Gobsmacked Republicans made known their fury and frustration late Thursday as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., abruptly wrapped up an all-day marathon hearing on the adoption of two articles of impeachment against President Trump by delaying planned votes on the matter until Friday morning.
“It is now very late at night,” Nadler said shortly before midnight in D.C. “I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days, and to search their consciences before we cast their final votes. Therefore, the committee will now stand in recess until tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., at which point I will move to divide the question so that each of us may have the opportunity to cast up-or-down votes on each of the articles of impeachment, and let history be our judge.”
Ranking Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., raised an immediate objection as Nadler began leaving, saying it was “the most bush-league stunt” he had ever seen.
“Mr. Chairman, there was no consulting with the ranking member on your schedule for tomorrow — you just blew up schedules for everyone?” Collins asked incredulously. “You chose not to consult the ranking member on a scheduling issue of this magnitude? This is the kangaroo court we’re talking about. Not even consult? Not even consult? 10 a.m. tomorrow?”
He later told reporters: “This is why people don’t like us. This crap like this is why people are having such a terrible opinion of Congress. What Chairman Nadler just did, and his staff, and the rest of the majority who sat there quietly and said nothing, this is why they don’t like us. They know it’s all about games. It’s all about the TV screens. They want the primetime hit. This is Speaker Pelosi and Adam Schiff and the others directing this committee. I don’t have a chairman anymore. I guess I need to just go straight to Ms. Pelosi and say, what TV hit does this committee need to do? This committee has lost all relevance. I’ll see y’all tomorrow.”
Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert called out the tactic as “Stalinesque,” and other Republicans essentially heckled Nadler’s conduct as unbelievable and “outrageous.” Gohmert also openly suggested that Democrats wanted to have the vote when more people would be watching on television, and that they wanted to be able to say they had a “three-day trial” in the Judiciary Committee, even if they called no fact witnesses to appear before the panel.
“The claim that Republicans promised Judiciary Democrats that Thursday’s markup would end by 5:00 p.m. is false,” Jessica Andrews, a spokeswoman for the House Judiciary Committee Republicans, told Fox News. “Republicans were prepared to offer an arsenal of appropriate amendments to address the clear deficiencies in the articles of impeachment and were told that the committee would be voting on articles Thursday evening. Judiciary Democrats broke their promise as the cameras and lights were fading. They chose, instead, to reconvene when ratings would be higher and the integrity of our committee would be at a historic low.”
There is no more time remaining for actual debate on the articles of impeachment under the 41-member Judiciary Committee’s rules. On Friday morning, Fox News expects the panel to vote to adopt each article of impeachment on a party-line vote after a hearing that could last between 45 minutes to around 2 hours.
Then, the articles will likely head to the Rules Committee, which controls access to the House floor and sets the parameters of debate there, before the full House votes on whether to impeach the president. That final vote is expected next Wednesday or Thursday. Should the House impeach the president next week, the matter would go to the GOP-controlled Senate for a trial and virtually certain acquittal.