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Impeachment Briefing: Late-Night Vote Is Postponed

Impeachment Briefing: Late-Night Vote Is Postponed

14:06 - After more than a dozen hours of debate, the House Judiciary Committee delayed an expected vote on impeachment articles against President Trump.

What happened

  • After more than 12 hours of deliberation, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee abruptly postponed a vote to approve two impeachment articles against President Trump. The committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday.

  • The Judiciary Committee spent the day proposing and debating changes to the articles that Democrats introduced on Tuesday. Republicans asked for a number of amendments, in an attempt to both delay the articles’ approval and muster a fight against Democrats, though they were all voted down.

Why the meeting ran so long

The seemingly endless back-and-forth between members of the House Judiciary Committee was far from spontaneous — House rules outline how impeachment markups function, even as they allow for resolutions adding to those rules.

I asked my colleague Carl Hulse, who has now covered two presidential impeachment inquiries, why those rules exist.

Carl, there was so much talking! What explains this daylong markup extravaganza?

For an event this big, members of Congress believe that every one of them should have a chance to make their points several times over. They’re allowed to speak at length because the leadership doesn’t want people to feel like they weren’t given adequate opportunity. People think this is crazy, and want it over in a second, with our demand for instant gratification. But there is a process that has to be followed to make an impeachment legitimate.

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What is it about congressional culture that dictates a meeting like this?

There are a lot of musty, dusty rules up there. There’s even a committee in the House specifically devoted to designating and drawing up the rules. There’s a long history of how these things are done. If this was a markup about a bill, it would seem interminable, too. This isn’t out of the ordinary in any way. This is how business is done. They really do go line by line. But it just so happens that this is for impeachment.

This was much more for the members than the public. This was for them to all get their moment in the sun. At the same time, they think there’s a real public process here, and they want to have their chance to influence it. It’s a big committee full of members who like to talk. They’re not the types to say, “I’ve said enough today.”

 

How Republicans tried to change the articles

While Democrats hewed closely to the language they had written for the draft articles, Republicans asked for several changes. Here’s a sampling of what they requested.

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