House panel delays historic Trump impeachment vote

WASHINGTON (AP/CNN) - The House Judiciary Committee abruptly delayed action on a historic vote to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler postponed voting until Friday morning.

The panel slogged for more than 14 hours through debate that split sharply along party lines. The panel was expected to vote to send the charges to the full House for action next week.

All day and into Thursday night, committee members clashed in a pointed and at times emotional debate.

The Republicans insisted on lengthy debate and votes on a series of amendments aimed at killing the charges. They kept at it though they won no Democratic support and had no hope of winning any.

Both sides appealed to Americans’ sense of history — Democrats describing a strong sense of duty to stop what one called the president’s “constitutional crime spree” and Republicans decrying the "hot garbage'' impeachment and what it means for the future of the country.

The committee is considering two articles of impeachment introduced by Democrats. They charge Trump with abuse of power for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden while withholding aid as leverage and with obstruction of Congress for stonewalling the House's investigation.

Democrats are also unified. They have agreed to the language, which spans only nine pages and says that Trump acted "corruptly" and "betrayed the nation" when he asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and the 2016 U.S. election. Hamstrung in the minority, Republicans wouldn't have the votes to make changes without support from at least some Democrats.

Nadler opened the hearing by making a final argument for impeachment and urging his Republican colleagues to reconsider. He said the committee should consider whether the evidence shows that Trump committed these acts, if they rise to the level of impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors and what the consequences are if they fail to act.

While Democrats have the majority in the House, the GOP has it in the Senate.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday he would be “totally surprised″ if there were the necessary 67 votes in the Senate chamber to convict Trump, the AP reports. He appears to be looking into options for a swift trial.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press and CNN. All rights reserved.