House lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee clashed in prime time Wednesday night over the propriety of President Trump’s conduct in Ukraine, highlighting the deep gulf between the parties a day before the panel is poised to pass a pair of resolutions to impeach him.
The historic launch of the two-day markup of impeachment articles – while rife with partisan finger-pointing – was also uniquely disciplined; lawmakers from both parties largely shed the impromptu barbs that had marked earlier hearings and instead moved swiftly through prepared statements invoking the Constitution, the Bible and the founding fathers to advance their conflicting arguments over the gravity of Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukrainian leaders.
The rapid back-and forth carried the tone of closing arguments, as Democrats sought to portray Trump as a lawless figure who abused his power for personal political gain — a breach of the Constitution demanding a congressional response.
“One indisputable truth has emerged: If we do not respond to President Trump’s abuses, the abuses will continue,” Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said at the start of the hearing, which was held in the House Ways and Means Committee room. “If our elections are corrupt, everything is corrupt.”