BREAKING: The House Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump.
This breaking story will be updated. A previous version is below.
WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday abruptly put off a historic impeachment vote, turning back Republican attempts to derail the process and setting up final action on Friday to approve charges that President Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress.
Amid Republicans’ cries of outrage, Democrats were poised to approve along party lines an article of impeachment that accused Trump of abusing the powers of his office by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals, using official acts as leverage as he sought advantage for his 2020 reelection campaign. They were also on track to adopt a second article of impeachment against Trump for obstructing Congress, based on an across-the-board defiance of their subpoenas that Democrats branded an attempt to conceal the Ukraine scheme.
Debate stretched into the night Thursday, as Republicans offered amendments to gut or water down the articles, and Democrats declined to cut off the discussion, even as members of both parties repeated the same arguments again and again. After more than 12 hours of back-and-forth, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, announced he would postpone the final votes for Friday, although the outcome was certain.
Gathered in the Ways and Means Committee room for the second consecutive day, lawmakers feuded over the two articles of impeachment all day Thursday, their tempers flaring and patience wearing thin. Republicans’ amendments were rebuffed in one lopsided vote after another.
The charges on the cusp of approval stemmed from an investigation by the House Intelligence Committee that concluded that Trump had used the levers of government to pressure Ukraine into investigating former vice president Joe Biden, his political rival, and a theory that Democrats conspired with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election. The president, Democrats asserted, conditioned nearly $400 million in security assistance for the former Soviet republic and a White House meeting for its leader on the public announcement of the investigations Trump wanted.
The full House is expected to debate and vote on the articles next week. A trial in the Republican-controlled Senate would begin in early 2020.
As the debate grinded on through the night, a tuxedoed Trump hobnobbed with Republican lawmakers at the White House’s congressional Christmas ball. “We’re going to have a fantastic year,” he said.