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House sends impeachment articles to Senate

Updated January 15, 2020 - 5:15 pm

WASHINGTON — The House overwhelmingly and along nearly party lines voted to send two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate on Wednesday, the process needed to begin the third impeachment trial in U.S. history.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., selected seven managers to present the case to the Senate, and investigating committees handed over new material that they say strengthens their case that Trump was in on a scheme to enlist a foreign government to help him win re-election.

Only one Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted with Republicans. The final vote was 228-193.

Nevada’s congressional delegation voted along party lines, with Democrats Dina Titus, Steven Horsford and Susie Lee voting to send the impeachment articles to the Senate and Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., voting against it.

Pelosi named the seven managers “to present the very strong case for the president’s impeachment and removal.”

“The impeachment managers represent the patriotism, pluralism and vibrancy of America,” Pelosi said.

But the top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy of California, said Americans will look back on this “sad saga” that tried to remove the president from office with the “weakest case.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate would take up the matter as the last constitutional resort to halt a political exercise in the House.

“The Senate was designed to stabilize our institutions, to break partisan fevers, to stop short-term passions from destroying our long-term future,” McConnell said.

“House Democrats may have descended into pure factionalism, but the United States Senate must not,” he said.

House managers will formally present the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Thursday, said David Popp, a McConnell spokesman. That action will kick off the start of the trial, which is expected to begin on Tuesday.

The White House denounced the House action.

“The only thing Speaker Pelosi has achieved with this sham, illegitimate impeachment process, is to prove she is focused on politics instead of the American people,” said White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham. Trump’s political campaign dismissed the House effort as “just a failed attempt to politically damage President Trump leading up to his reelection.”

Amodei said the vote essentially “sends seven unprepared pro-impeachment folks over to the Senate in an attempt to make a solid case against the president.”

Amodei said Democrats have tried to strengthen their argument, but have not.

“No disrespect to the managers selected by Speaker Pelosi today, but based on the case made over here, she’s sending these members into the lion’s den,” Amodei said in a statement.

But Democrats feel emboldened with their delay in transmitting the articles. It has retrieved more documents that indicate Trump had more knowledge of the efforts to push Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden.

“The evidence that President Trump committed impeachable acts is overwhelming,” Titus said in a tweet, adding that the only question now is “whether Republican senators will allow a fair trial.”

“Blocking relevant documents and testimony is something you do when you are afraid of the facts,” Titus said.

Documents turned over by Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s private lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, show a concerted effort to remove the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was leading an anti-corruption campaign that thwarted efforts by Trump allies to get an investigation into Biden.

Yovanovitch was fired from her post after a smear campaign run by Trump allies, according to witness statements in the House inquiry.

The House voted in December to pass the articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power for a July 25 telephone call where he sought “a favor” from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch the investigation.

The Trump administration was withholding nearly $400 million in military aid at the time.

A second impeachment article was approved by the House charging Trump with obstruction of Congress for ordering officials not to comply with subpoenas to testify or produce documents.

The president has adamantly denied any wrongdoing in his dealings with Ukraine.

The House managers will now present the case to a Senate trial presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Since the monthlong delay in sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, former national security adviser John Bolton has said he would testify if subpoenaed. Bolton had declined to comply with House requests.

Bolton is one of four witnesses Democrats want to call to testify in the Senate trial.

So far, McConnell said he has the 51 votes needed to begin the trial without a decision on witnesses.

There are several Republican senators, however, who want to hear from witnesses at some point in the trial, which is expected to last five to six weeks.

The trial is only the third impeachment proceeding in the Senate in U.S. history. The Senate acquitted President Andrew Johnson in 1868 and President Bill Clinton in 1999.

Senate Democrats would need 67 votes, or a two-thirds majority, to remove Trump from office.

The president currently enjoys the support of a majority of GOP senators, who are unlikely to help minority Democrats remove the president from office.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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