House Democrats will unveil articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning, multiple sources familiar with the matter confirmed to TIME.
The articles are expected to be announced at a 9 a.m. press conference on Tuesday, one day after a nearly ten-hour long hearing during which Republicans and Democrats made their case to the House Judiciary Committee about whether President Trump’s decision to withhold millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into a top political rival amounted to an impeachable offense.
Speaker Pelosi’s office only advised the press conference as “the next steps” in the inquiry. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney are all expected to attend.
On Monday, Daniel Goldman, Majority Counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, testified that Trump’s actions towards Ukraine were a “clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security.” Minority Counsel Steve Castor argued that the Democrats’ inquiry was not legitimate because they had been gunning to impeach Trump since he assumed office nearly three years ago, and did not have sufficient evidence.
Unveiling the articles renders it a near certainty that Trump will become the third President in U.S. history to be impeached from office. News of the announcement, which comes four days after Pelosi told the public she was instructing her deputies to draft articles, is the latest indication Democrats are moving at lightning speed in an attempt to hold a floor vote before Christmas break.
It is unclear how many articles would ultimately be unveiled on Tuesday. But senior Democrats late Monday cautioned that nothing was finalized yet, including the number of articles or their scope. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on stage at a Wall Street Journal event, said it was too soon after the day’s testimony to know how her members were leaning. She refused to divulge details.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee, which has been tasked with drafting the articles, are working through Monday evening and Tuesday morning – Chinese food in hand – to prepare for the announcement. Once the articles are introduced, the Judiciary Committee is expected to mark them up, which is essentially a debate on what should be included in the text that is sent to the House floor for a vote.
News of the coming announcement seemed to take many on Capitol Hill by surprise, sending aides into a frenzy of conference calls and encrypted text messages. Some aides lamented that the disclosure was precisely what Democrats have sought to avoid: looking like they were rushing. While the facts are understood at this point and there appears to be no new witnesses the House will hear from, Democrats nonetheless wanted to appear — to use a phrase that has become cliche during the investigation — “sober and serious” about their duties. Drafting the articles during an all-nighter doesn’t necessarily suggest a deliberate pace.
While the impeachment inquiry itself has been narrowly focused on the holdup of foreign assistance to Ukraine and whether Trump leveraged it for his own political benefit, House Democrats have been embroiled in an internal debate over the scope of the articles. Multiple Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have been advocating for an article of obstruction that would include content from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, arguing that it is part of a pattern Trump has displayed throughout his tenure as President and needs to be highlighted.
“Obviously as a member of judiciary who has been trying without a lot of success to get the administration to stop stonewalling our investigation, I have a deep interest in the obstruction of Congress that has occurred in connection with the Mueller report,” Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, the vice chair of the committee, said earlier this month. Her sentiments were echoed by many of her colleagues on the committee.
But the calculation is complicated. Democrats are trying to figure out what configuration would best position their first-term members facing tough re-elections and their Senate colleagues for a trial next year, according to a senior Democratic official. The official added that the votes would be there in the House regardless, but urged colleagues not to be sloppy so as to make it difficult for moderates to support articles.
Nadler remained tight-lipped Monday after the hearing about next steps, declining to answer reporters’ questions about what would be in the articles or when there would be a markup.