The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry
The House Judiciary Committee will meet tomorrow morning to debate and vote on the articles of impeachment, which is expected to be long and contentious.
Starting at 9 a.m. ET, the meeting will contain plenty of debate, theatrics and arguing over the procedure. Democrats hold a 24-17 majority on the committee, meaning they can vote down any GOP attempt to change the impeachment articles, making Republicans' only real weapon in the proceedings the ability to extend the debate indefinitely.
Regarding the articles of impeachment: Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday, charging that the President should be removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The House Judiciary Committee is expected to approve those articles of impeachment on Thursday after considering amendments, sending them to the House floor for a vote next week that could make Trump the third president in US history to be impeached.
The House Judiciary Committee meeting just ended.
The meeting will stand in recess until 9 a.m. ET when the committee is expected to continue considering the articles of impeachment against President Trump.
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democrat from Florida, echoed sentiments shared tonight when saying she did not run for office to "impeach the President."
Like other fellow Democrats, Mucarsel-Powell's mind was changed after seeing Trump violate "his oath of office," she said on Capitol Hill.
"It is undeniable that this President has violated his oath of office, abused his power, and obstructed Congress. This is a clear and present danger to the future of our democracy, a system of government that was a beacon of freedom for my family and for many that have come here. Tonight I ask all Americans to put their personal affections and their political affiliations aside and consider the long-term health of our democracy," Mucarsel-Powell said.
Rep. Greg Stanton, a Democrat from Arizona, threw his support behind the impeachment inquiry tonight on Capitol Hill, saying "President Trump grossly abused his power."
"He withheld aid to our ally at war until that ally agreed to help him damage a top political opponent. The Ukraine plot put our elections and our democracy at risk and it helped Vladimir Putin and Russia," Stanton said.
Some more background on Trump and Ukraine: The President demanded that the newly-elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce investigations into a political rival that he apparently feared the most, former Vice President Joe Biden.
To compel the Ukrainian President to do his political bidding, Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical US military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary.
Rep. Greg Steube, a Republican from Florida, said President Trump is being "accused of theories by the Democrats."
"Unlike President Nixon and Clinton who were impeached of actual crimes, President Trump is being accused on theories by the Democrats. I imagine just about any law professor can make an argument that every president in history of our country abused his power at some point in their presidency, because that would be an opinion, not a crime," the congressman said tonight.
Steube added: "The chairman and the members of this committee keep saying that history will judge our decisions. What I would offer, that your decisions and that of your colleagues in the majority, will be judged much sooner in history. They will be judged by the voters in 2020. I guess we will see who's on the right side of history."
Rep. Lou Correa, a Democrat from California, used part of his opening speech tonight to read his entire statement in Spanish, the first time tonight something was uttered in something other than English.
"Today I have listened and studied the evidence presented in these hearings, and I’m here to do my job as a member of Congress and to protect the American dream. It’s my constitutional job to ensure that no one, no one is above the law, and I need to assure that our nation is secure from all threats, foreign and domestic," Correa said.
Correa went on to invoke former President Ronald Reagan, a fellow Californian: "Ronald Reagan once said, 'America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.' And I’m here today to ensure that America continues to be that shining city of democracy and rule of law."
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, a Republican from Pennsylvania, called the impeachment inquiry a "political hit job" tonight as the House Judiciary Committee debates and considers the articles of impeachment against President Trump.
"We've heard some great speeches tonight. Let's not forget that this is a political hit job. Democrats know they can't beat President Trump in 2020. They can't beat the President on his merits," Reschenthaler said.
Rep. Val Demings, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, got personal tonight in her opening statement on Capitol Hill.
Demings shared the story of her parents as an example of America's resolve. Her mother cleaned houses and her father was a janitor, She explained how America "is great and decent" with great promise and capable of navigating adversity like this impeachment inquiry.
"This is a defining moment in our history. And it's challenging time for our nation. But America has been through tough times before. And I am sure that we will go through tough times again. So I do not fear this moment or this time," the Florida Democrat said. "I come before you tonight as an American dream realized."
Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, implored his colleagues to denounce President Trump's actions with Ukraine during his opening speech tonight.
"I devoted my career to studying, teaching and defending the constitution of the United States. And my passion has been popular self-government and the democratic and voting rights of the people. And I confess that I am afraid if we allow presidents to invite foreign governments to participate overtly or covertly in our elections and this becomes in America a new normal," Raskin said.
Following Rep. Cedric Richmond, who quoted Thomas Paine earlier tonight, Raskin quoted a founding father: "Ben Franklin said, 'As long as I have known the world I have observed that wrong is always growing more wrong, till there is no bearing, and that right, however opposed, comes [out] right at last.'"
"So what must we do? Stand by the constitution and take strong action for your country. Let’s stand strong, America, for our democracy," Raskin said.