USA lawmakers begin debate over impeachment articles

Republicans Turn Up Heat on Gordon Sondland in Impeachment Hearing

Democrats unveil articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice

During the Judiciary Committee hearing to debate the articles of impeachment against Trump, Republican Rep. Steve Chabot (pictured) said: "Mr. Chairman, the biggest difference in the Clinton impeachment and this one is that President Clinton committed a crime - perjury".

Two other Democratic leadership sources say they are not planning to whip their members on the floor vote on the articles, meaning they won't twist arms to keep Democrats in line.

"They're an affront to Viola Liuzzo, a mother of five who was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan while she was in Alabama to participate in the Selma to Montgomery march, and they're an affront to the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who championed the Voting Rights Act of 1965", he added.

Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, said Democrats were only impeaching Mr Trump because "they don't like the 63 million people who voted for this president, all of us in flyover country, all of us common folk". "All of those things can still be subject for hearings and possible- if there is something that comes out that's impeachable, that doesn't mean you can't have another impeachment", he told CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.

"I didn't call for impeachment when the president shut down our government or tried to rip health care from those with preexisting conditions or embarrassed us on the world stage or pardoned political cronies", he said.

Many Democrats in those swing districts remain unsure how they will vote on impeachment, although with a 36-seat lead over Republicans in the House, passage is expected.

"President Trump's obstruction was, by contrast, absolute", said Nadler.

Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, said that she did not come to Washington to impeach a president but it is where the requirements of her committee position have taken her.

"They don't like us, people who voted for this president".

Trump will be on friendlier terrain in the Senate, where Democrats are not expected to pick up the 20 Republican votes they need at a minimum to drive the president from office.

In addition to Nadler, several other veterans of the impeachment process spoke for and against the articles.

During an appearance on MSNBC Wednesday evening, Laurence Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard University, explained why, in his view, President Donald Trump's actions offered the "clearest case" for impeachment in American history.

"Wake up!" said Representative David Cicilline, accusing the other party of "wilfully ignoring the facts to protect a corrupt and risky president".

Nadler argued during Wednesday's committee hearing that Trump's refusal to cooperate with lawmakers is unprecedented.

"I believe the president abused the power of his office, putting his own interest above the needs of our nation", McBath said.

But impeachment would mar his record as president and could affect his reelection chances in November 2020.

The final step in the process would be a trial in the Republican-majority Senate, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday would happen next month."Assuming that House Democrats send us articles of impeachment next week, a Senate trial will have to be our first item of business in January", McConnell said. If one or more of the articles are adopted, the Senate would then hold a trial to consider removing Trump.

Democrats said they hoped some Republicans would look past their partisan perspective to confront Trump's abuses rather than defend their party leader.

If the House impeaches Trump, who is charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the matter would then go to the Senate for a trial.

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