In this image from video, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the impeachment managers resolution at the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (House Television via AP)

In this image from video, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the impeachment managers resolution at the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (House Television via AP)

House votes to send Trump impeachment to Senate for trial

  • Wednesday, January 15, 2020 12:13pm
  • News

By Lisa Mascaro

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted Wednesday to send two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate and approve House prosecutors for only the third impeachment trial in American history. The nearly party-line vote moved Trump’s impeachment from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic-run House to the Republican-majority Senate, where Trump expects quick acquittal, even as new evidence is raising fresh questions about his Ukraine dealings.

The vote was 228-193, coming at the start of a presidential election year and one month after the House impeached Trump alleging abuse of power over his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, using military aid to the country as leverage. Trump was also charged with obstructing Congress’ ensuing probe.

“We are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history,” Pelosi said, addressing the House before the vote. “This is what an impeachment is about,” she said earlier, announcing the prosecution team. “The president violated his oath of office, undermined our national security, jeopardized the integrity of our elections.”

Trump, during an event at the White House, rejected the charges as a “hoax.”

The president’s team expects acquittal with a Senate trial lasting no more than two weeks, according to senior administration officials unauthorized to discuss the matter and granted anonymity. Trump opposes the calling of additional witnesses, and the officials said they expect the trial to conclude before Trump delivers his State of the Union address Feb. 4.

All but one Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted to transmit the articles. All Republicans voted against. One former Republican-turned-independent, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, joined Democrats.

The top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy of California, said Americans will look back on this “sad saga” that tried to remove the president with the “weakest case.”

Later Wednesday, the House managers were to walk the articles across the Capitol to the Senate in a dramatic procession. The Senate trial is set to start Thursday.

The seven-member prosecution team will be led by the chairmen of the House impeachment proceedings, Reps. Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee and Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee, two of Pelosi’s top lieutenants for only the third presidential impeachment in the nation’s history.

Ahead of Wednesday’s session, Schiff released new records from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, about the Ukraine strategy. including an exchange with another man about surveilling later-fired Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch.

Schiff said the new evidence should bring more pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is reluctant to allow witnesses to testify.

“If McConnell makes this the first trial in history without witnesses, it will be exposed for what it is and that is an effort to cover up for the president,” Schiff said.

McConnell opened the Senate dismissing what he called a rushed impeachment that is more about the politics of Democrats who don’t like Trump than the charges against him.

“This isn’t really about Ukraine policy or military money,” McConnell said. “This has been naked partisanship all along.”

During Pelosi’s press conference announcing managers, Trump tweeted that impeachment was “another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!”

Trump’s trial will be only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and it comes against the backdrop of a politically divided nation in an election year. The Senate is expected to transform into an impeachment court as early as Thursday, although significant proceedings wouldn’t begin until next Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside over senators, who serve as jurors and swear an oath to deliver “impartial justice.”

The managers are a diverse group with legal, law enforcement and military experience, including Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Sylvia Garcia of Texas, Val Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado and Zoe Lofgren of California. McConnell, who is negotiating rules for the trial proceedings, is under competing pressure from his party for more witnesses, from centrists who are siding with Democrats on the need to hear full testimony and conservatives mounting Trump’s defense.

Senate Republicans signaled they would reject the idea of simply voting to dismiss the articles of impeachment against Trump, as Trump himself has suggested. McConnell agreed he does not have the votes to do that.

McConnell said Tuesday. ”Our members feel we have an obligation to listen to the arguments.”

A mounting number of senators say they want to ensure the ground rules include the possibility of calling new witnesses. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is leading an effort among some Republicans, including Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska for votes on witnesses.

Romney said he wants to hear from John Bolton, the former national security adviser at the White House, who others have said raised alarms about the alternative foreign policy toward Ukraine being run by Giuliani.

Democrats have been pushing Republicans to consider new testimony, arguing that fresh information has emerged during Pelosi’s monthlong delay in transmitting the charges. Republicans control the chamber, 53-47, and are all but certain to acquit Trump. But it takes just 51 votes during the trial to approve rules or call witnesses. Just four GOP senators could form a majority with Democrats to insist on new testimony. It also would take only 51 senators to vote to dismiss the charges against Trump.

At Tuesday’s private GOP lunch, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky warned that if witnesses are allowed, defense witnesses could also be called. He and other Republicans want to subpoena Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, Burisma, while his father was vice president. McConnell prefers to model Trump’s trial partly on the process used for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. It, too, contained motions for dismissal or calling new witnesses.

McConnell is hesitant to call new witnesses who would prolong the trial and put vulnerable senators who are up for reelection in 2020 in a bind with tough choices. At the same time, he wants to give those same senators ample room to show voters they are listening.

—-

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Matthew Daly, Andrew Taylor, Mary Clare Jalonick, Laurie Kellman and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

More in News

Terry Ward
PDN publisher tells of struggles, charity during pandemic

Peninsula Daily News publisher Terry Ward discussed on Wednesday… Continue reading

Doug Milholland of Port Townsend invites people to join him in ringing bells, playing instruments and singing at noon Friday in support of the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which enters into force that day. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Townsend man celebrates weapons treaty

United Nations to declare nuclear ban prohibition

As motorists honked, Linda Abbott-Roe held up her message during the Inauguration Day celebration in downtown Port Townsend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Celebrants express relief, hope

Residents gather, bring signs in downtown Port Townsend and Sequim

Inslee vaccine plan raises concerns

While the state struggles to bolster its… Continue reading

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Clallam County Sheriff's Deputy Ray Cooper, left, anbd Detective Sgt. Eric Munger keep watch at the front entrance of the Clallam County Courthoiuse in Port Angeles on Wednesday to guard against potential disturbances triggered by the election of President Joe Biden. In response to the Jan. 6 storming of the White House in Washington, D,C., and threats of violence in state capitals across the U.S., county officials opted to increase security at the courthouse on Inaugaration Day.
Safe and secure

Clallam County Sheriff’s Deputy Ray Cooper, left, and Detective Sgt. Eric Munger… Continue reading

COVID-19 vaccination clinics to be on hold next week in Clallam

Jefferson Healthcare expanding vaccine availability to 75 and older

Steve Downer and Brian Grad, both of Sequim, wave to drivers on Jan. 20 as they celebrate the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. “I’m relieved,” Downer said of the inauguration. He hopes their first steps will be to address COVID-19, the economy and environment.
Matthew Nash/ Olympic Peninsula News Group
Show of support

Steve Downer and Brian Grad, both of Sequim, wave to drivers on… Continue reading

Health officer: Clallam vaccinations speedy compared to rest of Washington state

While continuing to face supply shortages of COVID-19 vaccines… Continue reading

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, as their children Ashley and Hunter watch.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Biden takes the helm: ‘Democracy has prevailed’

President takes oath in peaceful power transfer

Most Read