The House of Representatives will vote this week on two articles of impeachment — one charging President Trump with abuse of power and the other for obstruction of Congress.
The Democrats’ case is centered on allegations that Trump tried to use a White House meeting and military aid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
If one or both charges pass with a simple majority in the House — as is expected — Trump will become the third president ever impeached and the first to be impeached during his first term in office by the House of Representatives. The House Rules Committee (made up of nine Democrats and four Republicans, and chaired by Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts) will meet on Tuesday.
The vote on articles of impeachment is expected to take place on Wednesday following debate by House members. If the debate runs late, the vote could be postponed until Thursday.
If the House approves the resolution to impeach, next up would be a Senate trial to decide whether, based on the House’s impeachment recommendation, senators should vote to convict the president.
Prior to the trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) would get together to decide rules on how the Senate trial would work. The rules must pass by a simple majority.
A Senate trial is expected to take place in January and will be presided by Chief Justice John Roberts. A two-thirds vote is required to convict Trump.
Americans remain both deeply divided and locked into their positions over how lawmakers should move forward, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Forty-nine percent of Americans say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 46 percent say he should not. These numbers are almost identical to findings at the end of October, when 49 percent favored impeachment and removal and 47 percent opposed.
As the House vote gets underway this week, here are six women to watch:
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.)
Slotkin is a freshman Democrat who is up for reelection in 2020. She trained as a CIA officer who worked for both parties and previously said Americans would have the chance to render judgement on Trump in the next election. However, after learning of Trump’s actions with Ukraine, four townhalls in her district and the review of reports, transcripts and a look at the Nixon impeachment, she has decided to vote yes on both articles of impeachment. “As a former CIA officer, I believe this lies at the very heart of impeachable conduct,” Slotkin said in an op-ed on Monday in the Detroit Free Press. Slotkin said she has been warned this could end her political career but added “There are some decisions in life that have to be made based on what you know in your bones is right. And this is one of those times.”
Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.)
Sinema voted to confirm William Barr and is one of only three Democrats to vote against the Green New Deal. She prides herself on being independent, and does not face reelection in 2020. She antagonized some Democrats in 2015 when she voted against Obama’s Iran’s nuclear agreement. She has not been enthusiastic about the impeachment inquiry and declines comment for the most part.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Viewed as a possible defector by her party, she voted against Trump’s effort to repeal Obamacare and did not support the choice of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. She is not up for reelection until 2022 and is also one of only three Senate Republicans who would not sign a resolution denouncing the impeachment (along with Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine). That said, just weeks ago she declined to comment on impeachment and said she would wait until it is sent to the Senate.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Collins is up for reelection in 2020 and is also viewed as a possible defector. She is known for her bipartisanship and faces a big fight in a state that Hillary Clinton won. She has been critical of Trump in the past but has remained quiet on the current impeachment debate. There appears to be a possible primary challenge by former Maine Gov. Paul LePage who has hinted at running for her Senate seat if she breaks with Republicans. This poses a dilemma for her — if she votes to acquit, she may get punished by voters in her state in 2020.
Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)
McSally is a former combat pilot, who lost her race in Arizona last year but was appointed to John McCain’s seat. She faces a tough reelection in 2020 and the possibility of antagonizing her base if she votes to impeach.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
Ernst is up for reelection in 2020 and has accused Democrats of using the impeachment inquiry for partisan advantage. She faces a tough reelection in a state where recent polls show voters are increasingly open to impeaching the president.