The House Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The articles – similar to charges – were approved Friday morning and accuse Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
Both articles were approved on party line votes, 23-17, and they will now move to the full House for a vote.
If the full House approves the articles, Trump will be the third president in US history to be impeached. He is the fourth president to face impeachment by the House.
The Senate will then hold a trial to decide if Trump should be removed from office. However, the Republican-led Senate is considered likely to acquit the president as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there is ‘no chance’ his chamber will vote to remove Trump.
Friday’s vote was historic because it was the first time articles of impeachment have been approved completely on party lines, meaning all Democratic committee members approved the articles while all Republican committee members voted against them.
The House Judiciary Panel has 41 seats. All 23 Democrats voted for approval. All 17 Republicans voted against the articles. One Democratic member, Ted Lieu, from California, was absent this week as he recovers from a heart procedure.
After the articles were approved, the White House released a statement calling the vote a ‘desperate charade of an impeachment inquiry.’
White House Press Secretary Stephanie 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.’
About an hour before the articles were approved, Trump tweeted: ‘How do you get Impeached when you have done NOTHING wrong (a perfect call), have created the best economy in the history of our Country, rebuilt our Military, fixed the V.A. (Choice!), cut Taxes & Regs, protected your 2nd A, created Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, and soooo much more? Crazy!’
Trump is accused of endangering US national security by trying to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, in return for a White House invite, as well as $400 million in military aid.
He is also accused of pressuring Ukraine to probe a debunked theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
The abuse of power article accuses Trump of using his presidential powers to solicit ‘the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.’
The obstruction of Congress charge centers around claims that Trump tried to frustrate the investigation into his alleged abuse of power during his communications with Zelensky.
The House Judiciary Committee was expected to approve the articles Thursday evening, but House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat, pushed the vote until Friday morning.
Nadler adjourned the hearing Thursday, concluding: ‘It is now very late at night. I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days and to search their consciences before we cast our final votes.’
House Democratic leaders are reportedly planning to hold the full House vote on the articles of impeachment on December 18.
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