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House Democrats and Republicans were divided on setting rules for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The resolution would make evidence public and also allow Mr. Trump’s legal team to mount a defense.CreditCredit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times
How Democrats and Republicans Voted on Trump Impeachment Rules
See how each representative voted on the resolution to guide the impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump.
It authorized the House Intelligence Committee — the panel that has been leading the investigation and conducting private depositions — to convene public hearings and produce a report that will guide the Judiciary Committee as it considers whether to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump.
The measure also gives the president rights in the Judiciary Committee, allowing his lawyers to participate in hearings and giving Republicans the chance to request subpoenas for witnesses and documents. But the White House says it does not provide “basic due process rights,” and Republicans complain that their ability to issue subpoenas is limited. They will need the consent of Democrats, or a vote of a majority of members. That has been standard in previous modern impeachments. The majority has the final say over how the proceedings unfold.
Immediately after the vote, President Trump again attacked the inquiry on Twitter.
In a statement, the White House press secretary also attacked the inquiry and the Democratic leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling it “unhinged obsession” of her party.
“The president has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it,” the press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said.
A White House aide testified that he saw signs of a quid pro quo over Ukraine, backing up testimony impeachment investigators heard last week.
Credit...Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times
The witness, Timothy Morrison, the former top Russia expert for the National Security Council, testified Thursday that a top diplomat who was close to President Trump told him that a package of military assistance for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigating Mr. Trump’s political rivals, corroborating a key episode at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
Mr. Morrison’s testimony backed up details provided last week by Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, during his private testimony.
In his opening remarks, which were reviewed by The New York Times, Mr. Morrison resisted drawing conclusions about Mr. Trump’s involvement, and in subsequent testimony he made clear he did not view the actions of the president or others involved as illegal or improper. Instead, he characterized their behavior as bad foreign policy of the sort that could potentially squander a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” afforded by the election of Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Mr. Morrison appeared under subpoena despite a White House directive not to, according to an official involved in the inquiry. He is the second current white House official to testify before the inquiry this week, following Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman.
Mr. Morrison resigned his post at the National Security Council on Thursday ahead of the testimony, though he had been weighing leaving for some time, according to another official familiar with the matter.
Pelosi evoked the Constitution in a speech before the House vote.
In a rare gesture, Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the House chamber as the text of the procedures and the resolution outlining the public stage of the inquiry was read into the Congressional Record.
Standing next to a poster of the American flag, Ms. Pelosi repeatedly evoked the tenets of the Constitution as she framed the vote as an act of transparency as lawmakers investigate whether Mr. Trump abused his office in pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival.
“That is really what this vote is about,” Ms. Pelosi said. “It is about the truth.”
After she concluded her remarks, the dozens of Democrats already gathered in the chamber broke into applause.
Republican lawmakers continued to argue that under the procedures and the resolution outlined by House Democrats, Mr. Trump would not have the opportunity to sufficiently defend himself against the allegations.
At a news conference early Thursday morning, Ms. Pelosi dismissed questions about Republican concerns, saying that “these rules are fairer than anything that have gone before in terms of an impeachment proceeding.”
— Emily Cochrane
Republicans struck a triumphant tone after the vote: ‘Our conference stood strong.’
Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Republican whip, emerged from the House floor triumphant that not a single member of his party broke ranks to support the House Democrats’ resolution.
“There were a lot of questions today about whether or not Republicans would stick together on this vote and do the right thing for the country,” Mr. Scalise said. “I can tell you that our conference stood strong.”
In a victory lap in the speaker’s lobby, Mr. Scalise noted that two Democrats opposed the resolution.
“Nancy Pelosi, at the beginning of this Congress, said if there’s going to be impeachment it has to be bipartisan,” he said. “In fact the only bipartisan vote today was against impeachment.”
— Catie Edmondson
What ‘bipartisan’ means, then versus now.
Republicans are already making hay of the fact that their side was the only one to stay united in today’s House vote. Two Democrats broke ranks to vote against a resolution endorsing an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
But 21 years ago, a much larger defection on a similar vote was viewed differently. Back in 1998, the Republican-led House voted 258 to 176 to initiate an impeachment inquiry into President Bill Clinton.
As an article in The New York Times noted at the time: “The quarreling on the House floor was plainly partisan. So was the subsequent vote of 258 to 176, as only 31 of the 206 House Democrats joined the Republican majority and signed on to the resolution for an open-ended impeachment inquiry.”
The story described White House officials as “heartened that not enough Democrats defected to make the vote appear bipartisan.”
A CNN article on the vote at the time also described Democrats as “pleased only 15 percent of their caucus broke ranks.”
Democratic presidential hopefuls praise the House action.
Several Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for president in 2020 uniformly praised the House vote to endorse an impeachment inquiry and urged Congress to continue with the process.
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey tweeted that he was “proud of House Democrats” for approving the resolution; former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas called it a “good step” but “only the beginning.” And Senator Kamala Harris of California issued what she called a well-timed “reminder” that “no one is above the law, including the president of the United States.”
“This president took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution,” said Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind. “So did every member of Congress. This president violated that oath, betraying our country and leaving our representatives with no choice but to uphold their own. Congress must move forward with impeachment.”
In a statement, Tom Steyer, the billionaire and former hedge fund manager who has supported impeachment for more than two years, called Thursday’s vote a “significant step forward.”
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said in a statement Thursday that Mr. Trump had “weaponized the institutions of our government for political purposes, subverting our national security for his own political gain.” Mr. Biden has a personal connection to the events that helped trigger the impeachment inquiry: Mr. Trump asked the government of Ukraine to investigate the Biden family.
“Today, the House did its constitutional duty to proceed with a solemn investigation of unprecedented wrongdoing,” Mr. Biden said. “Members of Congress take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution when they are sworn in, not an oath to their party or to the president. Congress must do its duty to ensure that Donald Trump’s assault on the Constitution does not seep beyond his presidency, with a lasting and devastating impact on our democracy.”
— Matt Stevens and Katie Glueck
Catch up on impeachment: What you need to know
Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Here’s a timeline of events since January.
A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.
President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCredit...Illustration by The New York Times