The U.S. House is set to take a historic step Wednesday and, for just the third time in history, vote to impeach a sitting commander in chief. But President Donald Trump would be the first to be impeached while facing a re-election campaign.
The full lower chamber will begin debating two articles of impeachment before the vote. The debate will start at 9 a.m. EST.
The House rules committee set the agenda on Tuesday, allowing six hours of debate with no amendments as lawmakers weigh charges that say Trump is a threat to national security because he lobbied a foreign government to interfere in the United States electoral process, and then tried to hinder Congress in its subsequent investigation.
House Democrats, with a 232-198 majority in the chamber, are expected to have enough support to impeach Trump on both articles and send them to the Senate for trial.
Wednesday’s debate time will be equally divided between the House’s Democratic majority and Republican minority, overseen by House judiciary committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler and ranking Republican Rep. Doug Collins.
Following the debates, the House will hold separate votes on each article of impeachment. If they pass, the chamber may consider a resolution to appoint and authorize impeachment managers for a Senate trial.
Both articles stem from Trump’s dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last summer, during which the U.S. president pressed for investigations of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and his son, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company for five years.
The crux of the Democrats’ argument is that Trump demanded Zelensky publicly investigate both in a bid to discredit the former vice president and ruin his 2020 campaign — and he threatened to block hundreds of millions of dollars in Congress-approved aid for Ukraine and a White House visit for Zelensky until he got what he wanted.
Tuesday, Trump sent a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that accused the Democrats of “declaring open war on American democracy” and attempting to mount a coup.