News World It’s #Impeachmentday as lawmakers prepare to vote on charges against Trump
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It’s #Impeachmentday as lawmakers prepare to vote on charges against Trump

People rally in support of the impeachment of President Donald Trump in front of the Capitol as the House of Representatives begins its debate. Photo: Getty
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Donald Trump deserves to “face his accusers” just like Jesus did before he was crucified, a defiant Republican has boldly stated in an impeachment debate.

In an effort to try to defend the US president, Republican congressman Barry Loudermilk said Jesus was treated more fairly than Mr Trump.

“Before you take this historic vote today, one week before Christmas, I want you to keep this in mind,” Mr Loudermilk said during a six-hour debate ahead of an impeachment vote. 

He then referenced Pontius Pilate – a Roman official who oversaw Jesus’ trial and ordered his crucifixion.

Mr Loudermilk speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against Mr Trump. Photo: AAP

“When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers. During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded this president and this process,” Mr Loudermilk said.

The historic impeachment vote in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will take place after the debate, which could exceed six hours.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Mr Trump an “ongoing threat” to the country’s national security and “the integrity of our elections which is the basis of our democracy”.

In a speech on the House floor, the top Democrat warned “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,”

Mr Trump is charged with abusing his office and obstructing congress.

The White House insisted Mr Trump would be busy working rather than focused on the proceedings in the House, but Mr Trump spent his Wednesday morning tweeting, retweeting and expressing disbelief.

“Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG!,” Mr Trump wrote in one of 45 tweets posted before noon. He asked his followers to “Say a PRAYER!”

As members of the House debated the articles of impeachment, Mr Trump’s urgency appeared to escalate as he switched to all capital letters: “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!” he wrote.

For Mr Trump, it was an acknowledgement of the inevitable: That he will become just the third president in US history to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

During the impeachment debate, Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House judiciary committee, said: “This an impeachment based on presumption. This is basically also a poll-tested impeachment on what actually sells to the American people. Today’s going to be a lot of things. What it is not, is fair. What it is not, is about the truth.”

Republican Jim Sensenbrenner then called the articles of impeachment pursued by Democrats “a bunch of bunk”.

The debate underscored the deep divide in congress over Mr Trump’s conduct during his tumultuous presidency and the larger political schism within the US.

The vote in the Democratic-controlled House is expected to fall almost entirely along party lines, underscoring the deep divide in congress over Mr Trump’s conduct – and the larger political schism within the nation itself.

Mr Trump would become only the third American president to be impeached, an extraordinary check on presidential power spelled out in the US Constitution for executives who commit “high crimes and misdemeanours”. No president has ever been removed from office under its terms.

-with AAP