Dec 18, 2019

The highest drama comes home

Trump departs the White House for a “Merry Christmas” campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Here's a split screen for the ages: While House Democrats are impeaching President Trump, he'll be firing up supporters at an election rally in Michigan.

Why it matters: This is the perfect encapsulation of the impeachment process.

  • Some Democrats wore black today, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lamented Trump gave Democrats "no choice" but to impeach.
  • Trump watched the House proceedings on TV from his residence at the White House, sources told Axios’ Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene.
  • Trump this morning: "Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!"
  • New development: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats have approached him and Pelosi about delaying sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in an effort to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a more favorable Senate trial. 

Vice President Mike Pence jumped ahead to Michigan, bussing around the state, headlining a “Workers for Trump” and visiting a diner and a Christmas-themed shop where he was encircled by elves, Santas, snowmen and diehard supporters.

Photo: Jonathan Swan/Axios

The other side: Previewing one line you’ll hear a lot more from Team Trump, Pence said the only bipartisan vote you’ll see today is the vote against impeachment, Swan notes from Saginaw, Michigan.

  • "Speaker Pelosi said the House would not impeach unless it was 'compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan,'" House Republican Doug Collins said today in Washington.
  • "Well, it’s not bipartisan. It’s not compelling. It’s not overwhelming."
  • Reality check: No Republicans will vote for impeachment. Several Democrats are expected to vote against at least one article of impeachment.

Between the lines: Some centrist Democrats have expressed frustration that Pelosi hasn't provided more support.

  • "There's been no guidance from the Speaker. We're getting all these ads run against us and there's no backup. So where are the ads? We’re getting pummeled with ads. So I’m curious, where the hell is the cavalry?" a Democratic congressman from a Trump-won district told Alayna.
  • Worth noting: The progressive nonprofit House Majority Forward announced a $2.5 million ad buy last Friday thanking vulnerable Democrats for supporting a bill designed to lower prescription drug prices.

The bottom line: There's some irony in Pelosi impeaching Trump.

  • Video emerged today of Trump telling Wolf Blitzer in 2008 that it'd have been "wonderful" if Pelosi and Democrats impeached George W. Bush.

Go deeper:

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Trump impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump is now the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

The big picture: The legislative ending seems clear — he's headed for acquittal in the Senate as early as next month and won't be removed from office. But this seals his place in history.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 19, 2019

Trump rallies Michigan supporters minutes into his impeachment

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump called his impeachment a "political suicide march for the Democratic Party" as the House of Representatives cast two fateful votes Wednesday night.

The big picture: Trump became America's third president to be impeached after the House voted on charges of abuse of power and obstruction. But supporters remained unfazed at a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, showing up through slushy snow wearing MAGA hats and "deplorables" gear to get a look at the president.

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019

Read Rep. Doug Collins' opening statement in the impeachment debate

Photo: Patrick Semansky/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

House Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) accused Democrats of running a "sham investigation" in the opening moments of the House's formal debate on impeachment Wednesday, claiming President Trump committed "no crimes" and that the facts do not support the case against him.

Why it matters: It's inevitable that the House will approve articles of impeachment at the conclusion of the debate, but Collins could be selected to defend the president in the Senate's impeachment trial. His opening statement provides a window into the defense that Republicans have mounted.

Go deeperArrowDec 18, 2019