The House Judiciary Committee voted Friday morning along strict party lines to force articles of impeachment to the House floor for a vote. The 23-17 vote on the vague charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power indicates a purely political motivation for impeachment.
The full vote in the House of Representatives next week is likely to weaken the Democrats’ position. At least five Democrats and perhaps as many as ten could vote against impeachment. Their “no” votes won’t be enough to stop the process from moving to the Senate, but it would likely weaken public opinion of Democrats who continue to support the unpopular attack on President Trump.
Democrats assert that President Trump threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless President Zelensky publicly announced an investigation into Burisma Holdings, a company whose board Hunter Biden was a member.
During witness testimony, the only fact witness interviewed said that when he asked President Trump what he wanted in return for the aid to Ukraine, Trump responded, “Nothing.”
President Zelensky and several other members of his administration have said publicly that they felt no pressure, did not know the U.S. aid had been held up, and therefore could not have assumed or thought that the aid was being held up until an inquiry into Burisma was announced.
It is largely expected that once the House votes for impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will hold a trial. Using the rules of evidence set in Federal law, all of the hearsay, opinion and unsubstantiated testimony used in the partisan House inquiry process will be inadmissible. Democrats do not hold the majority in the Senate and will not be able to suppress exculpatory witnesses and evidence as they did during the committee hearings.
The Senate trial may also seek to show that Trump had a legitimate reason for holding the aid back – concern over corruption. The defense attorneys may present evidence and witnesses attesting to U.S. aid money flowing back to U.S. citizens with the Ukraine Ambassador’s knowledge and perhaps at her direction. A slew of U.S. politicians could get caught up as the defense makes public their corruption.