The clock has still not started on the debate over whether or not to impeach President Donald Trump, but U.S. Representatives are already going on the record.
House members have been negotiating rules for the impeachment debate, which is expected to begin as soon as procedures are approved by the full house. The Rules Committee voted on procedures Tuesday night, including to allow six hours of debate, split equally between Republicans and Democrats.
Several members have taken time Wednesday morning to share their thoughts and voting intent ahead of actual debate. That includes Florida U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Both women delivered brief statements on the House floor defending their support for impeachment.
“The president abused his power. He violated his oath of office. He sought to elevate himself as a dictator or a king, but we are not a monarchy. We are the United States of America. We are a republic, a democracy where the executive doesn’t have absolute power,” Castor said. “America was founded on a system of checks and balances. When the president withheld military aid to vulnerable Ukraine and pressed for a personal ‘favor’ to manufacture dirt against a political opponent, he went too far.”
Castor said Trump’s actions violated national security and sought to sabotage American elections.
“He elevated his personal interests over the interests of America. Then he tried to cover up his scandalous behavior and he obstructed the investigation. The president violated his oath of office, but I intend to uphold mine to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. I will vote to impeach President Trump,” Castor said.
Speaking immediately after Castor, Wasserman Schultz echoed concerns about the President’s July 25 phone call in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “to do us a favor” by investigating Joe Biden and his son.
Wasserman Schultz said her decision to vote in favor of impeachment came, in part, because she wanted to send the right message to her future grandchildren.
“They might ask, mommy, what did grandma do? I want my daughter to be able to tell her, ‘grandma did the right thing’ because, in America, no one is above the law,” Wasserman-Schultz said.
“With his conduct around Ukraine, President Trump corruptly abused his power for his own interests at direct odds with our national welfare and our constitution. This president put his interests before those of this nation. Left unchecked he’d do it again and has said so. The actions and ongoing schemes that led us to this moment are severe threats to our national security and democracy that we cannot defend or dismiss. With history watching, I must fulfill my constitutional duty and vote to impeach this president. His corrupt conduct and assault on our constitution leave no other choice,” she continued.
The House is expected to officially impeach Trump sometime Wednesday. From there, the U.S. Senate will be tasked with launching a trial to determine whether or not to remove Trump from office. Details about the logistics of that process are still under debate.
The trial could go swiftly, with minimal witness testimony, or it could be a longer process in which Democrats hope to hear from witnesses who have not yet testified, such as Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.