Dec 13, 2019 - Politics & Policy

House Judiciary pushes impeachment vote to Friday after marathon hearing

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) (C) speaks as ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) (R) listens

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (center) and ranking member Doug Collins (right) during a committee markup hearing on articles of impeachment against President Trump. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Getty Images

After a grueling 14-plus-hour day debating the two articles of impeachment against President Trump with no meaningful outcome, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler abruptly called a recess at 11:12 p.m. ET Thursday.

What's next: Members of the committee, their staffs and congressional reporters will return to the Hill at 10 a.m. Friday for a final committee vote to determine whether Trump abused his power and obstructed congressional authority.

Behind the scenes: Republicans were not originally planning to drag the hearing on until nearly midnight. But once they realized they were going to miss Thursday's White House Congressional Ball, they powered on and reframed their messaging to convey they were willing to work overtime to defend the president, sources familiar with their strategy tell Axios.

  • GOP members were infuriated when, seemingly approaching the end of the hearing, Nadler announced he was recessing the committee until Friday morning.
  • Ranking member Doug Collins shot out of his chair and accused Nadler of postponing the vote so it would receive better media coverage.
  • "The chairman just ambushed the entire committee," Collins yelled. "Crap like this, this is why people have such a terrible view of Congress."
  • Nadler, however, said he was calling the break because it had been "a long two days of consideration of these articles, and it is now very late at night." His staff told reporters that he had no idea how many more amendments Republicans were planning to call.

Amendments to the articles: After several hours of debate about altering the articles, each of the five amendments introduced by Republicans was voted down by the committee.

  • The only change that passed via a verbal vote in the committee was the substitution of "Donald John Trump" instead of "Donald J. Trump."

Inside the hearing room: Members began the day energized and ready for battle. But as the hours wore on, and evening holiday parties passed, their patience wore thinner and their exhaustion became visibly overwhelming.

  • At 9 p.m. ET Thursday, more than 12 hours after the chairman gaveled in the second day of the impeachment markup, Nadler finally called a 30-minute recess, the first break in the day apart from a midday pause for House votes.
  • Tired members and staff flowed out of the room to quickly scarf down pizza (for the GOP members) and BBQ (for the Democrats), while reporters huddled in the halls eating late-night snacks (tacos for the TV reporters).

Go deeper: Read the articles of impeachment against Trump

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