Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET
Democrats are set to take the next major step toward impeaching President Trump.
After hours of consideration Wednesday night of the two articles of impeachment that Democrats introduced against Trump, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote it out of committee Thursday.
The articles of impeachment would then head to a vote of the full House likely by the end of next week with a Senate trial expected in January.
Trump has called the proceedings a “witch hunt” and “failing.” He dubbed it “impeachment lite” and “the lightest impeachment in the history of our country by far.”
The two articles Democrats introduced are for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The abuse of power charge centers on a pressure campaign carried out against Ukraine.
Multiple witnesses testified to an effort to get Ukraine to announce investigations into conspiracy theories about the 2016 campaign and into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and his role on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
As the pressure campaign mounted, the Trump administration withheld nearly $400 million in military aid already allocated by Congress and promised a White House meeting for Ukraine’s president. The funds were eventually released; the White House meeting still has not happened.
The obstruction of Congress charge is due to Trump’s broad directive to block witnesses from testifying and documents from being released, as it relates to the Ukraine matter.
Wednesday’s hearing notably was in prime-time television viewing. Polling has barely budged any views. By a 45% to 44% margin, Americans were split down the middle on whether Trump should be impeached and removed, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.
That split was on full display Wednesday night. Democrats were firm in their view that the president tried to “cheat” in the 2020 election by soliciting foreign interference in U.S. elections — and should be impeached and removed from office.
“In pressuring Ukraine for a personal favor, President Trump both betrayed our national security and attempted to corrupt our elections,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Republicans, on the other hand, were dug in on their view that this impeachment is simply about politics, that Democrats have sought to impeach Trump since he was elected and that Trump committed no specific criminal act.
“We have been on this path since November 2016,” said Republican Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member of the committee. “The only thing that’s changed is your desire to impeach the president when you became the majority.”
Democrats are in the majority. And that majority is likely to impeach this president before Christmas.