President Donald Trump is on the cusp of being impeached by the House, with a historic debate set Wednesday on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress ahead of votes that will leave a defining mark on his tenure at the White House.
Trump, who would be just the third U.S. president to be impeached, on Tuesday fired off a furious letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi denouncing the “vicious crusade” against him, but he also acknowledged he was powerless to stop the expected outcome.
“When people look back at this affair, I want them to understand it, and learn for it, so that it can never happen to another president again,” he wrote.
Early Wednesday, Trump tweeted his outrage: “Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible thing.”
Pelosi, who warned earlier this year against pursuing a strictly partisan impeachment, nonetheless has the numbers from Democrats to approve it. According to a tally compiled by The Associated Press, Trump is on track to be formally charged by a House majority.
“Very sadly, the facts have made clear that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit and that he obstructed Congress,” Pelosi wrote to colleagues, asking them to join her on the House floor as the House convenes.
“In America, no one is above the law,” she said. “During this very prayerful moment in our nation’s history, we must honor our oath to support and defend our Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
The rare undertaking to impeach a president, set to unfold over more than six hours of debate Wednesday, is splitting the lawmakers in Congress much the way Americans have different views of Trump’s unusual presidency and the articles of impeachment against him.
From Alaska to Florida, tens of thousands of Americans marched in support of impeachment Tuesday evening, from a demonstration through a rainy Times Square to handfuls of activists standing vigil in small towns. They carried signs saying “Save the Constitution – Impeach!!!!” and “Criminal-in-Chief.”
“I really believe that the Constitution is under assault,” said one protester, 62-year-old Glenn Conway, of Holly Springs, North Carolina, attending his first political rally in 30 years. “I think we have a president at this point who believes he’s above the law.”