Impeachment Briefing: House Committee Approves Articles

This is the Impeachment Briefing, The Times’s newsletter about the impeachment investigation. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weeknight.

  • In back-to-back votes Friday morning that took less than 10 minutes, the House Judiciary Committee approved two impeachment articles against President Trump, moving him one step closer to a full House vote that could make him the third president in American history to be impeached.

  • The vote for both articles was on a straight party line, 23 to 17, and followed a contentious 14-hour session in the Judiciary Committee that stretched past 11 p.m. on Thursday, when Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the committee, abruptly cut off proceedings to avoid a late-night vote. “Today is a solemn and sad day,” Mr. Nadler said after Friday’s vote.

  • On Tuesday, the House Rules Committee is meeting for a markup session on the articles. The full House vote would then likely occur on Wednesday.

  • Mr. Trump said Friday that he did not have a preference for how the Senate impeachment trial should work, but my colleague Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports that he has privately pushed for a longer process that would give him the chance to stage a theatrical defense. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, wants a shorter, more dignified event.

  • On Thursday, Mr. McConnell met with Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, to hash out terms of the trial: how long it would last; how many hours each side would get to present its case; whether there would be witnesses and if so, how many.

  • Democrats criticized Mr. McConnell’s coordination with the White House. “If articles of impeachment are sent to the Senate, every single senator will take an oath to render ‘impartial justice,’” Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said.

Erin Schaff, a Times photographer, spent several days this week in the private spaces of the House Judiciary Committee, where she got an exclusive look at the process of drafting impeachment articles. I talked to her and our photo editor Marisa Schwartz Taylor about the feature they compiled of Erin’s photos.

8:44 a.m. on Monday

In an area just off the room where the week’s first public hearing took place, Representative Madeleine Dean helped Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell attach her member pin, which designates who is in Congress.

ERIN: During a crazy week like this, I was surprised by how many really intimate moments of friendship and silence and solemnity there were. I saw these close friendships that you don’t normally see at press conferences or public hearings. There was barely enough room to have all the members in this room: “essential personnel only,” as they say.

Staff lawyers and other House Judiciary Committee aides stood over Mr. Nadler as they reviewed a draft of the impeachment articles they would announce the following morning.

ERIN: Reviewing the drafted articles of impeachment was really a group project with staff lawyers, members of Congress and other aides. It was late. They had just had a hearing earlier that day. They had this 8 p.m. dinner meeting to review the draft articles. This photo was taken after that dinner meeting, with Chinese food in tins you can see on the side of the photo.

I took maybe 100 photos of that interaction, with me standing at the mirror. Things I really look for in photos are movement, energy and emotion, when things aren’t static. I want readers to feel like they’re in the room.

MARISA: The reflection gives you two angles, so you see some facial expressions you wouldn’t see in just the single image. It also serves the purpose of putting Mr. Nadler in the center of the frame without making him the focal point, an unusual place for him considering he’s usually front and center on our TV screens.

Democrats on the committee reviewed the articles for a final time. Mr. Nadler affirmed them with his signature.

ERIN: I was standing right over Mr. Nadler’s left shoulder for what I think he knew would be a historic signature.

MARISA: Reporters and editors on Tuesday were frantically passing around PDFs of the impeachment articles, commenting on how prominent Mr. Nadler’s signature was on top. Erin got the moment he signed the original document.

5:49 p.m. on Wednesday

Norm Eisen, a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee, found a corner of the committee’s regular hearing room to finish drafting a statement for Mr. Nadler.

ERIN: There were constant meetings with staff and members working late into the evenings and coming back very early the next morning in and around the Judiciary Committee offices. There were so many documents lying around everywhere. Here, members had had a prep session for the next day and had left for votes.

MARISA: Normally when you look at pictures of Congress, they’re during public hearings or press conferences or things that members of Congress and their teams have carefully choreographed. These moments really show what happens behind closed doors — the actual work that goes into it. Mr. Eisen wanted to find a quiet place, and the only place to do that, ironically, was a room that would normally be full of other people and cameras.

  • Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, returned recently from a trip to Budapest and Kyiv, where he continued trying to dig up incriminating information about the Bidens and Ukrainians who favored Hillary Clinton in 2016. On Friday he visited the White House. My colleague Katie Rogers reported that he met Mr. Trump and briefed him on his trip, which involved making an anti-impeachment television series for a pro-Trump news network.

  • My colleague Ken Vogel reported that Mr. Giuliani told an associate that Mr. Trump approved of his participation in the series when he briefed the president about it during a meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington late last month.

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that when Mr. Giuliani returned to the U.S., the president called him as his plane was still taxiing down the runway. “‘What did you get?’” he said Mr. Trump asked. “More than you can imagine,” Mr. Giuliani replied. The Journal reported that he was putting together a 20-page report on his findings.

  • Mr. Giuliani has been offering his services to Mr. Trump for free. But The Times reported that the president did not mention Mr. Giuliani or his unpaid labor on the annual financial disclosure he filed in May, which requires that the value and source of gifts — including free legal work — be publicly listed.


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