The House Judiciary Committee voted Friday to advance articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the full House of Representatives over his contacts with Ukraine.
The articles — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — were approved by a party-line vote of 23 to 17. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) was absent from the vote as he recovers from heart surgery.
The charges were contained in a nine-page resolution charging President Trump with two offenses stemming from the president pressing the Ukraine government to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, a former board member at Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
The first says the president leveraged a White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to pressure Kiev into launching the investigations.
The second says President Trump stonewalled Congress by ordering witnesses in his administration to defy subpoenas for documents and testimony as a part of the inquiry.
The panel reconvened Friday morning after meeting for 14 hours Thursday without holding a vote. Committee chairman Jerold Nadler called a halt to the proceedings over the objections of minority Republicans after 11 p.m.
“That was the most egregious violation of trust between a committee chairman and ranking member I think I’ve ever seen,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the House judiciary panel’s ranking member, before adding: “there was no discussion” about the change of plans.
“We thought we were going to do votes tonight,” Collins said.
“And then to do that right there shows that Chairman Nadler is zero, his staff is zero,” he added, calling the markup process a “kangaroo court.”
The Georgia Republican then held an impromptu press conference in which he declared Nadler’s “integrity is gone.”
“This is why people don’t like us. This crap like this is why people are having such a terrible opinion of Congress,” he added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) launched a formal impeachment inquiry in late September after a partisan CIA analyst alleged in a whistleblower complaint that President Trump pressured Ukraine to look into allegations of corruption against the Bidens in exchange for U.S. military aid. Both President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky deny any pressure was applied and the White House published a transcript of their July 25 call as evidence that no unlawful behavior took place.
Andriy Yermak, a senior Zelensky aide, confirmed on Monday that the country did not believe U.S. military aid was linked to any investigations.
“We never had that feeling,” Yermak told TIME magazine. “We had a clear understanding that the aid has been frozen. We honestly said, ‘Okay, that’s bad, what’s going on here.’ We were told that they would figure it out. And after a certain amount of time the aid was unfrozen. We did not have the feeling that this aid was connected to any one specific issue.”
The UPI contributed to this report.