By Jack Phillips
President Donald Trump asserted Friday that House Democrats have trivialized impeachment to gain political points after the House Judiciary Committee voted to approve two articles of impeachment against him.
First, Trump repeated the familiar “sham,” “hoax,” and “witch hunt” claims about the process and said he didn’t watch the vote because he was finalizing a new trade deal with China. “We’re dealing with a lot of corrupt people. There was nothing done wrong. To use the power of impeachment on this nonsense is an embarrassment to this country,” Trump added.
“You’re trivializing impeachment,” he told reporters at the White House. The tool of impeachment, he added, is “supposed to be used in an emergency,” as intended by the framers of the Constitution.
Currently, Democrats are trying to use impeachment for political gain, Trump continued.
“Someday, there’ll be a Democrat president and there’ll be a Republican House, and I suspect they’re going to remember it,” Trump said.
“To be using this for a perfect phone call, where the president of [Ukraine] said there was no pressure whatsoever—didn’t even know what we were talking about … I’ve done much for them than Obama,” he said.
The House Judiciary Committee this week held debates for several days. On Friday morning, two articles of impeachment passed along a party-line vote, with 23 Democrats voting in favor and 17 Republicans against it.
Democrats have accused the president of endangering the U.S. Constitution, jeopardizing national security, and undermining the integrity of the 2020 election by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July phone call to investigate Biden in exchange for military aid. However, Trump, Zelensky, and other top Ukrainian officials have denied Democrats’ claims.
“For the third time in a little over a century and a half, the House Judiciary Committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Friday.
Republicans, including the president’s allies in the Senate, have said the impeachment drive is politically motivated and ties up Congress.
“A sad, ridiculous sham in the U.S. House of Representatives. This needs to come to a quick end,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted.
The full House is expected to vote on impeachment next week before the Christmas break, and the measure will then go on trial in the Senate in early 2020.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Fox News on Thursday that there’s no chance Trump will be removed by the Senate. While the House needs a simple majority to approve impeachment, the stakes are much higher in the Senate with a two-thirds majority vote.