The full House of Representatives on Thursday began debating a resolution to authorize the ongoing impeachment inquiry ahead of a showdown vote later in the day, taking a pivotal new step in the process to investigate President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
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The vote is the first time members of the House will formally go on record to support or object to the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks on the floor of the House during the debate on the impeachment resolution, Oct. 31, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol.
Democrats have indicated they expect enough support to approve the resolution, even though most or all Republicans are expected to vote against it.
Here is how the debate is unfolding. Please refresh for updates.
Trump tweeted as the House headed to a final vote.
“The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!,” he tweeted.
ABC’s Jordyn Phelps reported that a senior administration official confirms that Republicans lawmakers will be heading to the White House following the final vote.
The House has begun to vote to end debate on the impeachment resolution, which will be followed by a vote on the resolution itself.
Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy questioned Pelosi’s focus on impeachment, saying the legacy of the Democrat-led House will be “more subpoenas than laws.”
“We are not working for the American people, those items would resemble the achievements of a productive Congress, a Congress that truly works for the people. But you know what this Congress counts? This Congress records more subpoenas than laws, that’s the legacy,” McCarthy said, mentioning that the agenda Thursday was impeachment and not the federal budget or other policy issues.
McCarthy also accused Democrats of making impeachment a focus in order to help defeat Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
“This impeachment is not only an attempt to undo the last election, it is an attempt to influence the next one as well,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the impeachment inquiry is part of Congress’ constitutional responsibility to hold the executive branch accountable.
“This Constitution is the blueprint for our republic—and not a monarchy. But when we have a president who says Article Two says I can do whatever I want, that is in defiance of the separation of powers. That’s not what the Constitution says,” Pelosi said in the well of the House.
“So, what is at stake is our democracy. What are we fighting for? Defending our Democracy for the people,” Pelosi said.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff defended the investigation being handled by his committee as well as the Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, saying the resolution would allow the public process many Republicans have been calling for.
“That work has necessarily occurred behind closed doors because we have had the task of finding the facts ourselves without the benefit of the investigation the Justice department declined to undertake. Despite attempts to obstruct we have interviewed numerous witnesses,” Schiff said.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff speaks on the floor of the House during the debate on the impeachment resolution, Oct. 31, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol.
“This resolution sets the stage for the next phase of our investigation, one in which the American people will have the opportunity to hear from witnesses firsthand. We will continue to conduct this inquiry with the seriousness of purpose that our task deserves because it is our duty and because no one is above the law,” he said.
But Democrats weren’t celebrating the step as they kicked off debate Thursday morning.
“This is a sad day for our country,” Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and chairman of the House Rules Committee, said.
(MORE: Showdown House vote on impeachment set for Thursday morning, Democrats confident)
“For all the disagreements I have with President Trump, for all his policies, his tweets, and his rhetoric that I deeply disagree with, I never wanted our country to reach this point. I do not take any pleasure for the need of this resolution,” he said. “We are not here in some partisan exercise. We are here because the facts compel us to be here. There is serious evidence that President Trump may have violated the Constitution.”
(MORE: Trump impeachment hearing: Here’s how the process works)
The White House and Republicans have demanded a formal vote to authorize the inquiry, calling the proceedings so far illegitimate even though congressional committees have the authority to subpoena witnesses and documents as part of an investigation.
But Republicans slammed the vote Thursday, saying they still see it as a partisan process and a “show trial” meant to attack the president.
This has been their plan from Day 1,” Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Devin Nunes said, condemning the Democrats’ “bizarre obsession with overturning the results of the last presidential election.”
“We now have a full-fledged impeachment committee in the basement of the Capitol,” Nunes said. “Think about that, America.”
Ranking Member on the Oversight Committee Rep. Jim Jordan repeated comments from some Republicans that the whistleblower whose complaint prompted the impeachment inquiry could have been politically motivated, saying “tying a ribbon on a sham process doesn’t make it any less of a sham.”
(MORE: The Pelosi-Trump standoff over a full House vote on an impeachment probe, explained)
The resolution being considered Thursday would authorize and lay out guidelines for the impeachment inquiry, including public hearings, but is not a vote on whether or not members think the president should be impeached.