GOP lawmaker claims Democrats putting impeachment 'ahead of rule of law'

A Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee accused Democrats on Friday of putting their desire to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE ahead of the needs of the country and the laws of the land.

“It’s their top priority — putting their disdain for the president and politics ahead of the Constitution, the rule of law and the needs of this government and the needs of the people of this country,” Rep. Ben ClineBenjamin (Ben) Lee ClineGOP votes to dump Cheney from leadership Virginia GOP set for wild, unpredictable convention Garland emphasizes national security, civil rights in budget hearing MORE (R-Va.) told Hill.TV.

Cline said that Congress is facing a number of issues to be “concerned” about before the end of the calendar year, such as the upcoming budget resolution to fund the government and Trump's trade deal meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“What Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post Trump against boycotting Beijing Olympics in 2022 House Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May MORE is doing is not only is she not waiting for the facts to be put forward in the Judiciary Committee but now she’s actually saying we need to go ahead and commit the Senate to taking at least the month of January if not longer to take time away from these other issues and focus on impeachment,” he said.

Cline’s comments come after the Speaker announced Thursday that Trump left the House with “no choice” but to proceed with articles of impeachment.

“The president's actions have seriously violated the Constitution,” the California Democrat said, referring to his dealings with Ukraine. “Our democracy is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act.”

A day earlier, the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing to examine whether the evidence uncovered by the weeks-long probe merited impeachment.

Pelosi did not specify when the articles of impeachment will be drafted or what charges they will contain. But some Democrats have said that formal articles of impeachment could be introduced as soon as next week.

Pelosi’s announcement ushers in the latest phase of the months-long impeachment investigation following a whistleblower's complaint alleging that Trump attempted to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations into his political rivals. 

Trump, meanwhile, has denied any wrongdoing and argued that if House Democrats are going to move ahead with an impeachment vote, they should do so with expediency to allow a “fair” trial in the GOP-held Senate.

While the impeachment vote is likely to be among the House’s final actions this year, Congress has yet to find a way keep the government operating beyond Dec. 20.

Lawmakers are also racing to reach a deal on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement before the break. Pelosi is currently working to remove legal protections for technology after lawmakers on both sides of the aisle raised concerns about the issue.

—Tess Bonn