House Judiciary Committee Approves Articles Of Impeachment

Dec 13, 2019
Originally published on December 13, 2019 10:34 am
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NOEL KING, HOST:

The House Judiciary Committee has approved the articles of impeachment against President Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JERRY NADLER: The question now is on Article 1 of the resolution - impeaching President Donald J. Trump for abusing his powers. The clerk will call the roll.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Nadler.

NADLER: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Nadler votes aye. Ms. Lofgren.

ZOE LOFGREN: Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Ms. Lofgren votes aye.

KING: It was, as we expected, a partisan vote. All 23 Democrats voted to move the articles of impeachment to the House floor. All 17 Republicans, including Texas Representative Louie Gohmert, voted no.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LOUIE GOHMERT: Mr. Chairman, may I ask how I'm recorded?

NADLER: How is the gentleman recorded?

UNIDENTIFIED CLERK: Mr. Gohmert, you are recorded as no.

GOHMERT: I wanted to make sure.

KING: Joining me now is NPR political reporter Tim Mak, who's been monitoring the vote. Tim, how you doing?

TIM MAK, BYLINE: I'm doing good.

KING: OK. So it did not take long this morning.

MAK: Right. Well, but I wouldn't let that fool you.

KING: Go ahead (laughter).

MAK: This was a process that that occurred over three days of very vitriolic and tense argument between Republicans and Democrats, Democrats making the case that the president has committed impeachable offenses and should be removed from office and Republicans making the case that they - that the process has been flawed, that the impeachment investigation was illegitimate, and the president, in essence, did nothing wrong at all.

KING: And the vote in the committee, of course, went across partisan lines. We expected that. So the big question is, what happens next?

MAK: Well, what happens next is that this goes to the House floor. All of the members of the House of Representatives will have an opportunity to vote on this. And we expect it to happen next Wednesday amid a very, very packed legislative calendar.

KING: Do we get the impression that in the same way that committee Democrats stuck together today on this vote, that they'll stay united next week when we're talking about the entire House of Representatives?

MAK: Well, the big question is whether these battleground district Democrats will want to vote for impeachment, or they will vote against impeachment, right? This House majority for the Democrats is built on these swing districts, many of whom have Democrats representing districts that voted for Trump in 2016. So the question is, will those Democrats be willing to stay unified with the remainder of the party, the remainder of the other Democratic lawmakers in the House on this very controversial issue? This is one of those votes that will be remembered. House lawmakers have votes almost every legislative day. And most of them the public doesn't want to know. The public doesn't ultimately know. But this is one of those votes that will mark many careers.

KING: And so if it does pass the House, it'll go to trial in the Senate. What happens then?

MAK: Well, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went on Fox News' "Hannity" last evening and gave us a little bit of a preview of what's to come. Let's take a listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HANNITY")

MITCH MCCONNELL: Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this.

MAK: Well, that's a really remarkable statement from the Senate majority leader - right? - because he is to be, along with other Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats, too, jurors in this trial. And what he is saying is that he will be coordinating with the White House's defense.

KING: That is a pretty extraordinary thing - both juror and you know, in cooperation with the president at the same time. Just quickly, Congress still has some other stuff to get done next week, right?

MAK: Right. Well, lawmakers will be voting on the USMCA trade deal, this spending bill that funds government, each of which could easily take a week to do under more normal circumstances. They're going to be doing all - those two things and impeachment all within three days next week.

KING: Wanting to get it done before they go home for recess.

MAK: Absolutely.

KING: NPR's Tim Mak. Tim, thanks so much.

MAK: Thanks a lot. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.