The House started debating the “rule” governing the parameters of the impeachment after 9 a.m. E.T. Wednesday. Around midday, it will take two procedural votes. Then two hours of actual debate on impeachment will happen during the afternoon before a vote on impeachment, which will only need a simple majority.
The debate early Wednesday started with harsh broadsides against the president from House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
“I saw evil,” McGovern said of the Trump-supporting mob that stormed the Capitol last week. “These were not protesters, these were not patriots, these were traitors… and they were acting under the orders of Donald Trump.”
Rules Committee Ranking Member Tom Cole, R-Okla., said that the House was not giving the president enough due process in its “snap impeachment” and said that it “will divide us further.” Cole further noted that the political process, despite the events of last week, has worked. “President Trump has conceded the 2020 election… and next Wednesday President-elect Biden will be sworn in,” Cole said.
The fissure in the GOP goes from the top of Republican leadership ranks all the way down to the rank-and-file of the party’s lawmakers. And it represents an unraveling after the GOP remained largely united behind Trump for nearly his entire term, despite an impeachment, constant caustic tweets and policies that did not necessarily match Republican orthodoxy.
The split among the GOP also follows months of false claims by the president that he won the election before a rally last week at which Trump spoke, continuing to double down on the claims. After the president’s remarks, his supporters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue before ransacking the Capitol building and forcing hundreds of lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to go into hiding.