Zoe Rothchild, in the foreground, holds a sign stating the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as others demonstrate during a “Nobody’s Above the Law” rally on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at Vashon Highway and Bank Road. The demonstration was held one day before the House of Representatives was expected to impeach the president. (Kevin Opsahl/Staff Photo)

What to watch as Trump impeachment moves to House floor

The nation’s 45th president is on track to become only the third commander in chief to be impeached

American history is happening in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrats are driving President Donald Trump to the brink of impeachment Wednesday as the House takes up charges Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress in pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rivals and refusing to co-operate with the ensuing congressional probe.

The nation’s 45th president is on track to become only the third commander in chief to be impeached.

But first, watch for a daylong showdown that’s been boiling for years between Republicans loyal to Trump and Democrats who say his conduct toward Ukraine makes him unfit for office. Look, too, for legacy moments for Washington’s political veterans on the eve of the 2020 election year.

What to watch during a historic day on Capitol Hill that is expected to end with a final vote Wednesday evening:

Spoiler alert

Trump is heading for impeachment. When the House opens debate, the outcome will have been known for some time.

A tally compiled by The Associated Press found that a majority of House members have said they will vote to approve the charges and send them to the Senate for a trial next month.

The GOP-led Senate is not expected to convict and remove Trump from office.

ALSO READ: House gets two Trump impeachment charges after Judiciary vote

Partisans, mostly

Expect most Democrats to vote for impeachment and all Republicans to vote against it.

But there are exceptions.

One freshman Democrat, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, has indicated he will oppose impeachment, then switch parties to become a Republican. Earlier this year, Michigan conservative Rep. Justin Amash left the GOP when he favoured impeachment. He is expected to vote yes to impeach.

One new Democratic congressman, Jared Golden of Maine, said he would vote to impeach on abuse of power but not obstruction.

Americans

Expect the House to take the nation’s us-vs-them political culture out for a spin before a global audience. But it’s not clear the proceedings are changing many minds.

Trump’s approval ratings have held steady since a whistleblower report and a partial transcript revealed he had pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Democrats.

Wide shares of Democrats both disapprove of the president and support impeachment, while wide shares of Republicans approve of Trump and want him to remain in office.

New polls from The Washington Post/ABC News and CNN find support for impeachment and removal remains at about half of Americans.

‘Profound grace’

Impeachment will subject Trump to what former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter called a “profound disgrace” that stains a president’s legacy forever. Only two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

Richard Nixon chose to resign instead.

Trump has mocked the articles of impeachment as weak.

Trump’s day

He’s heading to Michigan, the Democratic state he flipped in 2016. Vice-President Mike Pence is on a bus tour across the state and expected to join Trump at the rally in Battle Creek.

On the eve of the floor action, Trump gave a nearly six-page preview of his approach in a rambling letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. in which he cast himself as a victim and accused the Democrats of smarting over their election losses. “You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish, personal political and partisan gain.”

Pelosi

It’s legacy time for her, too.

In her second turn as speaker, the House veteran of more than three decades says relentlessly that impeachment is a sombre time, not one for celebration. She says the Clinton impeachment proceedings were too divisive for the county and resisted opening impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush after the Iraq War.

She refused to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump over his obstruction of the Russia investigation, saying she’d be against doing so unless there was bipartisan sentiment for it.

That still doesn’t exist for the impeachment articles now headed for passage. But Pelosi has said Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine, while holding up military aid to that country, left her no choice.

“Very sadly, the facts have made clear that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit and that he obstructed Congress,” Pelosi wrote to colleagues. “In America, no one is above the law.”

Next stop: Senate

After votes on each of the two amendments, the House is expected to authorize Pelosi to name a team of prosecutors for the Senate trial. Lobbying for the jobs is well underway. The wagering begins with the two lead House impeachment chairmen, Adam Schiff of Intelligence and Jerrold Nadler of Judiciary, playing roles.

The trial is expected to begin in January, with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have begun negotiating, and sniping, over how the trial will be conducted.

McConnell set the partisan tone by declaring that he’s “not an impartial juror.”

Laurie Kellman, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former students’ mural showcasing Delta elementary school’s new logo on hold, for now

Ashriya and Karam Purewal painted the spirit logo last spring; formal logo mural delayed due to COVID

White Rock’s top cop calls for ‘healthcare led intervention model’

Review aims for better understanding of crime related to mental health, substance use

Delta Foundation grants Big Sisters over $5,000 for academic mentoring program

Funding made available through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund

Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

Tejwant Danjou was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna

Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

Compared with city’s 2019 weekly average, deepest volume reduction was in late March with up to 46 per cent less vehicles

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read