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- On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump for abusing his office and obstructing Congress.
- The announcement comes after the House Intelligence Committee heard testimony from over a dozen nonpartisan diplomats and national security officials that Trump abused his power by trying to strike a quid pro quo with the Ukrainian government.
- Now that the Judiciary Committee has approved the articles of impeachment, they go to the full floor of the House and require a simple majority vote to pass.
- For Trump to be removed from office, two-thirds of the US Senate — 67 members — must vote to convict him of those articles of impeachment.
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The impeachment inquiry all started with an anonymous whistleblower's complaint, turned over to Congress in early September, which claimed that Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country" in the 2020 US election.
The complaint specifically charged that Trump's pressure on the Ukrainian government to investigate alleged corruption from former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter came days after he withheld a nearly $400 million military-aid package to Ukraine that Congress had already appropriated. The pressure reportedly culminated during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In the past month, over a dozen nonpartisan diplomats and national security officials have testified both in open session and behind closed doors that Trump and Giuliani explicitly conditioned both releasing the aid and inviting Zelensky to a meeting at the White House on Ukraine putting out at a statement announcing investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.
Several key intelligence officials, including several Trump cabinet members, have been named by witnesses possessing knowledge of a quid pro quo between the Trump administration and the Ukrainian government.
While Congress has not heard from several witnesses who have fought their subpoenas to testify, including former National Security Advisor John Bolton and former White House counsel Don McGahn, House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said at the press conference that the House needs to move quickly on holding Trump accountable, and doesn't have time to wait out another court battle.
What happens now that the articles have been announced?
Now that the Judiciary Committee has approved the two articles of impeachment, they go to the full floor of the House and require a simple majority vote to pass.
Currently, the House of Representatives has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, and one independent, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who is expected to vote to impeach Trump.
Four seats, two previously held by Democrats and two by Republicans, are vacant. Another member of Congress, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, lost his voting privileges after pleading guilty to a federal crime and will resign in January.
The October 31 resolution to formalize the impeachment inquiry was supported by 232 Democrats and Amash, and opposed by every Republican member of the House and two Democrats, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota.
Members vote on each article individually, meaning Trump could be impeached on one or both articles. The two articles both passed the Judiciary Committee by straight party-line votes of 23-17.
Former President Bill Clinton, for example, was impeached on articles of perjury and obstruction of justice, but he was cleared on a separate perjury-related article and a charge of abusing his office. In January 1999, the Senate acquitted Clinton on both charges.
The House will be in session for just a few weeks in December before going on holiday recess, meaning House Democrats face a time crunch to vote on the impeachment articles.
For Trump to be removed from office, two-thirds of the US Senate — 67 members — must vote to convict him of articles of impeachment. Currently, the Senate consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats.
The White House has said it will support a formal impeachment trial in the Senate. The Washington Post reported recently that the White House and senior Senate Republicans are in preliminary talks to limit the impeachment trial to two weeks.
Mack DeGuerin contributed to a previous version of this report.
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