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Live House Endorses Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump

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WASHINGTON – The House is debating a major resolution on the rules going forward and a key witness testifies about what he knows. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to authorise and open up the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, meeting a demand by him and the Republicans.

Tump judicial nominee breaks down in tears at hearing.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, described his thinking about today’s vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry.

“We take no joy in having to move down this road and proceed with the impeachment inquiry, but neither do we shrink from it,” he said.
Schiff said Democrats “recognize the seriousness of this undertaking” and that they have been “compelled by the circumstances to move forward.”

“When a President abuses his or her office, when a President sacrifices the national interest, when a President refuses to defend the Constitution and does so for the purpose of advancing a personal or political agenda, the founders provided a remedy. I make no pre-judgement as to whether that remedy will be warranted when we finish these hearings. I will wait until all the facts are put forward,” Schiff said.

The votes, mostly along party lines, were 232 for the resolution and 196 against. Only two Democrats joined the Republican in voting against it.

Although the Republicans had demanded open hearings and their increased participation, they opposed the resolution because it did not meet all their demands. Their attempt to amend the resolution was earlier defeated.

National Security Council official Timothy Morrison plans to testify Thursday before congressional committees conducting an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump as the House of Representatives plans to vote on rules and procedures for the inquiry.

Morrison, who served as the NSC senior director for Europe and Russia, about the withholding of military aid to Ukraine.

Another witness in the inquiry had described Morrison as having a “sinking feeling” when he learned military aid had been withheld while the Trump administration had urged an investigation of Trump’s political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.

The resolution that also set up the framework for the impeachment sailed through the House where the Democrats have a majority and the move was proposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, who presided over the voting on Thursday, appealed for support saying: “It’s about the truth. And what is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy.”

She said that it was being taken up solemnly and without any “glee”.

As the House took up the resolution, Trump tweeted: “The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!”

Later the White House issued a formal statement saying: “The Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people.”

“Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have done nothing more than enshrine unacceptable violations of due process into House rules,” it added, accusing them of “wasting” time instead of taking up important issues facing the nation.

This is only the third time an impeachment process has been launched.

Then Presidents Andrew Jackson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were impeached but the Senate did not convict them.

Former President Richard Nixon resigned before the impeachment process could begin.

The House Intelligence Committee will hold the first set of hearings under its chair, Adam Schiff, and produce a report for the Judiciary Committee.

After the full House votes to approve the Articles of Impeachment with a simple majority, the Senate will hold a formal trial presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on the charges.

Two-thirds of the 100 Senators will have to vote to convict the President and remove him from office. As of now, it seems unlikely that there will be that many Senate votes for impeachment, making the process nothing more than a political catharsis.

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