US & Canada

Trump impeachment: House committee vote postponed after marathon debate

President Donald Trump Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Donald Trump is likely to become the third president to be impeached

The US House Judiciary Committee is due to vote on two impeachment charges against President Donald Trump, a day later than expected.

Democratic committee head Jerry Nadler decided to delay the vote until Friday after two days of acrimonious debate.

Republicans attempted to stall the process, which they described as an illegitimate attack on Mr Trump.

The Democrat-run committee is expected to approve the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

A full vote by the Democratic-run House would then follow next week, with Mr Trump likely to become the third US president to be impeached.

But the Senate, controlled by the president's fellow Republicans, is not expected to remove him from office.

Mr Trump denies any wrongdoing and made clear his disapproval of the process again in a Friday morning tweet.

"All of our presidents would be impeached under this Rogue House of Democrat Leadership," he wrote.

Why was the vote delayed?

Mr Nadler said the vote would take place at 10:00 (15:00 GMT) on Friday. There are 41 members - 24 Democrats and 17 Republicans - on the judiciary committee. They are expected to vote according to party affiliation.

Announcing the delay, Mr Nadler appealed to members of the committee to "search their conscience" when it came to the vote.

Image copyright Andrew Harrer - Pool/Getty Images
Image caption Ranking Republican Doug Collins (right) decried Mr Nadler's decision to delay as an ambush

The leader of the Republicans on the committee, Doug Collins, described the late-night decision to adjourn as an ambush designed to ensure maximum TV coverage.

"This committee is more concerned about getting on TV in the morning than it was finishing its job tonight and letting the members go home. Words cannot describe how inappropriate this was," he told reporters.

What do the articles of impeachment say?

Mr Trump is accused of trying to force Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into his political rival Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential contender, and of obstructing Congress by stonewalling the House investigation.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHow US law professors teach impeachment

Leading Democrats agreed the language across nine pages detailing the charges against the president, which say that Mr Trump "betrayed the nation" by acting "corruptly".

Democrats stepped back from including in the impeachment charges findings by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that Mr Trump might have obstructed the justice department's inquiry into alleged Russian election meddling.

The party's lawmakers from more conservative districts argued the focus should be limited to Ukraine.

What was said in the debate?

Thursday saw Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, attempt to have the first impeachment charge against Mr Trump removed. Mr Jordan's amendment was rejected after hours of debate on a 23-17, party-line vote.

"This notion of abuse of power is the lowest of low-energy impeachment theories," said Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and staunch defender of the president whose own proposed amendment was also defeated.

Democrat committee members rebuked Republicans for their fealty to Mr Trump.

"Is any one of my colleagues willing to say that it is ever OK for a president of the United States of America to invite foreign interference in our elections?" asked Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat.

What will happen next week in the House?

A handful of Democrats in swing districts remain unsure how they will vote on impeachment when it comes to next week's debate, but Democrats have a 36-seat lead over Republicans in the House so passage is still expected to go ahead.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday they would not whip the historic vote, allowing members to make their own personal choice.

What will happen in the Senate?

The Senate is expected to hold a trial next month on the charges and acquit the president. Republicans who hold sway in the chamber appear to favour a quick vote, limiting political fanfare.

Mr Trump has indicated he would like to see witnesses called such as Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who worked for a Ukrainian gas firm that the US president wanted investigated.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said on Wednesday no decision had yet been made over how to conduct the trial.

Analysts say the 100-seat chamber does not have the 67 votes needed to remove Mr Trump from office.

Learn more about the impeachment inquiry

More on this story