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  • U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 17, 2019.

    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 17, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 December 2019

The floor debate, which will be only the third time in history that the chamber debates impeachment articles against a president, is expected Wednesday and Thursday.

United States President Donald Trump accused Democrats of pursuing an “illegal, partisan attempted coup” Tuesday and declaring war on “democracy” as they seek to remove him from office for pressing Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

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U.S. House Committee Approves Charges For Trump Impeachment

“This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will be based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth,” Trump’s letter stated on the eve of his expected impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This comes as from Dec. 11 to 13, the House Judiciary Committee held a two-day markup session to debate and make revisions to the two proposed articles of impeachment, which charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The committee approved both articles 23 to 17 in a divided vote along party lines.

Now the next step will be a House floor debate, which is controlled by a Democrat majority with 233 representatives over 197 Republicans. The House then votes on articles of impeachment. A simple majority would be required to pass if any of the two articles are approved Trump would be impeached.

The floor debate, which will be only the third time in history that the chamber debates impeachment articles from the Judiciary Committee against a president, is expected Wednesday and Thursday.

However, this would not in itself remove the president immediately from office; as it is similar to an indictment thus it is essentially the statement of charges against the official. 

The impeachment would set the stage for a trial in the Senate, controlled by Republicans - on whether to convict him and remove him from office. No president has ever been removed from office via the impeachment process set out in the Constitution, and Republican senators have given little indication of changing that.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday ignored a Democratic request to call four current and former White House officials as witnesses in the expected trial next month, sending another clear signal that he expects senators not to remove Trump from office.

McConnell has previously said there is “no chance” the Senate will convict and remove Trump and that he would work in “total coordination” with the White House and Trump’s defense team.

The impeachment proceedings began on Sept. 24 as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal inquiry, resulting from a whistleblower’s allegations that Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden.

The whistleblower from within the U.S. intelligence community ledged a complaint with an internal watchdog about Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, resulting in the Ukraine scandal. 

The July 25 call, which was later released by the White House, confirmed that the U.S. president asked Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival in coordination with the U.S. attorney general and Trump’s personal lawyer, which in turn occurred after Trump had ordered a freeze of nearly US$400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine, which the administration only later released.

Federal election law prohibits candidates from accepting foreign help in an election.

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