House to vote Wednesday on sending impeachment articles to Senate
US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi delivers remarks at a press conference held with House Democrats ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the US Supreme Court's landmark ruling in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case on Capitol Hill in Washington on 14 January 2020. EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (C) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (R) leave a House Democratic Caucus meeting in the US Capitol in Washington on 14 January 2020. EFE/EPA/SHAWN THEW
US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi delivers remarks at a press conference held with House Democrats ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the US Supreme Court's landmark ruling in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case on Capitol Hill in Washington, 14 January 2020. EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
Washington, Jan 14 (efe-epa).- The US House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday to select the lawmakers who will act as the "managers" of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial and will send the articles of impeachment to the Senate to start the process, US media outlets reported on Tuesday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, communicated her decision at a meeting with lawmakers from her party on Tuesday.
The two impeachment articles to be forwarded to the Senate - one for abuse of office and the other for obstructing Congress - both stem from Trump's alleged attempt to pressure Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation of his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, currently one of the main candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2020 election.
Democrats in the House will name the "managers of impeachment," who will act as prosecutors in the Senate trial.
The House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, on Dec. 18 approved the two charges against Trump, thus giving the green light to his trial in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority.
Since then, Pelosi has been holding back on sending the articles to the Senate because she wanted Republicans there to guarantee that they would allow new witnesses to be called in the trial, including some of the president's key advisers such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton and current Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
That, however, is something that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has consistently refused to countenance, saying that no witnesses are necessary and he intends to get any trial over with quickly and acquit the president.
With or without witnesses, it will be very difficult for Democrats to convict Trump on either of the dual charges, given that a two-thirds majority in the Senate would be required to remove him from office and it is extraordinarily unlikely that enough GOP lawmakers would break ranks to vote to oust him.
Trump is only the third president in history to be impeached after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998-99, both of whom were acquitted.
The case against Trump unfolded after a complaint by a whistleblower from the intelligence community regarding a telephone call in July 2019 between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the US leader - in exchange for releasing some $400 million in military aid to Ukraine and setting up a coveted White House meeting for Zelensky - pressured the Ukrainian to investigate Biden for corruption although no evidence seems to exist on that score.
Trump, however, has consistently claimed that he did nothing wrong and virtually all Republican lawmakers have toed the party line that insufficient evidence of wrongdoing to justify impeachment and removal from office was gathered by House Democrats in their impeachment investigation.
Meanwhile, Trump prohibited administration officials who have inside knowledge of the activities and motivations surrounding the phone call with Zelensky from testifying before the House and also denied Democrats access to documents that might shed light on the matter, and this stonewalling resulted in the passage of the impeachment article regarding obstruction of Congress in its oversight responsibility.