After over 14 hours of debate, Democrats surprised Republicans by holding off a final vote in the House Judiciary Committee until Friday morning on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, as Democrats charged the President was clearly trying to get Ukraine to announce investigations which would benefit Mr. Trump's 2020 re-election bid.
"President Trump used his office to serve himself," said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), as Democrats said the evidence was clear that President Trump was trying to get foreign help for 2020.
"The President is an imminent threat," said Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). "We have to take action, we must impeach the President."
"One of my colleagues said that we are lowering the bar on impeachment," said Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA). "I believe we are lowering the bar on the Presidency."
Today's hearing started at 9 a.m. EST.— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) December 13, 2019
Some relatively short recesses notwithstanding, it is now 11:15 p.m. EST.
Nadler calls a recess until 10 a.m. before a vote.
Republicans denounced the impeachment effort as a political vendetta by a party which was still upset about losing the 2016 election.
"This impeachment is going to fail, and the Democrats are justly going to pay a heavy political price for it," said Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA).
"This is a day that will live in infamy for the Judiciary Committee," said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).
"It's a focus group impeachment," said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), as Republicans decried the lack of detail in the articles of impeachment.
The delay in the committee vote until Friday left Republicans spitting mad, as GOP lawmakers were caught completely off guard.
The House Judiciary Committee debated two articles of impeachment against President Trump late into Thursday night before Chairman Jerry Nadler gaveled the hearing out to take final votes Friday morning. https://t.co/QjL7n8vn9J pic.twitter.com/tHqzIDdc0O— CNN (@CNN) December 13, 2019
Republicans wanted to drag this out and force us to shut down debate. We will pass these articles in the light of day, not in the middle of the night.— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) December 13, 2019
No one is above the law and this president will be held to account.#ImpeachmentHearing
“Stalinesque,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).
Republicans had prolonged debate until after 11 pm - and the immediate thought on Capitol Hill was that Democrats did not want to be accused of voting on impeachment 'in the middle of the night' - so they delayed action until Friday.
The panel will meet at 10 am ET.