Democrats alleged that US President Donald Trump was at the verge of dictatorship while Republicans defended the president’s record at the opening of a historic debate on piled-up impeachment charges on Wednesday, 11th December.
Both parties held strongly to diametrically opposed views of Trump’s actions as they weighed articles of impeachment tendered against the president at the beginning of a two-day debate.
President Trump is accused of abusing the power of the presidency for personal and political benefit by forcing Ukraine leader to investigate the Bidens, thereby interfering into US 2020 election.
There is little worries about the result in the House Judiciary Committee: at the end of the week majority-Democrat panel may approve the charges and send them to the entire House of Representatives for passage by next week.
But lawmakers in the televised hearing seems to be more interested in speaking to voters, whose opinions will be important if, as expected, the US president goes on trial in the Senate in January.
Democratic committee chairman Jerry Nadler opened the hearing in a grave voice:
“Today we begin consideration of two articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump. Taken together, the two articles charge President Trump with placing his private political interests above our national security, above our free and fair elections, and above our ability to hold public officials accountable,” he said.
“If the president can first abuse his power and then stonewall all congressional requests for information, Congress cannot fulfill its duty to act as a check and balance against the Executive — and the president becomes a dictator,” he added.
A senior Republican on the committee, Doug Collins, argued that Democrats have been working on impeaching Trump ever since he assumed office in January 2017, and have no reasonable case beyond “abuse of power.”
“It’s just generic vague statements. You go home and pick something you don’t like about the president, and there’s your abuse of power. This is as much about political expediency as it is anything else, and that should never be an article of impeachment.” Collins said.
With the committee’s 40 participant speaking one after the other, alternating by party, Republicans were united in claiming there was no clear evidence to backup the charges.
Republican Jim Jordan said Democrats were simply refighting their 2016 election loss and hated Trump.
“This is about one basic fact: the Democrats have never accepted the will of the American people. They don’t like the 63 million people who voted for this president,” he said.
At a political rally that held in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Donald Trump ridiculed the charges.
“Everybody said, ‘This is impeachment light,’ ”there are no crimes” and Democrats are just trying to win the next election. Trump said.
The Wednesday debate lasted for nearly four hours, and was adjourned until Thursday morning at 9:00 am (1400 GMT), when they will discuss possible amendments to the impeachment charges.
The committee chairman’s opening statement earlier in the evening said three questions should be the focus of the members’ debate:
“First, does the evidence show clearly that the President committed these acts?
“Second, do they rise to the level of impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors?
“Third, what are the consequences for our national security, for the integrity of our elections, and for our country if we fail to act?”