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House prepares to impeach Trump, as McConnell says ‘no chance’ he will be removed

The stage is set for the House of Representatives to impeach President Trump. After hours of hearings, the House Judiciary Committee passed two articles of impeachment Friday along party lines. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is coordinating with the White House about a response and there is “no chance” Trump will be removed from office. Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The stage is now set for the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach the president of the United States.

    The latest moves came earlier today in a matter of minutes, after long hours of hearings.

    Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

  • Woman:

    Ms. Lofgren?

  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.:

    Aye.

  • Woman:

    Ms. Lofgren votes aye.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    With a string of ayes, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee took a historic step on articles of impeachment against President Trump.

  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.:

    The article is agreed to. The resolution, as amended, is ordered reported favorably to the House.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The nine-page articles make two charges against the president: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

    The committee decisions today came after a marathon debate session yesterday that lasted 14 hours and went late into the night. The votes were straight along party lines, and quick, as were comments afterward by committee Chairman Jerry Nadler.

  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler:

    Today is a solemn and sad day. For the third time in a little over a century-and-a-half, the House Judiciary Committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House will act expeditiously.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    President Trump, hosting the president of Paraguay at the White House, railed against the vote.

  • President Donald Trump:

    It's a witch-hunt. It's a sham. It's a hoax. Nothing was done wrong. Zero was done wrong. It's a scam. It's something that shouldn't be allowed. And it's a very bad thing for our country, and you're trivializing impeachment.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The word sham was a Republican theme, echoed by Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham.

    He stated simply that: "This impeachment is a sad, ridiculous sham, and needs to come to a quick end."

    An end, one way or another, would come in a Senate trial, if articles are approved by the full House. But some of the president's other Republican allies in the House are hoping for a longer, more fulsome trial.

    Louie Gohmert of Texas:

  • Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas:

    But I really hope and pray the Senate will not just pick it up and dismiss it. America needs to hear from the witnesses.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    A major voice in whether witnesses are called will be Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell. He cannot determine trial rules on his own. Essentially, a majority of senators does that.

    But, last night, McConnell told FOX News about his planned approach.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    And everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with White House counsel.

    There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this. There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee balked at that.

    Pramila Jayapal of Washington state:

  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.:

    The foreman of the jury, Mitch McConnell, the guy that decides all the rules, is actually going to coordinate with the defendant. That makes no sense whatsoever. It is an outrage. And, frankly, it's a tremendous disrespect to the Constitution and to our framers.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    As to the political consequences, Democrat Steve Cohen of Tennessee said it's not clear for either side.

  • Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.:

    Regardless, I think this is something we needed to do. I don't know that it helps or hurts.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The articles of impeachment now head to a vote in the full House of Representatives next week.

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