscience will be clear.”
McGovern on impeachment vote: 'This isn't about siding with your team'Dec. 18, 201902:22
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oka., in his closing argument called the House impeachment push a “flawed process” that has gone on “at the expense of minority rights.”
“Madam speaker, we deserve better than this,” Cole said.
His remark is consistent with the argument Republican lawmakers have offered during the impeachment inquiry, claiming the process is a vendetta against Trump because Democrats lost the 2016 election and has stifled Republican opposition.
House unlikely to vote on House managers today
At this point, it seems unlikely the House will vote today on a resolution naming the impeachment managers, who act as the prosecutors in the Senate Trial.
A senior Democratic aide tells NBC News the likely next step will be a public release of the impeachment manager names, but there was no time specified for when this announcement will occur.
The rule, which will be voted on shortly, will allow the Speaker to name managers at any point after the articles pass. There will be a debate and vote on that resolution naming the managers and they have to be named in order to transmit the articles to the Senate.
Lesko on impeachment: 'The process has been rigged from the start'Dec. 18, 201904:01
Meanwhile, on the Senate floor ... another sparring match
As House members kicked off debate over impeachment guidelines, the Senate leaders from both parties engaged in their own sparring match, going tit-for-tat over their competing desires over how a Senate trial of Trump should look.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., kicked things off, saying on the Senate floor that he felt it was “unfortunate” that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had made a “decision to try to angrily negotiate” the procedures of a Senate trial “through the press.
McConnell said he “hoped” that he and Schumer “can sit down” and reach an agreement about whether there should be witnesses in the trial.
Moments later, Schumer responded, saying McConnell must “offer one good reason why relevant witnesses shouldn't testify in an impeachment trial of President Trump.”
He also again urged Trump to allow four top aides to testify — former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, senior Mulvaney adviser Robert Blair and Michael Duffey, associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget.
Earlier, McConnell said during an interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” that a Senate trial would be “good therapy” for many Senate Democrats because they’ll have to “sit there quietly and listen.”
Senate Republicans bring Baby Yoda into this
Protesters give differing signs about who they want impeached
Clinton: 'Impeachment is the only remedy'
Pelosi and other lawmakers seen wearing black ahead of impeachment vote
House Speak Nancy Pelosi was seen wearing black ahead of the full House impeachment vote.
As Pelosi walked from her office to the House chamber, she said she was "sad" about the day's proceedings and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., said that the dark clothing is to reflect that it’s not a day to celebrate.
Female members informally talked about wearing dark clothing today, she said.
Other lawmakers were seen wearing black or dark colors as both parties argue for and against impeachment. Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., gave an impassioned speech against impeachment on the floor wearing black.
Dems block GOP motions on vote procedure, speaking time
Republicans just tried to make two unanimous consent requests to change the process around today’s vote. Both were blocked by Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who controls the time.
The first request was from Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the House Republican Conference chair, who requested that votes be done one at a time, with members standing and saying their votes out loud, on camera (members vote by electronic card).
The second request was to double the amount of debate time and make sure each member had a set amount of time to speak if they want.
Gaetz: We'll lose the vote but we won the argument
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., one of Trump's staunchest congressional allies, conceded in a Wednesday tweet that Republicans will lose the impeachment vote Wednesday but claimed they've "won" the argument.
"Today, we will not win the vote, but we have won the argument," he tweeted. "Our country has been divided and distracted with no crime, no victim, and a terrible process."
Why is Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette presiding over floor debate?
Earlier Wednesday, Pelosi asked Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., to preside over the floor debate as speaker pro tempore.
DeGette was chosen for the role because she is a master at presiding, is the Democrats' toughest speaker pro tem and has been preparing for this debate for weeks, a senior Democratic aide said.
DeGette, 62, has represented Colorado’s First Congressional District — which contains all of Denver and many of its suburbs — since 1997. She is a former chief deputy whip for House Democrats and currently sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Before serving in the House, DeGette served two terms in the Colorado state House, according to her official House biography.
As rule debate got underway, Speaker Pelosi arrived on the House floor at roughly 10:12 a.m. She is in the back corner of the chamber on the Democratic side talking to staff and members.
Democrats table GOP resolution condemning Nadler, Schiff
Democrats successfully tabled a resolution that had been introduced by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on the floor Wednesday that sought to condemn the actions by the Democratic chairmen of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.
Democrats tabled the privileged resolution in a 226-191 vote.
In a tweet, McCarthy said that Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., abused their power during the impeachment inquiry.
Jolly: GOP delay tactics are like the 'tantrum of a child'
Jolly: GOP delay tactics are like the 'tantrum of a child'Dec. 18, 201901:38
Grisham explains why Trump wrote letter to Pelosi
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Wednesday that Trump wrote his six-page letter to Pelosi lambasting her and the impeachment process because “it was very important to him that he put it down in writing so that it would be safe for future generations.”
Grisham, in an interview with “Fox and Friends,” added that “this is a sad day and he wanted to make sure that he put down exactly what they're doing. A president is about to be impeached for partisan political reasons and that alone.
Grisham also took a shot at Pelosi, saying that she moved forward with impeachment because she was “held hostage by a very, very radical group within the Democratic Party, and I think that she was pressured to do so.”
“She overplayed her hand, and now she has to see it through,” Grisham said.
Protesters start gathering outside the Capitol
Democrats block GOP motion to adjourn
Minutes after the House floor opened Wednesday, Republicans called for a motion to adjourn the House for the day, and they called for a roll call vote.
Democrats blocked the motion in a 226-188 vote.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., chairman of the Freedom Caucus, made the motion as he was surrounded by a number of other conservatives on the floor including former Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
During the debate over impeachment Wednesday, Republicans are expected to offer motions on the floor that will delay the final votes on the articles.
Mucarsel-Powell: Pelosi told us to 'vote our conscience' on impeachmentDec. 18, 201902:32
House chaplain delivers prayer on floor: 'Give them wisdom and discernment'
The Rev. Patrick Conroy, the House chaplain, opened the floor Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET with a prayer in which he asked for guidance for the men and women of the people’s House "as they consider important legislation" and constitutional action.
“Give them wisdom and discernment,” he said. “Help them to realize that your constituency is wider and broader than ever we could measure or determine.”
“Help them, and help us all to put away any judgments that belong to you and do what we can to live together in harmony,” Conroy added.
House gavels in, votes on GOP motion to adjourn
The House gaveled in at 9 a.m. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, made a motion to adjourn, which the House is now voting on. Democrats will kill the motion, and then members will begin one hour of debate on the rule for consideration of the articles of impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has asked Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., to preside over the floor debate as speaker pro tempore, an aide to the speaker said. Pelosi will speak at the opening of general debate and will preside over both votes on the articles of impeachment.
DeGette was chosen for the role because she is a master at presiding, is the Democrats' toughest speaker pro tem and has been preparing for this debate for weeks, a senior Democratic aide said.
'Everything is at stake' in today's vote, says Rep. JeffriesDec. 18, 201903:43
First Read: Impeachment caps a dark and dysfunctional decade in American politics
It’s only fitting that the decade is coming to an end with an impeachment vote against the president of the United States, because it’s been a dark 10 years in American politics.
And it’s gotten progressively worse, especially in the last three years.
Consider this timeline of controversy, gridlock, outrage and resentment in our politics. Add them all up, and it’s easily the darkest decade in politics since the 1960s. And think of anyone in their 20s right now — it’s all they’ve seen.
Schiff condemns Trump's 'lack of morality'
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, whose panel led the investigation into Trump's Ukraine dealings at the center of Democrats' abuse of power argument, joked Wednesday that the passage of President Donald Trump's scorched-earth letter that focused on Schiff was "probably the nicest thing" Trump had "to say about me" in some time.
Rep. Schiff: Timing on impeachment driven by urgencyDec. 18, 201904:02
"This president does nothing but project onto others his lack of morality," Schiff, D-Calif., told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" of Trump's Tuesday letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Read more from Schiff's interview here.
Trump on impeachment: 'Can you believe...'
Trump tweets he did 'nothing wrong' ahead of House vote on impeachmentDec. 18, 201902:29
President Donald Trump expressed disbelief on Twitter ahead of Wednesday's historic vote that the House is set to formally impeach him for his conduct involving Ukraine.
Read the full story here.
Impeachment rewind: What we learned from House Intelligence Committee hearings
From Wednesday Nov. 13 to Thursday Nov. 21, Americans were glued to their televisions, computers and streaming devices, as the House Intelligence Committee held a series of long public hearings as part of a broader Democratic-led impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
Click here for a look back on all the things we learned from two jam-packed weeks of public testimony.
McConnell rejects Democrats' call for new witnesses in a Senate trial
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ripped House Democrats' impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump as the "most unfair" in U.S. history a day ahead of the impeachment vote, rejecting the Democratic minority's call for new witnesses as part of a Senate trial.
"It is not the Senate's job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to guilty," McConnell, R-Ky., said.
Also Tuesday, he reporters he would not be an "impartial juror" if an impeachment trial is held in the GOP-led Senate. "I think we're going to get an almost entirely partisan impeachment," he added.
McConnell: 'I'm not an impartial juror' in a Senate impeachment trialDec. 17, 201901:09
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had requested that the Senate, during its trial, call former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, as well as two others, to testify about Trump’s Ukraine dealings.
Read more here.
Giuliani boasts of ousting Yovanovitch, reveals more details on what he says he told Trump
Rudy Giuliani, after telling publications that he engineered U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch's ouster because she was an obstacle to investigations desired by his client President Donald Trump, claimed Tuesday that she "needed to be removed for many reasons."
"Yovanovitch needed to be removed for many reasons most critical she was denying visas to Ukrainians who wanted to come to US and explain Dem corruption in Ukraine," Giuliani said on Twitter. "She was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE and that’s not the only thing she was doing. She at minimum enabled Ukrainian collusion."
Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, was tweeting after two news outlets published interviews with him Monday in which he revealed more details about his involvement in Yovanovitch's abrupt removal from her post, as well as what he says Trump knew.
For the full story click here
'Crusade,' 'spiteful,': Trump lambastes Pelosi over impeachment in rambling letter
President Donald Trump on Tuesday excoriated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her effort to have him impeached, calling it a partisan “crusade,” an “unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” and a “spiteful” “election-nullification scheme.”
In a rambling six-page letter, Trump accused Pelosi of having “cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment” and said she was “declaring open war on American Democracy” by pursuing his impeachment.
“You dare to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nullification scheme — yet your spiteful actions display unfettered contempt for America’s founding and your egregious conduct threatens to destroy that which our Founders pledged their very lives to build,” Trump wrote.
“It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!” Trump added in the blistering and brooding letter, which contained 16 exclamation points.
For the full story click here
House Judiciary approves articles of impeachment against President TrumpDec. 13, 201905:39
How the House vote will unfold
Following an introduction of the House resolution, there will be roughly six hours of debate on the articles, with time equally divided and controlled by Chairman Nadler and ranking Republican, Rep. Doug Collins, or their respective designees.
There will be a separate vote for each article of impeachment. Once that is finished, and likely passed, Nadler will appoint House members to serve as "managers," or prosecutors, for the Senate trial. This can be debated for 10 minutes, also equally divided between the Judiciary Chair and ranking Republican.
Speaker Pelosi, GOP Leader McCarthy and Majority Leader Hoyer are permitted to speak as long as they would like on the House floor and it does NOT count towards the 6 hours of debate. So basically the clock stops again when those three speak.