Zoe Rothchild, in the foreground, holds a sign stating the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as others demonstrate during a “Nobody’s Above the Law” rally on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at Vashon Highway and Bank Road. The demonstration was held one day before the House of Representatives was expected to impeach the president. (Kevin Opsahl/Staff Photo)

Zoe Rothchild, in the foreground, holds a sign stating the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as others demonstrate during a “Nobody’s Above the Law” rally on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at Vashon Highway and Bank Road. The demonstration was held one day before the House of Representatives was expected to impeach the president. (Kevin Opsahl/Staff Photo)

What to watch as Trump impeachment moves to House floor

The nation’s 45th president is on track to become only the third commander in chief to be impeached

American history is happening in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrats are driving President Donald Trump to the brink of impeachment Wednesday as the House takes up charges Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress in pressuring Ukraine to investigate political rivals and refusing to co-operate with the ensuing congressional probe.

The nation’s 45th president is on track to become only the third commander in chief to be impeached.

But first, watch for a daylong showdown that’s been boiling for years between Republicans loyal to Trump and Democrats who say his conduct toward Ukraine makes him unfit for office. Look, too, for legacy moments for Washington’s political veterans on the eve of the 2020 election year.

What to watch during a historic day on Capitol Hill that is expected to end with a final vote Wednesday evening:

Spoiler alert

Trump is heading for impeachment. When the House opens debate, the outcome will have been known for some time.

A tally compiled by The Associated Press found that a majority of House members have said they will vote to approve the charges and send them to the Senate for a trial next month.

The GOP-led Senate is not expected to convict and remove Trump from office.

ALSO READ: House gets two Trump impeachment charges after Judiciary vote

Partisans, mostly

Expect most Democrats to vote for impeachment and all Republicans to vote against it.

But there are exceptions.

One freshman Democrat, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, has indicated he will oppose impeachment, then switch parties to become a Republican. Earlier this year, Michigan conservative Rep. Justin Amash left the GOP when he favoured impeachment. He is expected to vote yes to impeach.

One new Democratic congressman, Jared Golden of Maine, said he would vote to impeach on abuse of power but not obstruction.

Americans

Expect the House to take the nation’s us-vs-them political culture out for a spin before a global audience. But it’s not clear the proceedings are changing many minds.

Trump’s approval ratings have held steady since a whistleblower report and a partial transcript revealed he had pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Democrats.

Wide shares of Democrats both disapprove of the president and support impeachment, while wide shares of Republicans approve of Trump and want him to remain in office.

New polls from The Washington Post/ABC News and CNN find support for impeachment and removal remains at about half of Americans.

‘Profound grace’

Impeachment will subject Trump to what former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter called a “profound disgrace” that stains a president’s legacy forever. Only two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

Richard Nixon chose to resign instead.

Trump has mocked the articles of impeachment as weak.

Trump’s day

He’s heading to Michigan, the Democratic state he flipped in 2016. Vice-President Mike Pence is on a bus tour across the state and expected to join Trump at the rally in Battle Creek.

On the eve of the floor action, Trump gave a nearly six-page preview of his approach in a rambling letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. in which he cast himself as a victim and accused the Democrats of smarting over their election losses. “You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish, personal political and partisan gain.”

Pelosi

It’s legacy time for her, too.

In her second turn as speaker, the House veteran of more than three decades says relentlessly that impeachment is a sombre time, not one for celebration. She says the Clinton impeachment proceedings were too divisive for the county and resisted opening impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush after the Iraq War.

She refused to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump over his obstruction of the Russia investigation, saying she’d be against doing so unless there was bipartisan sentiment for it.

That still doesn’t exist for the impeachment articles now headed for passage. But Pelosi has said Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine, while holding up military aid to that country, left her no choice.

“Very sadly, the facts have made clear that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit and that he obstructed Congress,” Pelosi wrote to colleagues. “In America, no one is above the law.”

Next stop: Senate

After votes on each of the two amendments, the House is expected to authorize Pelosi to name a team of prosecutors for the Senate trial. Lobbying for the jobs is well underway. The wagering begins with the two lead House impeachment chairmen, Adam Schiff of Intelligence and Jerrold Nadler of Judiciary, playing roles.

The trial is expected to begin in January, with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have begun negotiating, and sniping, over how the trial will be conducted.

McConnell set the partisan tone by declaring that he’s “not an impartial juror.”

Laurie Kellman, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Commercial Street and other areas of Nanaimo’s downtown are now part of a new business improvement area following a petition-against process this spring. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: BIA process wasn’t fair to small business

Mom-and-pop shops will be challenged to pay the levy during hard times, says letter writer

Nanaimo RCMP report that a number of scams, many of them familiar, have recently resurfaced in Nanaimo and cost victims thousands of dollars. (File photo)
Nanaimo man scammed after lending money and receiving fake gold jewelry in return

RCMP provide details of several recent scams to warn the public

A memorial to former Abbotsford and RCMP police officer Shinder Kirk in Cedar, B.C. Kirk died in a car accident on Cedar Road in December 2018. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Trial begins in Nanaimo for man involved in car crash that killed retired police sergeant

RCMP accident reconstructionist takes stand in trial of Conrad Nikolaus Wetten

Next week Nanaimo singer Laura Kelsey is releasing her new single A Foolish Thing and its accompanying music video. (Video still courtesy Greg Nuspel)
Nanaimo singer joined by wolf, dancers in new music video

‘A Foolish Thing’ is Laura Kelsey’s first professionally made single in seven years

B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson announces an app that is intended to connect children and youths with mental health and addictions services. (B.C. Government image/Flickr)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youths launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6 million to fund virtual care platform

B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson announces an app that is intended to connect children and youths with mental health and addictions services. (B.C. Government image/Flickr)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youths launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6 million to fund virtual care platform

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

Most Read