Judiciary panel approves articles of impeachment against Trump, sends to House floor

After a dramatic, three-day session, the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Friday — sending the charges to the full House for an expected vote next week.

The abuse of power charge stems from Trump's July phone call with the Ukraine president pressuring him to announce an investigation of Democrats as he was withholding U.S. aid. The obstruction charge involves Trump's blocking of House efforts to investigate his actions. 

“Today is a solemn and sad day,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-New York, said after the vote. He said the full House would act “expeditiously.”

Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., right, open the House Judiciary Committee's vote on House Resolution 755, Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Dec

The vote in the House panel was split along party lines, with 23 Democrats voting in favor and 17 Republicans opposed.

Trump has denied wrongdoing.

“It's a scam,” Trump told reporters at the White House after the vote. “It's something that shouldn't be allowed, and it's a very bad thing for our country, and you're trivializing impeachment.”

It takes a simple majority to impeach a president in the House. Democrats can afford to lose 17 members in next week’s vote.

Two Minnesota Democrats, U.S. Reps. Angie Craig and Collin Peterson, haven’t said how they will vote.

“I’m going to take the weekend to go back and re-read the final articles, line that up next to the House Intelligence Committee report, and ultimately make a final decision, and announce that decision to my constituents next week,” Craig, D-Eagan, told FOX 9 in an interview.

Peterson told CNN earlier this week that he was “leaning” against voting against both articles. He was one of two Democrats to vote against a procedural measure moving impeachment forward earlier this fall.

The three other Minnesota Democrats – U.S. Reps. Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum and Ilhan Omar – support impeachment. Republican U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn and Pete Stauber oppose it.

“I’m happy to tell the voters in an honest, straightforward way that I oppose it, I think it’s unwarranted, and the president hasn’t committed an impeachable offense in my view,” Hagedorn, R-Blue Earth, told FOX 9 in an interview.

Friday morning’s committee vote came quickly after two days of hearings at the Capitol and a 14-hour session that was abruptly shut down late Thursday when the Democratic majority refused to be forced, after a long and bitter slog through failed Republican amendments aimed at killing the impeachment charges, into midnight voting.

RELATED: House Judiciary panel delays historic Trump impeachment vote

Instead, the impeachment charges against Trump were aired in full view of Americans.

Trump is accused, in the first article, of abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden while holding military aid as leverage, and, in the second, of obstructing Congress by blocking the House's efforts to probe his actions.

Trump is only the fourth U.S. president to face impeachment proceedings and the first to be running for reelection at the same time. The outcome of the eventual House votes pose potentially serious political consequences for both parties ahead of the 2020 elections, with Americans deeply divided over whether the president indeed conducted impeachable acts and if it should be up to Congress, or the voters, to decide whether he should remain in office.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sounded confident Thursday that Democrats, who once tried to avoid a solely partisan effort, will have the votes to impeach the president without Republican support when the full House votes. But she said it was up to individual lawmakers to weigh the evidence.

“The fact is we take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," Pelosi told reporters. "No one is above the law; the president will be held accountable for his abuse of power and for his obstruction of Congress.”

Republican allies seem unwavering in their opposition to expelling Trump, and the president appears to be looking ahead to swift acquittal in a Senate trial in January.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.