(WASHINGTON) — The House Judiciary Committee on Friday morning was set to vote on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, before sending them to the full House for historic final votes next week.The committee is meeting after some 14 hours of bitter debate over the wording of the charges of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” on Thursday — that ended in a surprise announcement from Democratic Chairman Jerry Nadler that the final voting would be delayed until Friday at 10 a.m.That triggered fury from Republicans who complained that Democrats were doing so to get better ratings during the daytime than voting late at night. Democrats said they wanted to make sure the American public could witness the vote and the reasons members gave, and said, if they didn’t, Republicans would accuse them of taking an impeachment vote in the dead of night.Democrats argue the president abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his leading political opponents, for his personal benefit, by withholding obsessionally-approved military aid, and then blocking Congress’ efforts to probe what happened. They say he violated the Constitution and, if left unchecked, would have the power of a dictator, and that his efforts pose a “clear and present danger” to the 2020 election.Republicans argue the articles don’t accuse the president of a specific crime, that the abuse of power charge is vague and nothing more than a dispute over policy, and that Democrats are motivated by a simple dislike of Trump and a long-standing desire to overturn the results of the 2016 election.Here is how the hearing is unforlding:
9:45 a.m.Members and staff are beginning to gather in the hearing room after the long and rancorous day Thursday.Earlier Friday morning, Trump tweeted his praise for the Republican committee members who argued in his defense.”The Republicans House members were fantastic yesterday. It always helps to have a much better case, in fact the Dems have no case at all, but the unity & sheer brilliance of these Republican warriors, all of them, was a beautiful sight to see. Dems had no answers and wanted out!” the president tweeted.In an interview on Fox News Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the articles “pretty weak stuff” and predicted a Senate trial beginning in early January would be over quickly. He said he was in “total coordination” with the White House about how the trial would be handled. Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.