Speaker Nancy Pelosi, dressed in all black and wearing a golden brooch that was a tiny replica of the Mace of the Republic – a ceremonial staff that represents the power of the House of Representatives – began consideration of the charges by appealing to every member to uphold their oaths to “protect and defend” the Constitution.
“Today, as speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States,” she said. “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice. ”
Republicans accused the Democrats, who fought their way back from political oblivion in to win control of the House last year, of abusing the power voters had invested in them by manufacturing a case against a president they never viewed as legitimate. Though they conceded few of them, they insisted the facts against Mr. Trump nonetheless fell woefully short of impeachment.“This is an impeachment based on presumption,” said Representative Doug Collins of Georgia. , the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “We win on process and we win on the facts. Why? Because the American people will see through this. ”