Dec. 11 (UPI) -- House judiciary committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said the facts laid out against President Donald Trump are "overwhelming," as the committee began to debate articles of impeachment Wednesday night.
During his opening statement in the Wednesday evening hearing, Nadler, D-N.Y., expanded on the reasoning behind the decision to introduce two articles of impeachment against Trump accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for allegedly withholding military aid and a visit to the White House to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden.
"Taken together, the two articles charge President Trump with placing his private, political interests above our national security, above our free and fair elections and above our ability to hold public officials accountable," he said. "With a heavy heart but clear in my duty to our country, I support these articles of impeachment. I urge my colleagues to support them as well."
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the committee, accused Democrats of attempting to discredit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a liar, as he has publicly stated Trump did not pressure him.
"When we can't make our case, we tear down, not only try to tear down the leader of the free world, President Trump, but we're tearing down the newly elected leader of the Ukraine. This is amazing to me," Collins said.
Members of the committee were each permitted to offer their own statements in favor or against the articles of impeachment with many Democrats agreeing Trump's actions constituted an abuse of power while many Republicans framed the process as unfair to the president and criticizing House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for how he conducted his investigation.
The judiciary committee will meet again for a second hearing on Thursday during which they will mark up the articles of impeachment and suggest amendments before voting to approve them and sending them to the House floor for an impeachment vote.