The Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives begins hearing on the evidence obtained against Donald Trump.
Democratic lawyers outlined the findings so far, saying Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate rival Joe Biden while at the same time withholding US military aid ran counter to US policy and benefited Russia as well as himself.
A committee vote is coming, possibly as soon as this week, on two or more articles of impeachment on charges of abuse of power, bribery and obstruction against the Republican president.
This could happen by the end of this week – Friday 13 December. The articles are expected to pass out of committee, where Democrats hold a 24-17 majority, along party lines. Each article would have to be approved separately.
If at least one article is approved by the House, Trump would become the third president in US history to be impeached. This could happen before a scheduled congressional holiday break beginning on 20 December.
If Trump is impeached in the House, the Republican-controlled US Senate would hold a trial, likely to begin in January 2020.
The only such trial to take place in modern US political history, against Bill Clinton in 1999, lasted just more than a month. A two-thirds majority vote to convict on any one article would be required to remove Trump from office.
With Republicans controlling the senate by a 53-47 majority, the defection of about 20 Republican senators would be required to remove Trump.