Today the House of Representatives is holding the vote to impeach President Donald Trump and set up a trial in the Senate in the coming weeks. Several key members of Congress debated the articles of impeachment prior to the vote. Read the transcript right here.
House Clerks Read Rules of Impeachment Vote & Articles of Impeachment
Susan Cole: (00:08)
House calendar number 63, House Resolution 767, resolved that immediately upon adoption of this resolution without intervention of any point of order, the House shall proceed to the consideration of the House in the House of the resolution House Resolution 755 impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States for high crimes and misdemeanors. The amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the committee on the judiciary now printed in the resolution shall be considered as adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the resolution as amended to adoption without intervening motion or demand for division of the question except as follows: A, the resolution as amended shall be debatable for six hours equally divided and controlled by the Chair and ranking minority member of the committee on the judiciary or their respective designees. B, the question of adoption of the resolution as amended shall be divided between the two articles.
Susan Cole: (01:07)
Section two. During consideration of House Resolution 755, only the following persons shall be admitted to the hall of the House or rooms leading there too: A, members of Congress. B, the delegates and the resident commissioner. C, the President and Vice President of the United States. D, other persons as designated by the speaker.
Susan Cole: (01:30)
Section three. After the adoption of House Resolution 755, it shall be in order without intervention of any point of order to consider in the House a resolution of pointing and authorizing managers for the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, President of the United States if offered by the chair of the committee on the judiciary or his designee. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the resolution to adoption without intervening motion or demand for division of the question except 10 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on the judiciary. No other resolution incidental to impeachment relating to House Resolution 755 shall be privileged during the remainder of the 116th Congress.
Susan Cole: (02:18)
Section four. The chair of the committee on the judiciary may insert in the congressional record such material as he may deem explanatory of: A, House Resolution 755 not later than the date that is five legislative days after adoption thereof. And B, the resolution specified in section three of this resolution, not later than the date that is five legislative days after adoption thereof.
Speaker 1: (00:00)
Pursuant to House Resolution 767, the House will proceed to the immediate consideration of House Resolution 755. The clerk will report the resolution.
House Clerk: (00:10)
House calendar number 61. House Resolution 755 resolved that Donald John Trump, President of the United States is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate. Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America, in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.
House Clerk: (00:44)
Article one, abuse of power. The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment and that the President shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors in his conduct of the Office of President of the United States and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States, and to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the presidency in that using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States presidential election. He did so through a scheme or a course of conduct that included soliciting the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States presidential election to his advantage.
House Clerk: (01:51)
President Trump also sought to pressure the government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations. President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the presidency in a manner that a compromise the national security of the United States and undermine the integrity of the United States democratic process. He thus ignored and injured the interests of the nation.
House Clerk: (02:26)
President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct through the following means. One: President Trump, acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States government, corruptly solicited the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into, A) a political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and B) a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine, rather than Russia, interfered in the 2016 United States presidential election.
House Clerk: (02:56)
Two: with the same corrupt motives, President Trump, acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States government, conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested, A) the release of $391 million of United States taxpayer funds that Congress had appropriated on a bipartisan basis for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression in which President Trump had ordered suspended, and B) ahead of state meeting at the White House, which the President of Ukraine sought to demonstrate continued United States support for the government of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
House Clerk: (03:38)
Three: faced with the public revelation of his actions, President Trump ultimately released the military and security assistance to the government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly and corruptly urging and soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit.
House Clerk: (03:55)
These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections. In all of this, President Trump abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit. He has also betrayed the nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections. Wherefore, President Trump by such conduct has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honour, trust, or profit under the United States.
House Clerk: (04:45)
Article two, obstruction of Congress. The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment and that the President shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours. In his conduct of the Office of President of the United States and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the Office of President of the United States, and to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, Donald J. Trump has directed the unprecedented categorical and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its sole power of impeachment. President Trump has abused the powers of the presidency in a manner offensive to and subversive of the Constitution in that the House of Representatives has engaged in an impeachment inquiry focused on President Trump’s corrupt solicitation of the government of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 United States presidential election.
House Clerk: (05:57)
As part of this impeachment inquiry, the committees undertaking the investigation served subpoena seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry from various executive branch agencies and offices and current and former officials. In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed executive branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.
House Clerk: (06:39)
President Trump abused the powers of his high office through the following means. One: directing the White House to defy a lawful subpoena by withholding the production of documents sought therein by the committees. Two: directing other executive branch agencies and offices to defy lawful subpoenas and withhold the production of documents and records from the committees in response to which the Department of State, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense refuse to produce a single document or record. Three: directing current and former executive branch officials not to cooperate with the committees in response to which nine administration officials defied subpoenas for testimony. Namely, John Michael Mick Mulvaney, Robert B. Blair, John A. Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Preston Wells Griffith, Russell T. Vote, Michael Duffy, Brian McCormick, and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl.
House Clerk: (07:34)
These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous efforts to undermine United States government investigations into foreign interference in United States elections. Through these actions, President Trump sought to arrogate to himself the right to determine the propriety of scope and nature of an impeachment inquiry into his own conduct, as well as the unilateral prerogative to deny any and all information to the House of Representatives and the exercise of its sole power of impeachment. In the history of the Republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate high crimes and misdemeanours. This abuse of office served to cover up the President’s own repeated misconduct, and to seize and control the power of impeachment, and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.
House Clerk: (08:31)
In all of this, President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President, and subversive of constitutional government to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honour, trust, or profit under the United States.
Nancy Pelosi’s Statement
Nancy Pelosi: (00:00)
Colleagues, this morning and every morning when we come together, members rise and pledge allegiance to the flag. Every day, all across America, children in school, members of the military, officials and those civically engaged also pledge allegiance to the flag. Let us recall what that pledge says.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:26)
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic, to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:43)
The Republic for which it stands is what we are here to talk about today. A Republic if we can keep it. We gather today under the dome of this temple of democracy to exercise one of the most solemn powers that this body can take, the impeachment of the President of the United States.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:04)
No member, regardless of party or politics, comes to Congress to impeach a president, but every one of us as our first act as a member of Congress stood on this historic house floor before our beautiful American flag and raised our hands in this sacred oath.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:22)
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. So help me God.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:34)
For 230 years, members have taken that sacred oath, which makes us custodians of the Constitution. When our founders declared independence and established a new nation, they crafted a system of government unlike anyone ever seen before. A Republic starting with the sacred words, we the people. For centuries Americans have fought and died to defend democracy for the people, but very sadly now our founder’s vision of a Republic is under threat from actions from the White House. That is why today, as Speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly opened the debate on the impeachment of the President of the United States.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:21)
If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice. What we are discussing today is the established fact that the president violated the Constitution. It is a matter of fact that the president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections, the basis of our democracy. Hundreds of historians, legal scholars, and formal prosecutors regardless of party had stated that the president committed impeachable offences.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:00)
Since today is a national civics lesson, though a sad one, I submit these documents for the record and commend them for students to study.
Madam Speaker: (03:10)
Add objection. So order.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:12)
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:15)
What we are discussing today is the established fact that the president again violated the Constitution. It is a matter of fact that the president is again, an ongoing threat to our national security and the testimony of decorated war heroes, distinguished diplomats and patriotic career public servants, some of the president’s own appointees over the past weeks have told us this.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:40)
The president used the power of his public office to obtain an improper personal political benefit at the expense of America’s national security. When a president weakens a democratic ally that is advancing American security interest by fighting an American adversary, the president weakens America. This abuse of power also jeopardizes the integrity of our elections. All Americans agree that American voters should choose our president, not some foreign government.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:13)
The founders understood that it is profoundly corrosive for our democracy, for a president to invite interference in our elections. As George Washington, our nation’s patriot under whose gaze, we stand today, warned, “History and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most painful foes of Republican government,” George Washington.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:40)
Sadly, the American people have witnessed further wrongs of the president, which necessitate the Second Article of Impeachment, Obstruction of Congress. When the president’s wrongdoing was revealed, he launched an unprecedented, indiscriminate and categorical campaign of defiance and obstruction.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:01)
Never before in the history of our nation have we seen a president declare and act if he is above the law. The president goes even so far as to say and act on this absurdity. When he says, Article Two says, “I can do whatever I want.” No, it doesn’t. That recklessness is a profound violation of the Constitution and our Republic, which endure because of our system of separation of power, three co-equal branches, each a check and balance on the other. A Republic. Again, if we can keep it.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:38)
The founder’s great fear of a rogue or corrupt president is the very reason why they enshrined impeachment in the Constitution. As one founder William Davy of North Carolina warned, “Unless the Constitution contained an impeachment provision, a president might spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself reelected.” Another founder, George Mason, insisted that the president who procured his appointment in the first instance through improper and corrupt acts might repeat his guilt and return to power.
Nancy Pelosi: (06:15)
We in Congress, Article One the legislative branch, must stand up and make clear to the American people and to all people, that this body still stands by the principles enshrined in the Constitution and defended by generations of Americans.
Nancy Pelosi: (06:33)
Last week and observance of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, members travel to that hallowed ground to express our gratitude to the heroes of freedom, who sacrificed everything to secure victory of freedom over tyranny, not just for America but for the world. The veterans of that battle who were there in their nineties told us how after the war was won, the Europeans to whom they liberated would ask, “Why did you risk us? You don’t know us and give your lives to save us. We’re not Americans.” And our men would say, “We came here to fight for you, not because you are Americans because we are Americans.”
Nancy Pelosi: (07:18)
As our beloved chairman, Elijah Cummings and oversight committee chair, our North star said, when announcing his support for this action, “When the history books are written about this tumultuous error, I want them to show that I was among those in the House of Representatives who stood up to lawlessness and tyranny.” He also said almost prophetically, “When we are dancing with the angels, the question will be, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact.” Elijah, as you know, has since passed on. Now he is dancing with the angels and I know that he and all of us here are very proud of the moral courage of members, want to honour the vision of our founders for a Republic, the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform to defend it, and the aspirations of our children to live freely within it.
Nancy Pelosi: (08:17)
Today, we are here to defend democracy for the people. May God bless America. I yield back the balance of my time.
Jerry Nadler’s Statement
Jerry Nadler: (00:01)
Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Speaker 2: (00:04)
Jerry Nadler: (00:05)
Madam Speaker, the house of representatives must now consider two articles of impeachment against President Trump. The first article charges that the president use his public office to coerce a foreign government into attacking his political rival. The second article charges that the president took extreme and unprecedented steps to obstruct our investigation into his conduct. Taken together the two articles charge that President Trump placed his private political interests above our national security, above our elections, and above our system of checks and balances. After months of series of investigation, there can be no serious debate about the evidence at hand. On July 25th when he spoke to President Zelensky of Ukraine, President Trump had the upper hand. The president through his agents had already demanded that Ukraine announce an investigation of his political opponents. Ukraine needed our help, both military aid, which had been appropriated by Congress because of our security interests and an oval office meeting to show the world that the United States continues to stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression.
Jerry Nadler: (01:20)
President Trump should have been focused on the interests of the American people on that call. Instead, he prioritized his private political interests. President Trump asked President Zelensky for a favour. He wanted Ukraine to announce two bogus investigations, wanting to form a vice president Biden, then his leading opponent in the 2020 election, and another to advance a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia attacked our elections in 2016. Neither requests was premised on any legitimate national security or foreign policy interest. One was intended to help President Trump conceal the truth about the 2016 election. The other was intended to help him gain an advantage in the 2020 election. After the call, President Trump ratcheted up the pressure. He deployed his private attorney and other agents, some acting far outside the regular channels of diplomacy to make his desires clear. There would be no aid and no meeting until Ukraine announced the sham investigations.
Jerry Nadler: (02:28)
To our founding generation, abusive power was a specific, well-defined offence. A president may not misuse the powers of the presidency to obtain an improper personal benefit. The evidence shows that President Trump did exactly that. For this alone, he should be impeached, but the first article also identifies two aggravating factors. When President Trump conditioned military aid on a personal favour, he harmed America’s national security, and when he demanded that a foreign government target his domestic political rival, he took steps to corrupt our next election. To the founders, these offences clearly merited removal from office. The president faces a second article of impeachment for his efforts to obstruct our investigation of his misconduct. The constitution grants the sole power of impeachment to the house of representatives. Within our system of checks and balances, the president may not decide for himself what constitutes a valid impeachment enquiry, nor may he ignore lawful subpoenas or direct others to do so.
Jerry Nadler: (03:35)
Many presidents, including President Trump, have asserted privileges and other objections to specific subpoenas, but only President Trump has ordered the categorical defiance of a congressional investigation. The automatic rejection of all subpoenas. The president is not above the law and he should be impeached for this, as well. Congress cannot wait for the next election to address this misconduct. President Trump has demonstrated a clear pattern of wrongdoing. This is not the first time he has solicited foreign interference in an election, has been exposed and has attempted to obstruct the resulting investigation. We cannot rely on the next election as a remedy for presidential misconduct when the president threatens the very integrity of that election. He has shown us he will continue to put his selfish interests above the good of the country. We must act without delay. By his actions, President Trump has broken his oath of office. His conduct continues to undermine our constitution and threaten our next election. His actions warrant his impeachment and demand his removal from office. I urge my colleagues to support these articles and I reserve the balance of my time.
Statements from Other Representatives
Doug Collins: (00:00)
Thank you, Madame Speaker. We are here today to enter into a debate that should surprise no one. This has not been a surprise and it’s not even something that we would have not thought about. From the very moment that the majority party in this House won, the inevitability that we would be here today was only a matter of what date they would schedule it, nothing else. In fact, how it even began to look even further was on September 24th. The Speaker announced an impeachment enquiry before even seeing the call transcript that we’re going to hear so much about today. It’s not about what this body can do and its constitutional oath, and there’s been a lot of constitutional and founders thrown around and will be all day today. But there’s one thing that I will mention all along and that is also the founders were very concerned about a partisan impeachment in which politics of the majority who had their strength can do what they want to do, regardless of any facts.
Doug Collins: (00:59)
In fact, I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I do not believe, no matter what will be said today and even what has been said, this is not a solemn occasion. When you go looking for something for three years, and especially this year since January, you ought to be excited when you found it. But they can’t, because I know what is now happening. It took me last night, but I was thinking about it. Why do we keep calling this a solemn occasion when you’ve been wanting to do this ever since the gentleman was elected. The President came forward and did what he saw fit for the American people, but yet they wanted to impeach him.
Doug Collins: (01:28)
It hit me. Now I know. The reason they wanted to is now they’re realizing what I told them and have been telling them for the last few weeks, that the clock and the calendar are terrible masters. The clock and the calendar are terrible masters. They do not care about anything except getting the time done and the calendar fixed. They do not care about facts. They do not care about time and one day the clock and the calendar will hang along this body in a very detrimental way. How do I know this? Because one of our members, [Mr. Lieb 00:02:00], said on the night she was sworn in, “We’re going to impeach.”
Doug Collins: (02:02)
Well, you know the rest. In May of 2019, Al Green said, “I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president he will get reelected.” That is probably the most prescient thing said by the majority in the last year, is they said, “We can’t beat him if we don’t impeach him.” There’s a reason behind this impeachment. Even Speaker Pelosi said it will be dangerous to leave it to voters to determine whether President Trump stays in office.
Doug Collins: (02:25)
Really? After we just said the Pledge of Allegiance, we go back to the Speaker’s own words and said it would be dangerous to leave it to the voters. I will tell you right now, Madame Speaker, we on the Republican side have no problem taking our case to the majority and to the people of this country because they elected Donald Trump and it is a matter for the voters, not this house, not in this way, not in the way this is being done. It has trampled everything this House believes in.
Doug Collins: (02:53)
I said it yesterday and I believe it to be this true today. I will fight this on process which has been “deplorable,” to use a word of the majority. It has been awful. The calendar and the clock make it impressive that we actually do it quickly. We don’t care about rules. We don’t care about minority hearing days. We don’t care about giving the opportunity for witnesses to be called because the chairman gets to determine what is relevant. Wow, that’s pretty good. Let the accuser determine what is relevant to the one being accused.
Doug Collins: (03:20)
The people of America see-through this. The people of America understand due process and they understand when it is being trampled in the people’s House. You see it’s also not a matter of process which will be discussed today. It’s a matter of actual facts. I will fight the facts all day long because what we found here today is a President who did not do as being charged. In fact, they had to go to abuse of power, this amorphous term that you’re going to hear many, many arguments about, how that abuse of power, except for one thing. The call itself, the two parties say, “No pressure. Nothing was ever done to get the money.” In fact, they didn’t even know the money was held.
Doug Collins: (03:56)
But there is something that very much bothers me about the facts. There were five meetings, we’ll hear about those today, in which there was never a linkage made. There was one witness that is depended on over 600 times in the majority’s report. That in the end after questioned had to say, “Well, that was my presumption of what was happening.” You see, this is an impeachment based on presumption. This is an impeachment basically also a poll-tested impeachment on what actually sells to the American people.
Doug Collins: (04:25)
Today’s going to be a lot of things. What it is not is fair. What it is not is about the truth. What is true today, and I just heard it just a moment ago in the articles themselves where it said, and the Speaker, I believe actually talked about this, is that the president weakened a foreign leader.
Doug Collins: (04:44)
You know what the truth of the matter is? That has to be the most interesting and deplorable thing that I’ve heard over the last few weeks, is the actual attack by the majority on President Zelensky because they realize the whole crux of their case is that if he was not pressured, their house of cards falls. And by the way, it already fell. But if we can’t show pressure, then we either have to call him a liar, a world leader, or we have to make up names to call him. And that’s exactly what happened in judiciary committee when a member of the majority actually said he’s acting or they’re comparing him to a battered wife. That is below the dignity of this body, to take a world leader and when he doesn’t make your case for you, to belittle him, especially as it’s going to be often said by the majority, that they’re in the middle of a hot war with Russia.
Doug Collins: (05:29)
You see, President Trump actually did give them offensive weapons. President Trump did nothing wrong. We’re going to talk about that all day long today. We went on process and we went on facts. Why? Because the American people will see through this.
Doug Collins: (05:40)
But before I close this first part, I will have to recognize that even the Senate, the minority leader in the Senate recognized that the House did not do their job because he can’t make the case to his own members. So he’s having to ask for witnesses, ask for more time. And even yesterday it was sort of funny. I thought it hilarious that minority leader in the Senate went out and did a press conference and said, “They denied my witnesses. They denied my requests.” Well, welcome to the club, Mr Schumer. That’s exactly what’s happened over here for the last three months.
Doug Collins: (06:10)
So today we’re going to talk a lot about impeachment. We’re going to talk a lot about our President, and we’re going to talk about two articles of impeachment: abuse of power because they can’t actually pin anything of factual basis on him. The President did nothing wrong in this issue. And then they’re going to talk about obstruction of Congress. You know obstruction of Congress, as I’ve said before, is like petulant children saying we didn’t get our way when we didn’t ask the right way and we didn’t actually go after and try to make a case. You know why, Madame Speaker? The clock and the calendar are terrible masters and the majority will own that problem today because of the clock and the calendar, facts don’t matter. The promises to the base matter. And today is a promise kept for the majority, not a surprise of fact. And with that, I reserve.
James P. McGovern: (00:00)
Let me, let me thank my friend Mr Cole for his kind words and I appreciate his leadership in the Rules Committee and the fact that he respects this institution, but Madame Speaker. Let me say again what happened here. The president withheld congressionally approved military aid to a country under siege to extract a personal political favour. That’s a cold hard fact. The question before us comes down to this, should a president be allowed to ask a foreign nation to interfere in an American election?
James P. McGovern: (00:31)
I remember my first political experience as a middle schooler in 1972 leaving leaflets at the homes of potential voters, urging them to support George McGovern for president. No relation by the way. I remember what an honour it was to ask people to support him even though I was too young to vote myself. And what a privilege it was later in life to ask voters for their support in my own campaigns. I’ve been part of winning campaigns and I’ve been proud of losing ones too. People I thought would be great presidents like Senator McGovern were never given that chance. Make no mistake. I was disappointed, but I accepted it. I would take losing an election any day of the week when the American people render that verdict, but I will never be okay if other nations decide our leaders for us. And the President of the United States is rolling out the welcome mat for that kind of foreign interference.
James P. McGovern: (01:26)
To my Republican friends. Imagine any democratic president sitting in the oval office, President Obama, President Clinton, any of them. Would your answer here still be the same? No one should be allowed to use the powers of the presidency to undermine our elections, period. This isn’t about siding with your team. I didn’t swear an oath to defend a political party. I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. And when I vote yes on this rule and the underlying articles, my conscience will be clear.
James P. McGovern: (02:01)
I ask all of my colleagues to search their souls before casting their votes. I ask them all to stand up for our democracy, to stand up for our Constitution. Mrs Madame Speaker, I urge a yes vote on the rule in the previous question. You’ll back the balance of my time and I move the previous question under resolution.
Katherine Clark: (00:01)
Madam Speaker, to paraphrase one of our founding mothers, Abigail Adams. People may let a president fall yet still remain a people, but if a president lets his people slip from him, he is no longer a president. Just as Abigail Adams warned, Donald Trump has let the people slip from him. He works for himself, not us. He tried to extort a foreign government into investigating a political rival, and he has unlawfully withheld witnesses and evidence. If we want a democracy, today, we must stand for the rule of law. A vote to impeach is a vote to remain a government that is of, for, and by the people. It is a vote born of great fear for our future but also rooted in optimism that if we stand for the truth, for our constitution, we can continue to create a country of liberty, justice, and equality for all. I yield the remainder of my time.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:00)
Gentleman from Oklahoma is recognized to close.
Tom Cole: (00:02)
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I yield myself the balance of my time.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:07)
Tom Cole: (00:08)
Madam Speaker, before I begin my formal remarks, in closing, I want to say one thing for the record. I have great respect for all my friends on the other side of the aisle, and I am sure they’re voting their convictions. So when I vote mine, please don’t imply I’m doing it for my political party. I’m doing it because it’s what I believe is right. And I do believe I can defend both the president and the constitution of the United States, and I think that’s exactly what I am doing. Madam Speaker, I cannot oppose this rule strongly enough. The process we saw leading up to it today was a complete charade. It was a closed process and unfair process and a rushed process, and it could only have ever had one logical, predetermined ending.
Tom Cole: (00:54)
Throughout it all, the majority trampled on minority rights. They refused to call witnesses with relevant first-hand knowledge. They relied on hearsay news reports to make their case. They denied Republicans the right to hold a minority hearing day. And they refused the president of the United States his due process rights in the committee that was actually conducting the impeachment process and investigating him. And in the end, what was the result? Articles of impeachment based on an event that never happened. A purported quid pro quo that did not exist. Aid that was allegedly withheld that in reality was never withheld at all. And a narrative of intent-based on nothing more than fantasy.
Tom Cole: (01:42)
Madam Speaker, we deserve better than this. Impeachment is the most consequential act the House of Representatives can undertake. It must not and cannot be based on a flawed process. It cannot come at the expense of minority rights or due process to the accused. It cannot be based on a vendetta against the president that the majority has pursued since the day it was elected. And it cannot be based on nothing more than spin and hearsay. I oppose this rule and I oppose the flawed and unfair process.
Tom Cole: (02:23)
Madam Speaker, it’s a very solemn vote that all of us will cast. I want to end by number one thanking my good friend, the chairman of the Rules Committee for conducting the kind of hearing he conducted yesterday. But I also want to underscore again, we are very violently opposed to the process, very strongly opposed to the rule, think this is a charade and been very unfair. So Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote no on the previous question, no on the rule, no on the underlying measure, and I yield back the balance of my time.
Tim Cole: (00:00)
Madam Speaker. I thank my good friend, the gentleman from Massachusetts, Chairman McGovern for yielding me the customary 30 minutes. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker: (00:10)
Gentlemen is recognized.
Tim Cole: (00:11)
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Well, Madam speaker today is a very sad day for all of us. For me personally, for the Rules Committee, the entire House of Representatives, and most importantly for the American people. For the second time in my life, the House of Representatives will be voting to impeach a President of the United States. But unlike in 1998, the decision to have this vote is not the result of a bipartisan process, nor an open or fair process. Instead, it’s going to be a deeply partisan vote coming at the end of an unfair and rushed process prescribed solely by Democrats to ensure a predetermined result. Impeachment of a president is one of the most consequential acts the House of Representatives can undertake, and it should only be done after the fullest and most careful consideration.
Tim Cole: (01:03)
Yet today, after a truncated investigation that denied the president due process, cherry-picked evidence and witness testimony to fit their narrative and trampled on Republican’s minority rights. Democrats in the House are pressing forward with a partisan impeachment vote. Doing so contradicts Speaker Pelosi’s own words back in March of this year when she said that, “An impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bi-partisan, I don’t think we should go down that path because it divides the country.” But if we’re really being honest, Democrats have been searching for a reason to impeach President Trump since the day he was elected. In December of 2017, a current member of the majority forced to vote to impeach the President. And even then, long before there was an even an impeachment investigation, 58 Democrats voted to impeach the President. And those members have only grown since then, to the point where the majority is now pushing forward with a final vote on impeachment, heedless of where it takes the country, and regardless of whether or not they’ve proven their case.
Tim Cole: (02:20)
And if my colleagues in the majority believe they have proven their case, let me be clear, they have not. The entire premise of these articles of impeachment rests on a pause placed on Ukrainian security assistant. A pause of 55 days. The majority has spun creative narratives as to the meaning and the motive of this pause, alleging the President demanded a “quid pro quo.” But with no factual evidence to back it up. Security aid to Ukraine was released. The administration did so without the Ukraine ever initiating an investigation into anyone or anything. It’s even more startling to me that the majority wants to move forward with this resolution, given how substantially flawed and procedurally defective the entire process has been. The Judiciary Committee, which drafted these articles of impeachment engaged in an abbreviated process, hearing from no witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the events in question.
Tim Cole: (03:28)
They did not conduct their own investigation, and only held two hearings on this topic before drafting the articles. One was staff and one with constitutional law scholars. That’s hardly the type of lengthy and serious consideration a topic as grave as impeachment demands. The committee actually charged with an impeachment investigation was the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, not the Judiciary Committee. But that committee, too, follow a primarily closed process. Republicans were denied the right to call witnesses or subpoena documents, and the President was denied the right to representation in the committee’s hearings. Without respecting minority rights and without respecting due process rights of the President, how can anyone consider this a fair process? Madam Speaker, it gets worse. The articles of impeachment we are considering today are based on the Shift Report, the final document produced by the Intelligence Committee and transmitted to the Judiciary Committee.
Tim Cole: (04:34)
But the shift report includes unsubstantiated allegations. It includes, in some cases, news reports as the only evidence supporting so-called factual assertions, and it includes at least 54 different hearsay statements as assertions of evidence without any first-hand information from witnesses to corroborate those statements. The author of the report, Chairman Schiff, was never questioned by the Judiciary Committee, and he refused to sit for questions or to explain how his committee conducted its investigation. In fact, during the staff presentation of evidence that the Judiciary Committee, ranking member Collins asked how the investigation was conducted that resulted in the drafting of the Shift Report. But he never received an answer. During the Rules Committee, consideration of House Resolution 755, there were numerous times when the members on both sides of the aisle posed questions to our witnesses. Questions they could not answer because they sit on the Judiciary Committee, and were not the author of the report that brought about H Res 755.
Tim Cole: (05:44)
The author has never appeared before members of the minority to explain a single thing in the report or to provide factual information supporting the many assertions it contains. Madam Speaker, this is no way to go about impeaching the President of the United States. The articles before us are based on very limited information. They are based on hearsay, on news reports, and on other unsupported allegations. They’re based on a report written by a member of Congress who refused to answer questions about it. And I do not believe the allegations, which are subject to interpretation, actually rise to the level of an impeachable offence. To make matters worse, when Republicans attempted to exercise one of their rights under House rules, they were shut down by Chairman Nadler under clause 2-J-1 of Rule 11, the minority is allowed to demand a minority hearing day. On December 4th, the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee properly exercised that right and transmitted a demand to Chairman Nadler for a hearing day, at which the minority could call their own witnesses.
Tim Cole: (06:59)
And to be clear, Madam Speaker, a minority hearing day is not subject to the Chair’s discretion. It is a right, and Republicans on the Judiciary Committee properly demanded the exercise of that right. And yet, Chairman Nadler declined to allow a minority hearing day to be held before the voting of these articles. I think we can all agree that it would have been better for the institution and for the American people to allow all voices to be heard, and all witnesses to be questioned. Before 60, the resolution setting up the official impeachment inquiry, less than two months ago, I warned that house that what the majority was doing was setting up a closed, unfair process that could only have one outcome. And today, we’re seeing the end result of this closed and unfair process. A quick rush to judgment forced through, not one, but two committees in short order with minority rights trampled, witnesses left unquestioned, and due process ignored.
Tim Cole: (08:04)
It is also disappointing that members are not being given more time to debate this issue on the floor. Last night at Rules Committee, I offered an amendment to double the amount of floor time debate, from six to 12 hours. This would have allowed for roughly the same amount of debate time used in the Clinton impeachment, and it would have ensured that all members could have the opportunity to speak on the floor.
Tim Cole: (08:29)
Unfortunately, that amendment was not accepted. While I know my friend Chairman McGovern did the best he could. I do think it’s ironic that when all is said and done, the 13 members of the Rules Committee spent more time discussing H Res 755 in committee yesterday, then we will spend debating it on the House floor for every member today. I think that’s a disservice to the members of this body, and to the American people.
Tim Cole: (08:59)
Madam Speaker, we deserve better than a flawed process that led to this flawed outcome. The House of Representatives deserves better than that. The President certainly deserves better than that. More importantly, the American people deserve better than what we’re doing here today. I oppose proceeding any further. I oppose the rule. I oppose this limited and unfair process, and I certainly oppose impeaching the President of the United States. With that, I urge opposition to the rule, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Impeachment Rules & Vote Process
Diana DeGette: (00:00)
The question is on order in the previous question on the resolution. All in favor say aye.
Diana DeGette: (00:06)
Diana DeGette: (00:08)
In the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. Gentleman from Oklahoma.
Speaker 1: (00:12)
Thank you, Madam Speaker. On that, I would request the yeas and nays.
Diana DeGette: (00:15)
The yeas and nays are requested. Those favouring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. A sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. Members will record their votes by electronic device. Pursuant to clause nine of rule 20, the chair will reduce to five minutes the minimum time for any electronic vote on the question of adoption of the resolution. This will be a 15-minute vote. (silence)
Speaker 2: (27:32)
(silence) On this vote. The yeas are 229, the nays are 197. The previous question is ordered. The question is on adoption of the resolution. All in favour say aye.
Speaker 3: (27:44)
Speaker 2: (27:46)
Speaker 3: (27:46)
Speaker 2: (27:48)
In the opinion of the Chair the no’s have it. Gentleman from [inaudible 00:00:27:51].
Rep. Tom Cole: (27:51)
Madame. Madame Speaker.
Speaker 2: (27:54)
Gentleman requests a recorded vote. Those favouring a recorded vote will rise. A sufficient number having risen, a recorded vote is order. Members will record their votes by electronic device. This will be a five-minute vote.
Speaker 2: (28:09)
Speaker 3: (35:57)
On this vote, the yeas are 228, the yeas are 197. The resolution is adopted and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
Continued Statements by Representatives
Ben Ray Lujan: (00:00)
Madame Speaker. No one came to Congress to impeach a president. We came here to solve the mighty issues that impact the lives of the constituents we pledge to serve. I’m here because too many families in my district still rely on water trucked in from dozens of miles away. I’m here because too many New Mexican children still go to school hungry. I’m here because too many women in New Mexico drive for hours to find a doctor able to care for them. But this moment has found us. We have reached a point in time where our love of country compels action, where our duty to this Republic mandates that we do what’s right. The president’s behaviour is so blatantly wrong that ignoring his abuses of power would be abdicating the oath we made to protect this country and uphold our constitution. Thank you. And I yield back.
Rep. Kennedy: (00:01)
Dear Ellie and James, this is a moment that you will read about in your history books. Today, I will vote to impeach the President of the United States, and I want you to know why. He broke our laws. He threatened our security. He abused the highest, most sacred office in our land. I want you to know that it does not feel good. I can’t stop thinking about the cost to our country, not just the impeachable offences, but the collateral damage of a president who uses power like a weapon against his own people, our roads, our decency, degrades our dignity.
Rep. Kennedy: (00:53)
I don’t yet know how they will tell the story of this era, but I want to tell you this story of this day. Let the record show that today, justice won, that we did our job, that we kept our word, that we stood our sacred ground. Let the record show that we did not let you down. I love you. Listen to mom-
Speaker 3: (01:17)
Gentleman’s time has expired.
Rep. Kennedy: (01:17)
I’ll be home soon.
Chris Stewart: (00:01)
I discovered something recently. It’s shocking, I know. But it turns out that some people don’t like President Trump. They think he’s loud. They think he can be arrogant. They think sometimes he says bad words and sometimes he’s rude to people. And to their sensitive natures, they’ve been offended. I get that. I really do. But let’s be clear. This vote, this day has nothing to do with Ukraine. It has nothing to do with abuse of power. It has nothing to do with obstruction of Congress. This vote, this day is about one thing and one thing only. They hate this president. They hate those of us who voted for him. They think we’re stupid. They think we made a mistake. They think Hillary Clinton should be the president and they want to fix that. That’s what this vote is about. They want to take away my vote and throw it in the trash. They want to take away my president and delegitimized him so that he can not be reelected. That’s what this vote is about.
Chris Stewart: (01:03)
And for those who think this started with this investigation, what nonsense. You’ve been trying to impeach this president since before he was sworn into office. Some of you introduced articles of impeachment before he was sworn into office. This isn’t something you’re approaching prayerfully and mournfully and sadly. “Oh, the chaos. Oh, the sadness.” This is something you’re gleeful about, and you’ve been trying to do it for three years, and it’s very clear. You don’t have to go back and Google very much to find out that is the absolute truth. I could give you pages of examples of things you have said for three years about this president. That’s what this is about.
Chris Stewart: (01:52)
And if you think… if this impeachment is successful, the next president, I promise you, is going to be impeached and the next president after that. If you set this bar as being impeachable, every president in our future will be impeached. It erodes our republic in ways that our founding fathers recognize. They got it right. High crimes and misdemeanours, other than that, settle it at the ballot box. I look forward to that day.
Speaker 2: (02:16)
Gentleman’s time’s expired.
Chris Stewart: (02:17)
Let the American people decide.
Speaker 2: (02:19)
Members are reminded to direct their comments to the chair. Gentlemen from New York.
Chris Stewart: (02:23)
Reserve. Madam Speaker, I would remind the gentlemen that if President Trump is impeached and removed, the new president will be Mike Pence, not Hillary Clinton.
Carol Miller: (00:00)
Thank you, Mister Speaker. I rise in opposition of H.R.755. Today is a disappointing day. It is the day my colleagues from across the aisle cast the vote that they have spent the last three years obsessing over. The vote to impeach our duly elected president. There are two charges claimed by House Democrats and there is zero cause for either. While President Trump has led, our country has thrived and Washington Liberals have failed. Despite the commitment of many of our colleagues to obstruct the Trump Administration’s agenda at every turn, our country continues to succeed.
Carol Miller: (00:43)
In this body, however, we have not been able to deliver on what Americans want and need. We still have not finished securing our border. The opioid epidemic still rages in our communities. Our infrastructure is still in dire need of an overhaul and we still have not reached a bipartisan resolution on drug pricing.
Carol Miller: (01:07)
If Congress hadn’t spent the last year stuck in a divisive, ugly, partisan impeachment debacle, think of what we could have done. The lives that could have been saved, the communities that could’ve been improved, the crisis on our southern border ended and the positive work that we should do for our country, but we didn’t. All because of divisive, political, theatrics. Congress can do better than this and America deserved better. I yield back my time.
Rep. Ted Lieu: (00:00)
Thank you, Chairman Nadler, for your leadership. Let’s start by making this very simple, no one in America could do what Donald Trump did and get away with it. No American elected official can call up a foreign government and ask for an investigation of a political opponent. No member of Congress can call up a foreign official and ask for help in our reelection campaign. If we did that, we would likely get indicted. No one is above the law and the Constitution, the supreme law of the land.
Rep. Ted Lieu: (00:31)
I first swore an oath to the constitution when I joined the United States Air Force on active duty and the oath I took was not to a political party or to a president or to a king. It was to a document that has made America the greatest nation on earth and that document contains a safeguard for when the President’s abuse of power is so extreme that it warrants impeachment.
Rep. Ted Lieu: (00:54)
We are not here because of policy disputes. While I disagree with the President, I acknowledge he has a right to restrict the number of refugees entering our country. He has a right to eliminate environmental executive orders. He has a right to sign a bill that has given tax breaks to the wealthy. But the President does not have the right to cheat and to solicit foreign interference in our elections. That is illegal. It is not what the voters elected him to do and we will not stand for it. The President’s actions, in this case, were particularly insidious because he also used our government for his private gain. He conditioned taxpayer-funded military aid and a critical White House meeting with the Ukrainian President on the requirement that Ukraine publicly announce an investigation into his opponent. And by harming Ukrainian national security, the President also harmed US national security.
Rep. Ted Lieu: (01:46)
And then the President solicited foreign interference again on the South Lawn of the White House when he again asked Ukraine to investigate his political opponent and then he asked China, our peer competitor, to do the same. That abuse of power is not acceptable. Whether or not the Senate convicts, the House as an independent duty to do the right thing. That’s why we have passed over 275 bipartisan bills that are stuck in the Senate. Whether impeaching or legislating, we will continue to be faithful to the Constitution regardless of what the Senate may or may not do.
Rep. Ted Lieu: (02:21)
Moreover, impeachment is a form of deterrence. Our children are watching. No President ever wants to be impeached. And whether Donald Trump leaves in one month, one year or five years, this impeachment is permanent. It will follow him around for the rest of his life and history books will record it. And if people will know why we impeached, it’s all very simple, no one’s above the law, not our Commander in Chief, not our President. I yield back.
Sheila J.L. : (00:00)
I hate no woman or man. Today, the American people should receive clarity and truth. The Constitution is the highest law of the land. The president breached and violated the Constitution of the United States of America. The president committed constitutional crimes. The president’s crimes are impeachable.
Sheila J.L. : (00:25)
John F. Kennedy said, “If this country should ever reach the point where any man or group of men, by force or threat of force, could defy the commands of our court and Constitution, then no law would stand free from doubt, and no citizen would be safe from his neighbours.”
Sheila J.L. : (00:43)
The facts are undisputed. First, President Trump violated his oath of office by placing his personal political interests above the national interest by scheming to coerce Ukraine into investigating a potential election opponent. Second, President Trump betrayed the nation by interest, by withholding the congressionally-agreed $391 million to a fragile ally against a very strong foe, Russia. Third, the essential purpose of the scheme concocted by the president was to enlist a foreign country to help in the 2020 election. These acts are constitutional crimes and abuse of power. The truth is the president did ask for a favour. Those were his own words.
Sheila J.L. : (01:26)
In the July 25th call, no mention of corruption, only the mention of the Bidens. The president was engaged in wrongdoing, and it’s a clear and present danger. He has a pattern, and his behaviour remains a continuing threat to America’s national security. The truth is that abusive power does violate the Constitution. While both corrupting and cheating our American democracy, his acts betray the nation.
Sheila J.L. : (01:51)
He must take care to execute laws faithfully. This is the truth. Why does the truth matter? Because it matters to the farmer at his or her plough. It matters to the waitress on an early-morning shift. It matters to the steelworker building America. It matters to the teacher in a fifth-grade class. It matters to a mother kissing off her military recruit going off to war.
Sheila J.L. : (02:12)
The Constitution must be preserved. Our laws must be honoured and respected. The bloodshed and sacrifice of fellow Americans cannot be ignored, trampled on, or ejected. Today, our actions on the vote taken today must be for no personal gain or grandeur. The bright light of this constitutional democracy has been dimmed because of his acts. The truth is no longer for all. It is for one man, Donald J. Trump, his truth, his way. We must reject that abuse of power because this is not America. No one is above the law. Alexander Hamilton said impeachment was designed to deal with-
Speaker 2: (02:49)
Gentlelady’s time’s expired.
Sheila J.L. : (02:49)
… the misconduct of public men and violation of public trust.
Speaker 2: (02:52)
Gentlelady’s time’s expired.
Sheila J.L. : (02:52)
The president has violated the trust. We must impeach-
Sheila J.L. : (02:56)
… Donald J. Trump.
Rep. Loudermilk: (00:01)
I think my colleague from Georgia and friend, Mr Collins. Madam Speaker, I rise today in opposition not only to these articles of impeachment but in strong opposition to the process that has brought us to this point. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are all about process. Our founders knew that a government without constraints could accuse anyone of any crime at any time even without compelling evidence. That’s why the 5th and the 14th Amendments established a bedrock principle of innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But on November the 14th Speaker Pelosi informed the press that the president should prove his innocence when she stated, “Mr President, if you have anything that shows your innocence, then he should make that known.”
Rep. Loudermilk: (00:42)
The Constitution also guarantees that the accused can call witnesses to testify on their behalf, but the Republicans and the president were continually denied that right throughout this process. The 6th Amendment guarantees the right of the defendant to face their accuser, but not only have the Democrats prohibited Republicans and the president from questioning the so-called whistleblower, his identity has been kept secret. Before you take this historic vote today, one week before Christmas, I want you to keep this in mind. When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face His accusers. During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded this president in this process. I yield back.