In a vote which broke mainly along party lines, the U.S. House on Thursday endorsed a plan from Democrats to set out the guidelines for an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, featuring public hearings in coming weeks and months, and ultimately a possible vote in the full House on actual articles of impeachment.
"No one is above the law," said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), as a parade of Democrats took to the House floor to condemn the lack of cooperation by the President, and the process arguments from Republicans.
"This is an unprecedented cover up," said Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA). "After today there are no more excuses for those who want to avoid the facts."
"I did not come here to launch an impeachment process. However, the facts demand it," said Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA).
The House vote was 232 to 196. Two Democrats broke ranks to vote against the rules plan - Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ).
.@RepJeffries: "The House Impeachment Inquiry is about abuse of power. It's about betrayal. It's about corruption. It's about national security. It's about the undermining of our elections. It's about defending our democracy for the people."— CSPAN (@cspan) October 31, 2019
Full video: https://t.co/tMd4pEAt8m pic.twitter.com/j13UxHfFpK
.@RepMcGovern: "This is a sad day for our country."— CSPAN (@cspan) October 31, 2019
Full video here: https://t.co/tMd4pEAt8m pic.twitter.com/VSrmTg8dGb
Outnumbered on the House floor, Republicans ridiculed the impeachment effort from Democrats, arguing it was unfair to the President.
"Maybe in the Soviet Union, you do things like this," said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), as GOP lawmakers repeatedly denounced the procedure involved, and blasted the plan to have the House Intelligence Committee take the lead in the investigation.
"This is a total sham," said Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ).
"This is a dark day," said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). "It's not about transparency, it's about control."
"Americans understand that this is unfair," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who denounced depositions held in a 'bunker in the basement' of the U.S. Capitol.
A cloud has fallen on this House.— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) October 31, 2019
This resolution isn’t about transparency—it’s about control.
It’s not about fairness–it’s about winning.
It’s not about finding the facts—it’s about stacking the deck against @RealDonaldTrump. pic.twitter.com/J4vwUIdnDf
Rep. @DevinNunes: "After today the House Intelligence Committee ceases to exist. Oversight is not being done and we now have a full-fledged impeachment committee in the basement of the Capitol.”— CSPAN (@cspan) October 31, 2019
Full video: https://t.co/tMd4pEAt8m pic.twitter.com/X2QCHfoKBr
One item not included in the resolution on what's next in the impeachment investigation is any kind of a timeline.
Democrats have talked about voting on impeachment before the end of the year - but with Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays not far away - it's possible work in the House could spill into 2020.
As for President Trump, he was watching events play out from the White House.
The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019
“READ THE TRANSCRIPT,” the President tweeted, as he denies that he did anything wrong in a late July phone call with the leader of Ukraine, in which Mr. Trump asked the Ukraine government to undertake investigations related to former President Joe Biden and his son, as well an effort to undercut the conclusion that Russia hacked Democrats during the 2016 election.
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