The Slatest

House Judiciary Committee Approves Articles of Impeachment Against Donald Trump

Jerry Nadler, surrounded by reporters and photographers.
Democratic Chairman Jerry Nadler speaks to the press after the House Judiciary Committee’s vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Friday. Saul Loeb/Getty Images

After sleeping on it following 14 hours of circular debate on Thursday, which had followed another three hours of opening statements on Wednesday night, the House Judiciary Committee reconvened Friday morning to approve two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The vote on the first article, for abuse of power, was approved 23–17. The vote on the second article, for obstruction of Congress, was also approved 23–17. Each vote was perfectly along party lines with one absentee: California Rep. Ted Lieu, who’s recovering from heart surgery.

In a committee where every motion is a partisan controversy, the scheduling of the vote for midmorning on Friday was no exception. Democrats had believed that Republicans, by introducing and dragging out debate on numerous dead-on-arrival amendments, had purposely pushed off the final vote out of prime-time viewing hours. Had Nadler held the vote on Thursday night after 11 p.m., Republicans almost certainly would have accused them of “impeaching the president in the dead of the night.”

So when Nadler announced Thursday night that he wasn’t dumb enough to fall into that trap, and that the committee would vote Friday, Republicans went livid. The GOP ranking member of the committee, Rep. Doug Collins, called it “the most bush-league play I’ve ever seen in my life” while Rep. Louie Gohmert described the move as “Stalinist.” In explaining the over-the-top anger, it might be important to observe that Republicans on the committee had missed Thursday night’s White House Congressional Ball, for which many of their spouses were in town.

With all of the committee work now complete, the full House will vote on the two articles sometime next week before breaking for the holidays. The outcome isn’t in doubt—Trump is going to be impeached. But it will be interesting to see how many defections Democrats suffer. Two Democrats, New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew and Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, voted against the resolution that set up rules for the impeachment process in October. One Democratic member told me on Thursday that the number this time might be four to six; it could go higher. Democrats can afford to lose 18. One independent, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, will vote in favor of impeachment.

Zero Republicans are expected to vote for either article of impeachment.