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

Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Sean Ramsay comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards during a game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on May 1, 2021. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Three wins in a row for Cowichan Capitals

BCHL team enjoying best stretch of the season

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account for the family of Dorothy Littau, who was diagnosed with colon cancer last month. (Submitted)
GoFundMe campaign set up ‘ever-present force in South Cowichan schools’

Dorothy Littau was diagnosed with colon cancer in April

Peter and Wayne Richmond and 49th Parallel Grocery won the award for Business Achievement 20+ Employees at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Black Tie Awards on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Submitted)
Black Tie winners announced during virtual awards event

Recipients gave speeches by phone while being live-streamed on YouTube

Cobble Hill’s Bob Collins (left) and reservist Keenan Hayes stand at attention at Cobble Hill Cenotaph in this photo taken on Oct. 22, 2019, to honour members of the Canadian military who died in Canada in non-combat roles. (File photo)
MacGregor seeks to honour armed services members who died on Canadian soil

MP introduces bill to mark Oct. 22 as “Canadian Armed Forces Members’ Day”

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read