WASHINGTON (CN) – With fury, recrimination, and ample amendments, House Republicans on Thursday aired grievances from morning through night for a second straight day on articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
After Republicans exhausted their attempted amendments, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler abruptly called for a recess shortly before midnight, portending a vote on the mostly unaltered articles for Friday morning at 10 a.m.
“It's a long step away from constitutional government and any control on power over the president and a long step toward tyranny,” Nadler declared of Trump’s refusal to cooperate with congressional oversight.
From the first gavel strike at 9 a.m. to the closing tap at 11:15 p.m., Republicans floated a variety of amendments to strike, dilute and delete the statutory language designed to drive Trump out of office. Even knowing they were outvoted, Republicans tried to clip both articles against Trump in their entirety and force every measure to a roll call to make sure those losing tallies were counted.
Nadler's decision to hold the vote on Friday morning appeared to blindside the Republican minority of the committee, leaving their ranks shouting comparisons to Stalinist Russia as a long day's journey drew to a combustible close.
No sooner had Nadler began the morning session of the 11-hour hearing than the committee’s top Republican, Representative Doug Collins, R-Ga., interjected with a point of order demanding a separate hearing airing the minority’s views.
Promptly rejecting the request, Nadler noted that such a hearing would have been unprecedented and did not feature in the impeachments of former President Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. Convening one during the heart of the impeachment process, Nadler said, would have enabled delay and obstruction by the Republicans.
Exasperated, Congressman Collins declared: “This committee has now sounded the death of minority rights.”
The remark bristled Representative Ted Deutch, who moved to strike the accusation as one unsupported by the House rules and history.
“Facts really do matter,” the Florida Democrat said.
Republicans continued to level procedural critiques on impeachment, from the closed-door testimony by fact witnesses in October to the fact that the House Intelligence Committee held hearings ahead of the Judiciary Committee. Now that the evidence is public and in the Judiciary Committee’s hands, Representative Joe Neguse called for the chamber to put the matter to rest.
“Let's dispense with the process arguments and get to the substance of why we are here today,” the Colorado Democrat chided his Republican colleagues, calling their objections baseless and irrelevant.
The opening statement Congressman Collins had delivered Wednesday circled around a theme of the “Big Lie,” evoking Adolf Hitler’s favored propaganda technique.
Inflammatory historical analogies did not cease Thursday morning as Representative Louis Gohmert declared: “This is a day that will live in infamy in this committee,” echoing Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s description of the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor.
Republican Representative Jim Jordan attempted to make an end-run around the entirety of the abuse of power article as the hearing got underway Thursday.