Judiciary Committee holds markup of impeachment articles

Lawmakers kicked off the markup process with fiery opening statements.
12:08 | 12/12/19

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Transcript for Judiciary Committee holds markup of impeachment articles
Lead you have been listening live to the House Judiciary Committee giving their opening statements as they debate the articles of impeachment a long night fiery and passionate commentary. The headline tonight a house divided clear division along party lines as the possible impeachment of president Tom hangs in the balance as of course just one steps. In a long process DeVon Dwyer. Is outside the hearing room DeVon. For those two didn't have a chance to hear all 41 members in there and try to year and are currently not listening as they continue on right now. Asking just give us that cliff notes. Yeah it's still going nine Lindsay were I think it just about ninety minutes from the and this is basically open Mike night. Here in the House Judiciary Committee this is. The last chance for each of these members to have the floor uninterrupted five minutes each 41 members as you say. A to debate the articles of impeachment too big articles unveiled by Democrats this week. On the table tonight abuse of power by president from an obstruction of congress by president trump. I tonight these lawmakers that won't vote this week on whether or not to send these to the floor for a vote. How are having their say in this is part history lesson part Bible reading that time were hurt. Quotes from the Bible it is a political rally both sides making direct appeals. Much of their supporters at a little bit kooky theater. On the side I was in the room for a little while Lindsay totally surreal scene in there. Obviously all the members plane to the cameras the room is about two thirds full. It is open to members of the public in fact a couple of high school civics classes. Filed and some students and ties it's very cute or seated in the back of the room trying to make sense. Have everything they're seen before them couple of the president's supporters in there as well we saw a couple of Baghdad perhaps those red hat's iconic Red Hat seated in the back. A book for the most part the lawmakers on both sides of the hour are listening to each other tonight they clearly. Don't agree on these historical articles of impeachment but. Offered this now going 923 hour hearing which is expected to stretch leader into the night. I beer in their seats listening to this tonight and let's just play a little bit for you one of the highlights from the president's staunchest defenders Matt gates a Florida. Had this to say about what he's seen tonight. After years of pointless and endless investigations against the president. This witch hunt is no longer simply troublesome. It's become deeply an excruciatingly. Tiresome. It's time to move Iran the American people hate this and it's making some of them hate us. This is nothing more than the sloppy straight to dvd Ukrainian sequel to the failed Russia hoax it's like Democrats forgot their try to impeach president trump. For delivering military aid that President Obama himself withheld. And so now with no crime no victim house Democrats impeach because they have no agenda for America. And that's what we heard from Republicans a lot tonight still ongoing Lindsay. No crime in a warning about the precedent that this sets. We heard from a number of Republicans including several on this committee who participated in the last impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton they were there for that. They're here now they see if they proceed in what Republicans say would be the fastest and the weakest impeachment case in history that it would city dangerous president. To make this much easier in the future Democrats though a tonight Lindsay coining a new buzz word cheating. They say president from tried to cheat in the 20/20 election and in less they do this he would cheat again. DeVon figure love your assessment of that part Bible study in and really it was Anderson because on both sides you have. Lawmakers using the Bible to references moment and also history how history is not gonna look kindly that was not what you hear the same thing from both sides to prove very different points thank you can -- cure Phillips. Joins us now live from Washington DC as well cure I think we knew this outcome had a time yesterday of course we have heard from Nancy Pelosi saying. Their oath of office requires them to impeach and president trump saying that it's a disgrace. That people can make an impeachment out of nothing. Thus setting up the party lines really for both sides and we see much of a departure along party lines tonight curious what your take away it is. Well it's interesting we're talking about. Buzz words right you mentioned it clearly. We we see a divided. Scenario here division absolutely and then Devin was saying. It's like open Mike night at open Mike night and that in here we sit yet congress karaoke but without all the music. But I think that you you're headed it's it's it's division I mean chairman Adler right off the top he talked about president trumps continuing. Abuses of power jeopardizing he says security and the United States election he said the threat is urgent. And then ranking member Republican Doug Collins Follett Nadler speech by slamming Democrats. And calling this crusade to impeach the president. That it was game on and the 41 member's obviously they're still speaking out this committee. Gave their five minute still giving their five minutes on whether the president should be impeached or not. Two moments for me one side on left website on the right take a listen. President trump continues his misconduct he's not contrite he poses an ongoing threat. After senator butlers said this about the Republicans. Is wean aren't the Democrats. Who must demonstrate that we are capable and that of enforcing the high standard. To satisfy their bases extreme hatred of president -- house Democrats have taken a blowtorch to house rules the rule of law and those frighteningly to the bill of rights. This is a say engaged in American history mr. chairman. And as Devin mentioned still about ninety minutes more that will hear from the members but just quickly Lindsay tomorrow morning. The legislative negotiating part of this will kick off. Then any member of the Judiciary Committee. Can offer an amendment any amendment Democrats not expected to offer much if any but Republicans are definitely expected to offer a number of amendments. A few a handful dozens who knows at this point. It's easy to do the member just physically walks up takes the texts of the clerk and then the chairman will have to recognize. The amendment so if you thought tonight was long. Tomorrow's going to be a long day too because for each impeachment every member. Has the right to speak for five minutes each again which means that Republicans can make that committee meeting. Mark up that's what they call out on up on the hill there and that means making go is long is they want to sell a lot of sources saying it probably won't wrapped. A go much longer passed a 7 PM tomorrow because the congressional ball is taking place at the White House incensed. A number of members particular Republicans are expected to attend that. Then it should wrap up by at 7 o'clock tomorrow night and what follows amendments have been considered. That committee will vote to approve the articles of impeachment sending them to the floor or they will likely. Get a vote next week so we'll see if they stay on the mark your Lindsay. Arts another long day ahead tomorrow out here are some comfortable sneakers on care. Pink yellow and yet this. Any surprises for you tonight. And no I guess not to leave. Practice surprise the terms of the substance of what is what was said but just in terms of kind of the you know the character and tone of what was and I few lake. What I've witnessed is a did not only a war on truth. But it is a war over whether our democracy matters. And it's this if this is a war but you know really over the struggle. Soul of our country. And my heart is pounding. Just having listened to this and I've been taking notes because I I I feel like it's important to sort of refocus our attention. On the facts. First with a transcript of a conversation that president. Chunk hathead in which he asks a foreign leader to announce investigation of his. Political rival and present from its political rival Joseph Biden for his own personal gains and this is something that he continues to do. Trump is asked. China to investigate the Biden's you heard. Representatives while well described as a sort of a constitutional. Crime spree. What does what president trump hasn't changed in is a class six impeachable offense it's what the framers feared most. That the president of the United States wounded. Ask a foreign power to involve itself in interfere in our in our democracy. And it fuels like the Republicans are are are saying that doesn't matter. That that the president. Did this. And then secondly the president to. Is heads blocked the Congress's investigation. Of whether he committed an impeachable offense in ways that are unprecedented in American history. Both of President Nixon and and President Clinton when they were threatened with impeachment turned over. You know documents materials to congress so that they could they could do their job to determine whether or not. Badly beaten each of them had engaged in an impeachable. Offense of people conduct and I guess the question that kind of keeps kicking around in my mind as I'm watching this is sort of what would the Republicans do if this was President Obama rate if if this was a democratic president and just sort of knowing their pattern of conduct. I you know feel pretty confident in saying that they would. You know that they would've taken President Obama to the end to the mat and in the democratic presidents of the matter for this and if the democratic president did wit. President trump did they should. Because the fact of the matter is if these are not impeachable offenses I you know king in Italy. Don't know what is an impeachable offense and in the final point is. You know sort of there are lots said. It's discussions about checks and balances which feels like a very abstract theoretical. Constitutional. Concept. In the point here is. But the reason why it matters that congress be able to investigate the president have access to that information. Is because the purpose of checking executive power is to guard against tyranny. Is to protect our freedom to protect our democracy our vote our voice. And you know ultimately to you as as represented Hakeem Jeffries put to you. To preserve our freedom. So that we do not devolved into a tyranny so again I sort of right. You know eight kind of land on net. You know my final observation is that if this is not impeachable I I don't know what it is and it's so you're right they're lined with chairman Nadler who when he began he said he asked rhetorical question basically saying. Are his acts impeachable. Absolutely and so based on your extensive knowledge and you teach the constitution. And the constitutional law so there's no doubt in your mind there's there's absolutely no that's my mind prove it. It has been well it it's a join the children in a transcript we have the president's own conduct. Absolutely defined congress refusing to answer subpoenas refusing to turn over materials refusing to allow. Executive officials to testify. On the proof is in the putting. It's I think it's I think it could not be clear frankly and it's and it's in it's quite stunning to kind of here. Even through the Republicans. Just sort of swap that a way. Apparently spotting me give you the final word tonight thank you first and around with us and we're gonna now return you live back to the hearing still under way.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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