Republicans Slam Abrupt Delay of Impeachment Vote

Nadler unexpectedly called recess until Friday
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2019 1:31 AM CST
Updated Dec 13, 2019 6:52 AM CST
Judiciary Committee Abruptly Delays Impeachment Vote
Committee members work into the late evening during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Trump, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.   (Andrew Harrer/Pool via AP)

After a marathon 14-hour debate on articles of impeachment against President Trump Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler surprised Republicans by abruptly calling a recess. The Democrat said a vote on the articles of impeachment will now take place after the committee reconvenes at 10am Friday, the Hill reports. "It has been a long two days of consideration of these articles, and it is now very late at night," Nadler said at 11:15pm. "I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days and to search their consciences before we cast our final votes." More:

  • Ranking Republican stunned. The ranking Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins, said he had been expecting a vote before midnight and he had not been consulted on the delay. "That was the most egregious violation of trust between a committee chairman and ranking member I think I’ve ever seen," he said, accusing Nadler of "ambushing" lawmakers who had expected to leave town for the weekend early Friday.

  • Articles close to approval. Before the recess was called, the committee was poised to approve, with a vote along party lines, an article of impeachment accusing Trump of abusing his power, the New York Times reports. "Ample facts demonstrate that President Trump put his personal interests above the country, its citizens and the Constitution," Nadler said. "This is the highest of constitutional crimes: abuse of power." The committee was also expected to approve an article of impeachment accusing Trump of obstructing Congress.
  • Democrats defend delay. Democrats defended the delay to the vote after Republicans accused them of pulling a stunt to get more time on TV. "We weren't sure if they had more amendments, they wouldn't tell us that," said Rep. Madeleine Dean. "And what the chairman's spirit was: we want to make sure we do this in the light of day. We don't want to vote on such an important article, or articles, that matter to the American people ... in the late of night."
  • A clash over Hunter Biden. Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz was chastised by Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson after bringing up Hunter Biden's substance abuse issues, Politico reports. In one of numerous amendments proposed by Republicans, Gaetz sought to replace Joe Biden's name with that of his son in one of the articles of impeachment and mentioned a report that a crack pipe had been found in a car Hunter Biden rented. In a reference to to Gaetz's 2008 arrest on suspicion of DUI, Johnson said: "I would say that the pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do."
  • An "institutional embarrassment." As the highly partisan hearing, which included numerous shouting matches, reached its 12th hour, one lawmaker called it an "institutional embarrassment" and urged his fellow Republicans to move on, the Washington Post reports. "I have not heard a new point or an original thought from either side in the last three hours," Rep. Tom McClintock said .
(More Trump impeachment stories.)

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