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Trump impeachment: Senior Republican rants about being forced to go to morning hearing for votes

Conrad Duncan
Representative Doug Collins, R-Ga, speaks to reporters at the end of a House Judiciary Committee markup: AP

A senior Republican went on a furious rant about being forced to attend a morning hearing after Democrats delayed impeachment votes just before midnight on Thursday.

The House Judiciary Committee engaged in 14 hours of fiery debate over articles of impeachment against Donald Trump before Jerry Nadler, the Democratic committee chairman, surprised members by postponing voting until 10am on Friday.

Doug Collins, the Republican ranking member, was enraged by the decision and objected to Democrats scheduling work for him on a Friday morning.

“The chairman just ambushed the entire committee and did not have any consultation with the ranking member… we’re going to have votes at 10am in the morning,” Mr Collins told reporters after the decision.

“Without consulting the ranking member, without consulting schedules of anybody.”

Louie Gohmert, a Republican congressman for Texas, also shouted that the decision was “Stalinesque”.

Mr Nadler said he was postponing the votes so members could “search their consciences” before making a judgement on the articles.

Democrats were frustrated yesterday by what they saw as a “blatant effort” to drag out the hearing, according to CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju.

“Republicans dragged out today’s mark-up to last 13 hours & force us to vote in the middle of the night,” Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democratic committee member, wrote on Twitter.

“Instead, we will vote tomorrow morning in the light of day in front of the American people.”

Republicans reportedly told members of the committee they would only prolong the hearing until 5pm, CNN said.

“This committee is more concerned about getting on TV in the morning than it was finishing its job tonight and letting the members go home.” Mr Collins complained.

“This was the most bush league thing I have seen, forever.”

Two articles of impeachment have been brought against Mr Trump – one for abuse of power and the other for obstructing Congress.

Both articles are related to allegations that the president withheld congressionally-approved US military aid and a White House visit to Ukraine to force its leader into announcing an investigation into his 2020 election rival Joe Biden.

Although Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing, several high-profile US diplomats and foreign service officials have testified about their concerns over his behaviour.

Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, directly implicated the president in his testimony in November and said senior administration officials, such as secretary of state Mike Pompeo, were aware of a scheme to pressure Ukraine.

“Everyone was in the loop. It was not secret,” Mr Sondland said.

Republicans in Congress have focussed on arguing that Democrats are conducting an improper inquiry, rather than attempting to defend Mr Trump’s conduct with Ukraine.

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