DemDaily: Impeachment, Pelosi and the Presidential

December 19, 2019

In has been a whirlwind 24 hours, even by Trump standards.

(Image: The Guardian)

Last night, the US House of Representatives impeached President Donald J. Trump for "High Crimes and Misdemeanors."

The first Article on Abuse of Power passed 230 to 197, with one "present." The second Article for Contempt of Congress passed 229 to 198, with one present.

The votes were primarily along party lines, with Democrats Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Jeff Van Drew (NJ) voting against both Articles. Van Drew, who sat with the Republicans, officially announced he had switched parties today. A third Democrat, Jared Golden (ME), who represents a district Trump won by over 10% in 2016, voted against Obstruction of Congress.

Republican-turned independent Justin Amash (MI) sided with Democrats on both counts, while Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI) voted "present" for both articles. Although Gabbard safely won her House seat by 55 points in 2018, her defiant vote Wednesday amplified her profile as the only presidential candidate who had a vote on impeachment.

The Constitutional process is similar to that of regular court proceedings, in that the indictment of the President by the House now moves to the trial phase in the Senate. The trial will be overseen by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, designated House Managers will prosecute the case and the President's lawyers will serve as the defense.
Conviction will require 67 votes, or 2/3 of those present, to convict and remove the President from office.

The drama of last night's historic indictment of Trump, however, did not end with the vote.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (AP)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has brilliantly, but delicately, navigated the impeachment process, entered into a standoff with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over negotiaions for terms for the Senate trial.

Pelosi said she is withholding the Articles of Impeachment until McConnell presents a plan for the Senate trial, which includes whether or not they will allow key witnesses to testify. "We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side. So far we haven't seen anything that looks fair to us."

McConnell wants a quick trial and, what is anticipated to be, an acquittal of Trump by the Republican-controlled Senate. The GOP holds 53 seats to Democrats' 45. The two Independent Senators normally vote with the Democrats.

The outcome of negotiations will have to wait, however, until January 6th when the House, which recessed today for the holidays, reconvenes.

In the interim, tonight, less than 24 hours after Donald Trump became the third US President to be impeached, seven presidential candidates will debate on who among them is the best to take Trump's place.

The Sixth Democratic Primary Debate, held at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, begins at 8:00pm ET tonight and is co-hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico. Moderators included PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff, PBS senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz, and PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, as well as Politico's chief political correspondent, Tim Alberta.

The Standings: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released today and conducted December 14-17, 2019 among primary voters (MOE: +/- 4.84%) shows:

Tonight's Sixth Debate: Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, Warren and Yang

Joe Biden leading with 28%, followed by Bernie Sanders (21%), Elizabeth Warren (18%), Pete Buttigieg (9%), Amy Klobuchar (5%), Michael Bloomberg (4%), Andrew Yang (3%), Tulsi Gabbard (2%) and Cory Booker (2%).The rest were at 1% or less.

DemList will keep you informed.

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Kimberly Scott
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