Donald Trump becomes 3rd president in US history to be impeached
Democrats said the articles can't go to the Senate until trial concerns met.
Donald Trump became only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached when the House on Wednesday approved an article accusing him of abuse of power.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the historic and mostly party-line vote, 230-197, making it official and setting up a Senate trial in January.
Democrats then led the House in approving a second article they proposed accusing him of obstruction of Congress, passing that charge by a 229-198 vote, with one member voting present.
"Article II is adopted," Pelosi announced, bringing down the speaker's gavel.
The House then adjourned.
The House action came as Trump was speaking at campaign rally in Michigan.
"After three years of sinister witch hunts, hoaxes, scams, tonight the House Democrats are trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans," Trump said in Battle Creek.
"Crazy Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have branded themselves with an eternal mark of shame. It is a disgrace. Democrat lawmakers do not believe you have the right to select your own president," Trump said.
In a late twist adding even more drama to the impeachment, Pelosi, at a news conference after the vote, declined to commit to naming the House impeachment managers — those members who would present the House case at the Senate trial.
Pelosi said she needs to know the structure of the Senate trial before naming the managers, but said what she's heard so far sounds unfair, echoing the complaints of Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
She said McConnell is “in cahoots with the lawyers of the accused.” The articles cannot be transmitted without impeachment managers being named.
“We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side, and I would hope that that will be soon,” Pelosi said. “So far we haven't seen anything that looks fair to us, so hopefully it will be fairer and when we see what that is, we'll send our managers.”
Pelosi said she and her committee chairmen will decide as a group as to when to transmit the articles to the Senate.
Here is how the six-hour debate has unfolded. Please refresh for updates.
8:34 p.m. The House votes to impeach President Trump
The House votes to impeach President Trump
House Speaker announces that the House, by a 230-197 vote, has voted to approve an article accusing him of abuse of power.
The House then approved a second article Democrats have proposed: obstruction of Congress.
8:09 p.m. The House has started voting on the first article of impeachment: abuse of power
The House has started voting on the first article of impeachment: abuse of power.
ABC's Benjamin Siegel in the House chamber says the galleries above the floor have been steadily filling with members of the public and congressional staff.
President Trump has started speaking in Battle Creek, Michigan, at a campaign rally.
8:01 p.m. Chairman Adam Schiff finishes for Democrats
The House Intelligence Committee chairman, who led the impeachment inquiry, is the last speaker for the Democratic side.
"What is at risk here is the very idea of America," he says, calling America "a nation of laws not of men."
7:46 p.m. Republican Leader McCarthy speaks
The Minority Leader opens by saying he's warning Democrats.
"I'm about to say something my Democratic colleagues hate to hear: Donald J. Trump is president of the United States. He is president today. He'll be president tomorrow. And he will be president when this impeachment is over. Madam speaker, when they accept that, maybe this house can get back to work for the American people."
"Democrats have wanted to impeach President Trump since the day he was elected," he argues.
"This impeachment is unfounded and improper,' he says.
When he refers to "the best economy you have ever seen" Republicans in the chamber erupt in applause.
7:23 p.m. Speakers make final arguments
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer takes the floor as one of the last Democrats to speak, saying there is a "compelling case" for impeachment and calling for "Republican courage."
Hoyer, says this is the first time in his 38 years he has seen such "obvious wrongdoing" by the president.
"Throughout the Trump presidency Democrats have resisted pursuing impeachment even as we watched with dismay and disgust at a pattern of wrongdoing," he says.
Hoyer says Democrats voted against pursuing impeachment multiple times despite strong objections to President Trump's policies and decisions since he took office, pushing back on the Republican argument that they pursued impeachment only to remove the president from office.
"Democrats did not choose this impeachment, we did not wish for it," Hoyer says, to audible objections from Republicans.
"We did not want this. However President Trump's conduct has forced our constitutional republic to protect itself," he says.
ABC's Benjamin Siegel in the House chamber says the galleries above the floor have been steadily filling with members of the public and congressional staff.
President Trump has arrived in Battle Creek, Michigan, for a campaign rally.
6:41 p.m. The verdict of history cited by both sides
ABC's Ben Siegel notes Democrats and Republicans are wrapping up six hours of floor debate on impeachment by warning colleagues across the aisle that their actions will be taken down in history - and judged unfavorably.
GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, accuses Democrats of hiding behind rhetoric about the Constitution and framing the president, calling on voters who may want to "impeach the Democrats" to consider impeachment in 2020.
"Sadly my Democratic colleagues have placed their credibility in the hands of members of the body that have no credibility left, members nobody trusts because they keep getting caught betraying America. But unless a bolt of courage and integrity strikes that side of the room in the next hour, history will reflect that Donald Trump is the third president to be impeached. History may also shortly reflect that he'll be the first president to be re-elected after being wrongfully impeached," he says.
Schiff fires back.
"I think when the history of this time is written it will record that when my colleagues found that they lacked the courage to stand up to this unethical president, they consoled themselves by attacking those who did," he says.
6:23 p.m. Schiff says few, if any, Republicans, willing to address the facts
Schiff, after letting nearly a dozen Republicans speak, is now pushing back on their comments.
"It's interesting to see how very few of them want to address any of the facts of the president's misconduct," Schiff says.
"There are no facts!" many Republicans shouted back.
"What they can't say is that this president's conduct was ethical ... was legal ... was constitutional," Schiff continues.
"All they can say is that we don't like the process ... or that it's overturning the will of the public."
"Apparently, the impeachment provision only overturns the will of the people if it's a Republican president," Schiff says, referring to GOP votes for President Bill Clinton's impeachment.
"This remedy was put in the Constitution for a reason. It's not an unconstitutional remedy. It is part of the Constitution. The only way you can conceive this as remedy as being unconstitutional is if you believe, as the president does, that he is the State," Schiff says.
He says Republicans are propagating "dangerous nonsense" by questioning the legitimacy of impeachment.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., quickly shoots back: "We beat the facts back all the time. It was the majority's side that had to run through that clock and that calendar, it's killing him because his arguments are falling flat."
6:12 p.m. Pace of debate picks up as votes near
The pace of debate is picking up with less than an hour left for both Republicans and Democrats.
In 30-second rounds, Republicans continue to attack the Democrats' findings in the impeachment inquiry.
Rep. Russ Fulcher, R-Idaho, says he would "enumerate in detail every high crime and misdemeanor committed by the president of the United States."
He spends the rest of his 30-second time standing in silence.
5:13 p.m. About two hours of debate left before final votes
Nightfall shrouds the Capitol dome as the debate gets closer to the final votes.
ABC'S Benjamin Siegel reports that, assuming both sides use all their remaining time, the House is set to end debate just before 7 p.m., with votes after that,
5:10 p.m. Re. Matt Gaetz says Democrats 'must carry burden of shame'
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, attacks Democrats for prioritizing impeachment over other issues, saying they've shown disdain for Trump and his supporters well before the impeachment inquiry officially began.
"The American people won't forget that Democrats are triggered into impeaching the president because they don't like him and don't like us. Those who vote yes on today's articles of impeachment must carry the heavy burden of shame and guilt for as long as they remain in congress -- which won't be long because the American people will remember in November," he says.
"This impeachment is a slap in the face to the millions of Americans who voted for president Trump, the same Americans Democrats in Washington have mocked as smelly Walmart shoppers and deplorables," he adds.
"This impeachment isn’t legitimate, it's the radical left's insurance policy. But we have an insurance policy too. It's the next election and we intend to win it," he says.
4:45 p.m. President Trump leaves for campaign rally without speaking to reporters
ABC's Ben Gittleson reports from the White House:
The president leaves the White House without speaking, as he often does, to waiting reporters.
Trump emerges from the Oval Office at 4:45 p.m., walks past the press assembled on the White House South Lawn shouting questions about impeachment, and walks over to the residence side of the White House, where guests are assembled to see Marine One lift off.
He shakes hands as reporters shout more questions, but he appears to be out of earshot.
Trump then boards Marine One at 4:51 p.m., again without speaking to reporters.
He is heading to Battle Creek, Michigan, for a campaign rally.
4:44 p.m. Rep. Justin Amash, the lone Independent in Congress, speaks in favor of impeachment
Democrats allow Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP after becoming the first Republican to back impeachment, to use their times to speak in support of impeaching President Trump. He could hold sway with any wavering Democrats.
"I come to this floor not as a Democrat, not as a Republican, but as an American. Who cares deeply about the Constitution, the rule of law, and the rights of the people," he says.
"President Trump Donald J. Trump has abused and violated the public trust by using his high office to solicit the aid of a foreign power, not for the benefit of the United States of America, but instead for his personal and political gain. His actions reflect precisely the type of conduct the frames of the constitution intended to remedy through the power of impeach and -- impeachment and it's our duty to impeach him," Amash says.
4:35 p.m. Democratic Rep. John Lewis: 'We have a mission, and a mandate, to be on the right side of history'
The Georgia Democrat, called the "conscience of the Congress" by Speaker Pelosi and his Democratic colleagues, evokes his experience during the civil rights movement in his floor speech.
He warns lawmakers that their votes today will be judged by future generations.
"Today, this day - we didn't ask for this! This is not a day of joy," Lewis says. "Our nation was founded on a principle - that we do not have kings, we have presidents."
"Our children and their children may ask us: what did you do? What did you say?" he says. "We have a mission, and a mandate, to be on the right side of history."
3:52 p.m. Rep. Adam Schiff takes over making the Democratic case
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler hands off to House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff to continue making the Democratic case for impeachment as the debate reaches the halfway point, with final votes still expected early this evening.
"The president of the United States was willing to sacrifice our national security ... But for the courage of someone willing to blow the whistle, he would've gotten away with it. Instead, he got caught," Schiff says, as he begins a detailed account of what he argues are Trump's impeachable offenses.
Schiff summarizes the charges and testimony against Trump, calling out colleagues voting against impeachment for condoning Trump's behavior allowing him to obstruct Congress.
"Many of my colleagues appear to have made their choice to protect the president, to enable him to be above the law, to empower this president to cheat again, as long as it is in the service of their party and their power. They've made their choice. Despite this president and the white house stonewalling every subpoena, every request for witnesses, and testimony from this co-equal, co-equal branch of government. They have made their choice," he says.
"They have made their choice. And I believe they will rue the day that they did," Schiff adds.
3:03 p.m. Some fireworks on the floor
After a fiery speech from Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Judiciary Chairman Nadler accuses him of repeating "Russian propaganda" on the House floor, after Gohmert, repeating a debunked theory, says one of the impeachment probe's goals was to to stop a Justice Department investigation into Ukraine's interference into the U.S. election in 2016.
"Will the gentleman yield?" Gohmert bellowed, returning to the well of the House.
Rep. Diana DeGette, presiding, repeatedly banged her gavel and refused to recognize him. He sulked off.
3:03 p.m. Democratic Rep. Al Green, frequent GOP target, speaks
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, makes brief remarks in support of impeaching President Trump next to a poster showing a photo of a migrant child at the southern border.
Republicans have cited Green's past comments as evidence the impeachment of President Trump is politically motivated, citing that Green began calling for Trump's impeachment months before the formal inquiry began.
"If this president is allowed to thwart the efforts of Congress with a legitimate impeachment inquiry, the president will not only be above the law, he will be beyond justice. We cannot allow any person to be beyond justice in this country. In the name of democracy, on behalf of the Republic, and for the sake of the many who are suffering, I will vote to impeach and I encourage my colleagues to do so as well. No one is beyond justice in this country," Green says.
2:46 p.m. GOP Rep. Mike Kelly says this date will 'live in infamy'
Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Penn., says today's date will "live in infamy," comparing it to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, invoking President Franklin Roosevelt's famous speech saying that date would "live in infamy."
"Today, December 18, 2019, is another date that will live in infamy," Kelly says.
"When, just because you hate the president of the United States, and you can find no other reason other than the fact that you're so blinded by your hate that you can't see straight, you've decided the only way to make sure this president doesn't get elected again is to impeach him," he continues. "On the floor of the people's House, the bastion of democracy and liberty in the whole world, we have decided that political power is far more important than principle. I would urge all members of the house to vote no on impeachment and to look their voters in the eye and -- listen, let me tell you. The voters will remember next November what you're doing this."
2:13 p.m. Pelosi hasn't left the House floor since 10 a.m.
ABC's Benjamin Siegel reports from the House chamber:
On a typical day on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a blur.
Reporters catch glimpses of the speaker, surrounded by her security detail and aides, speeding between back-to-back meeting with lawmakers, Cabinet officials, congressional leadership and even foreign delegations, juggling private discussions on the House floor during votes with media appearances and photos ops in front of half-a-dozen cameras.
But today, ever since our team spotted her walking to the House chamber, she's been in place. She's spent the morning and early afternoon sitting with Democrats and listening to the floor debate, occasionally chatting with staffers and other lawmakers.
After her remarks to kick off debate, she spent some time in the front of the chamber, nodding along with some of the points made by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee. Now she's sitting towards the back, in an aisle seat.
Other members of leadership -- from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP Whip Steve Scalise, to members of her own leadership team -- have been in and out of the chamber.
1:45 p.m. Conway on Democrats and impeachment: “This is a very sad, solemn day but not for the reason they think”
ABC News' Mariam Khan reports: On the other side of Capitol Hill, away from the ongoing impeachment proceedings, we catch up with President Trump’s senior counselor and confidante Kellyanne Conway as she makes her way to join Senate Republicans for their weekly lunch.
Asked what she makes of the House impeachment proceedings so far, and her thoughts on the two articles of impeachment members will be voting on later today, she answers: “You know how the President feels. It should have never have happened,” Conway says. “Where's the bribery, treason, extortion, collusion, Mueller report? Very specious, very spare claims that made it into the articles of impeachment.
"I agree with the Democrats,” she says. “This is a very sad, solemn day but not for the reason they think.”
On the president's mood, she says, "His mood is fine. The president’s doing great. He's had some of the most successful weeks of his presidency these last few weeks with a lot of help from the United States Senate -- NDAA, Space Force, the economy is smashing records."
1:34 p.m. Republicans applaud after Democrat Nadler's comment
ABC's Benjamin Siegel reports on this moment from the debate: Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, used his two minutes to rail against Democrats for impeaching Trump, claiming, among other things, that they've harbored a grudge against Trump ever since Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016.
"I would remind the gentleman if President Trump is impeached and removed, the new president would be Mike Pence not Hillary Clinton," Nadler said, replying to Stewart.
About a dozen of the House Republicans in the chamber cheered and clapped in response to Nadler's comment.
1:25 p.m. GOP Rep. Ross Spano calls impeachment 'attempt to undo 2016 election'
"The American people see through this sad charade for what it is: an attempt to undo the 2016 election based on hearsay and opinion," Rep. Ross Spano, a Florida Republican says.
President Trump "tried to cheat. He got caught. He confessed. And then he obstructed the investigation," Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island says.
12:26 p.m. Collins calls this "a poll-tested impeachment'
Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, speaks after Pelosi.
He continues to attack Democrats for pursuing impeachment for political reasons, saying they want to impeach President Trump because they're concerned he will win re-election in 2020.
"This is an impeachment -- basically a poll-tested impeachment -- on what sells to the American people," Collins says.
"Today's going to be a lot of things. What it is not is fair. What it is not is about the truth," he says.
"We're going to talk a lot about impeachment and the president and two articles of impeachment today," he continues.
"Abuse of power, because they can't actually pin anything of factual basis on him. The president did nothing wrong in this issue. And then they're going to talk about obstruction of Congress. You know, obstruction of Congress, as I've before, is like petulant children saying, 'We didn't get our way when we didn't ask the right way and we didn't try to go after and make a case.' You know why, Madame Speaker, the clock and the calendar are terrible masters and the majority will own that problem today. Because to the clock and the calendar, facts don't matter," Collins adds.
"The promises to the base matter. And today is a promise kept for the majority," he says.
He is followed by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler,who cites the Framers.
12:08 p.m. Pelosi recites the Pledge of Allegiance, emphasizing the words "to the Republic for which it stands"
Pelosi calls on members of the House to consider the promise they made when they took office and when they recite the Pledge of Allegiance to act to uphold American laws and values.
"Every one of us, as our first act as a member of Congress, stood on this historic House floor before our beautiful American flag and raised our hands in this sacred oath: 'I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help me God,'" she said.
She recites the section from the Pledge of Allegiance that reads "to the Republic for which it stands," adding, "a Republic, if you can keep it" citing a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin.
"As Speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States," she says.
"He gave us no choice," she says, saying President Trump represents a continuing threat.
She argues that Trump's actions have been contrary to the Constitution, even citing his comments that Article II means he can "do whatever I want."
"What we are discussing today is the established fact that the president violated the Constitution. It is a matter of fact that the president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections, the basis of our democracy," Pelosi said.
12:01 p.m. House clerk reads articles of impeachment, Pelosi expected to speak
After the rule governing the main debate passes -- House Clerk Joe Novotny reads the two articles of impeachment.
The main event is about to start and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to lead off what will be at least six hours of floor debate.
11:20 a.m. GOP Rep. Tom Cole says Democrats 'voting their convictions,' and so is he, not voting for party
In closing remarks before a vote on the rule governing the main debate over the impeachment resolution, Republican Rep. Tom Cole, Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, says that while he is "violently opposed" to the impeachment process in this case and sees it as unfair to the president, he still respects his colleagues on the other side of the aisle.
"I am sure they're voting their convictions. So, when I vote mine, please don't imply I'm doing it for my political party. I'm doing it because it's what I believe is right. I do believe I can defend both the president and the Constitution of the United States and I think that's exactly what I am doing," Cole says.
Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern, chairman of the Rules Committee, thanks Cole but said its a "cold hard fact" that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the promise of investigations that would impact the 2020 presidential election. He called on Republicans to "search their souls" before casting their votes.
"To my Republican friends, imagine any Democratic president sitting in the Oval Office, president Obama, President Clinton, any of them, would your answer here still be the same? No one should be allowed to use the powers of the presidency to mine our elections. Period," he says.
"This isn't about siding with your team. I didn't swear an oath to defend a political party. I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. And when I vote yes on this rule and the underlying articles, my conscience will be clear," he says.
11:11 a.m. Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy sends a message to his children
Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., uses his time to share a letter he wrote to his children, Ellie and James, explaining his decision to vote to impeach the president.
"I don't yet know how they will tell the story of this era, but I want to tell you the story of this day. Let the record show that today justice won, that we did our job, that we kept our word, that we stood our sacred ground. Let the record show that we did not let you down," he said.
10:51 a.m. White House televisions tuned to House impeachment debate
ABC's Ben Gittleson reports from the White House:
President Trump has not stopped tweeting about impeachment this morning, as he uses his Twitter feed to amplify the voices of conservative allies who have backed him throughout the process.
As of 10:30 a.m., Trump was still in the residence part of the White House and had not yet come over to the West Wing, according to White House officials (and backed up by the telltale signs of an open door leading to the area outside the Oval Office and the lack of a Marine guard on the colonnade near the Oval).
A White House official says that, aside from receiving an intelligence briefing at 11:45 a.m. and traveling to a campaign rally later today, the president also plans to participate in internal policy meetings. The official would not say what the topics of those meetings were, with whom Trump was meeting, and if there was anything else on the president’s schedule.
Televisions in the West Wing are tuned to impeachment coverage this morning, though, as aides keep an eye on proceedings on the House floor.
All signs are that Trump is focused squarely on today’s historic impeachment votes. White House officials repeatedly decline to comment about whether there was any other topic with which the president was engaged today; one official says Trump was focused on governing the country in general.
10:47 a.m. Protesters outside Capitol as House debates
Protesters gather outside the U.S. Capitol as the historic House impeachment debate continues.
"I rise today feeling the full weight of my duty as a member of this august body. Reflecting upon our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It's my sincere belief that under the circumstances that bring us here today, there is only one path for us to take to fulfill that oath," Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn says.
GOP Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, who's on the Judiciary Committee and has become one of the president's most vocal supporters, says, "God takes us on journeys in our life, and about 30 years ago I was married to an abusive ex-husband. And when I finally left him, there were times in my life I had no money, no place to live," she says.
"And I tell you what, I never dreamed in a million years that I would be standing here today as a congresswoman in the United States House of representatives. And I tell you what, I never would have believed that I would be standing here talking about impeachment of a president of the United States."
But she raised concerns the process has been politically rigged and biased and that Democrats are "tearing this country apart" by voting to impeach the president when they haven't proven he committed an impeachable offense.
"Here are the facts. There is no proof, none, that the president has committed an impeachable offense. Not one of the Democrat witnesses, not one, was able to establish that the president committed bribery, treason, or high crimes and misdemeanors as required in the U.S. Constitution," she says.
10:11 a.m. Pelosi says she's "sad"
ABC News' Katherine Faulders reports from Capitol Hill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she's feeling "sad" as the impeachment proceedings get underway.
She doesn't comment beyond that, saying she'll be speaking later on the House floor.
10:09 a.m. Vote on debate timing expected around noon
Democrats table McCarthy's amendment in a 226 - 191 vote along party lines.
House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern moves to begin debate on impeachment -- the "rule" setting the terms of floor debate.
House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, R-La, raises a "point of order," against considering the rule.
DeGette rules against Scalise - and deftly moves to recognize McGovern to kick off debate on the rule, preventing Scalise from forcing another procedural vote.
After opening statements and debate on the rule, we expect a series of procedural votes around noon.
9:44 a.m. Democrats move to table McCarthy's amendment, another 15-minute vote
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has moved to table -- put off consideration -- of McCarthy's amendment alleging Schiff and Nadler abused their power.
Republicans have requested a recorded vote. This will go another 15 minutes and pass along party lines.
9:38 a.m. Motion to adjourn defeated, Republicans accuse Schiff, Nadler of abusing power
ABC News' Benjamin Siegel reports: The motion to adjourn is defeated along party lines.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy introduces a privileged resolution.
The clerk is now reading the resolution, which accuses House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of abusing their power as committee chairs.
9 a.m. House convenes. Republicans move to adjourn, forcing vote
"Give them wisdom and discernment," House Chaplain Father Pat Conroy says in his morning prayer as the House convenes. After the opening prayer, members recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
ABC's Benjamin Siegel reports from the chamber that a large group of House Republicans - mostly members of the conservative Freedom Caucus - already gathered in their seats on the GOP side of the mostly-empty chamber. We have expected procedural tricks from the get-go, and they all look ready to challenge proceedings on that front.
On the Democratic side, fewer than a dozen Democrats are on the floor right now. House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern is preparing to preside of the initial "rule" debate with his staff.
Almost immediately Republican Rep. Andy Biggs moved the House adjourn - forcing a 15 minute vote. The motion is expected to fail along party lines, allowing them to proceed on debate of the impeachment resolutions.
Rep. Diana DeGette - a veteran who has presided over contentious debate before - is in the chair presiding.
An aide to Speaker Pelosi tells ABC News she asked DeGette, of Colorado, to preside today for the entire debate as Speaker Pro Tempore. Pelosi is expected to preside over both votes on articles of impeachment and speak at the opening of general debate.
8:53 .a.m. About 6 hours of debate expected after procedural votes
The House Rules Committee decided late Tuesday to debate the articles of impeachment in the full House for six hours Wednesday. That would put a vote on track for late in the afternoon or early evening. The debate on the articles of impeachment will begin after the House first debates and votes on the rule.
This was the first time in American history that the House Rules Committee, which is traditionally used by the speaker to control the floor schedule of the chamber, has ever taken up impeachment.
8:53 .a.m. Political analysis from ABC News Political Director Rick Klein
In analysis, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein writes in "The Note" that this will be a moment for the history books.
"In the relatively short life of the current impeachment push, political perceptions have shifted far more than the basic facts ever have. Both parties have found occasions to see it as an organizing tool and fundraising booster, and everything from a principled stand to a losing argument, he writes.
As the foregone conclusion becomes reality with Wednesday’s pair of House votes on articles of impeachment, events have cemented the partisan divide and party discipline as perfectly as any issue can.
As few as two Democrats are expected to vote with Republicans against impeachment, including one who is expected to switch parties and another who plans to split his votes on the two articles.
President Donald Trump and his team go into the day defiant as ever. Rudy Giuliani is practically daring Democrats to up their ante, and Trump himself offered an angry letter he said he hoped history would remember.
"Everyone, you included, knows what is really happening," Trump wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday.
What’s happening is not actually in serious doubt. There will be impeachment in the House, and near-certain acquittal in the Senate.
But what it means is a moving target. It is a blurry moment, except through the partisan lenses that define this era."
8:40 .a.m. 27 Democrats from Trump districts expected to vote for impeachment
ABC's Quinn Scanlan and Benjamin Siegel report that 27 House Democrats representing districts that voted to elect President Trump in 2016 will vote in favor of impeaching the president.
One Democrat said he would vote only for one of the articles and two have not said how they will vote. Rep. Jeff Van Drew has said he will vote against impeachment and there are reports he will change his party affiliation to become a Republican.
Siegel reports that as of this morning he is still registered as a Democrat and will likely be for the vote.
8:30 a.m. Trump tweets ahead of House vote
President Trump is tweeting this morning ahead of the historic House proceedings.
"Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!," he says.
ABC News' Ben Gittleson at the White House reports: “Say a prayer” seems to be a pretty clear reference to Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying she prays for Trump and is approaching the process prayerfully, something Trump mocked and criticized in his letter to the speaker on Tuesday.
The vote on the House floor caps off weeks of hearings in a bitterly divided House, with Democrats and Republicans at odds over Trump's withholding of military aid to Ukraine amid efforts to pressure the country to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden family's business dealings and unsubstantiated claims of Ukrainian election interference in 2016.
After more than 72 hours of public hearings and testimony from more than a dozen witnesses and several constitutional scholars, Democrats determined Trump "placed his personal, political interests above our national security, our free and fair elections, and our system of checks and balances," they wrote in a Judiciary Committee report issued earlier this week. "He has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that will continue if left unchecked."
Republicans have stood by the president and dismissed the Democrats' case, accusing them of rushing to impeach Trump without sufficient evidence of wrongdoing, and of denying him due process through the impeachment proceedings.
Every House Republican -- including the three remaining members from districts carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016 -- appeared ready to vote against impeaching Trump on Wednesday.
Ahead of the historic House vote, more than two dozen lawmakers from the 31 Democratic House districts carried by Trump in 2016 announced plans to vote for both articles of impeachment.
That group included many of the so-called "majority makers" who helped Democrats flip Republican-held seats and capture the House majority in 2018.
"The testimony and evidence put forth led me to a clear conclusion," Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., a freshman in a seat formerly held by House GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert, said in a statement Tuesday.
Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, a former Marine who served in Afghanistan and appeared to be the only House member preparing to split his vote, announcing Tuesday that he would vote to charge Trump with abusing power, but not with obstructing Congress.
Trump and administration officials worked "to leverage the powers of the presidency to damage a political opponent and strengthen the president's reelection prospects," Golden, who won his seat by less than 3,000 votes in 2018, wrote in a statement posted online.
Golden also said that he did not believe Democrats had exhausted all their options in seeking White House compliance with the subpoenas issued in the Ukraine investigation.
"While the president's resistance toward our investigative efforts has been frustrating, it has not yet, in my view, reached the threshold of 'high crime or misdemeanor' that the Constitution demands," he wrote.
Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn., who opposed the resolution launching Ukraine impeachment proceedings, told a North Dakota radio show he was undecided on the charges but leaning against supporting them.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., the only other Democrat to oppose impeachment, told staff over the weekend that he was preparing to become a Republican ahead of the vote. On Tuesday he refused to say if he still planned to switch parties.
NY AG says she may seize Trump's buildings if he can't pay his $354M civil fraud fine
- Feb 20, 4:50 PM
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