Trump invites Judiciary Republicans to gathering after they missed White House party during impeachment markup

Trump invites Judiciary Republicans to gathering after they missed White House party during impeachment markup
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE has invited Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee to a gathering at the White House on Friday. The gesture comes after the GOP members missed an exclusive holiday party amid the panel's Thursday marathon markup of articles of impeachment, multiple GOP sources tell The Hill.

The sources said Republican committee members were invited to join a private reception, though the sources offered varying opinions as to whether they will have their own gathering or whether they would be joining Friday's White House staff party. Some members also won't be able to attend as they are leaving town for the weekend.

One Republican member said they believed Trump "felt bad" they had to miss the White House congressional ball after they spent 14 hours fighting against charges that Trump should be impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the two articles of impeachment Democrats have introduced.

Trump on Friday morning praised their performance.

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"The Republicans House members were fantastic yesterday," Trump tweeted. "It always helps to have a much better case, in fact the Dems have no case at all, but the unity & sheer brilliance of these Republican warriors, all of them, was a beautiful sight to see. Dems had no answers and wanted out!"

Democrats on the panel passed the two articles in a party-line vote on Friday morning, with 23 Democrats voting for the articles to proceed to a full House vote sometime next week and 17 Republicans voting against them. 

Republicans had dragged the markup late through the night on Thursday, introducing amendment after amendment that triggered hours of debate that quickly grew redundant.

The GOP amendments sought to scrub charges that Trump pressed Ukraine's president to open two investigations that would benefit him politically, including one into his top 2020 political rival, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden MORE. Democrats allege that he used the promise of a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in U.S. aid as leverage to get Kyiv to publicly commit to opening such probes.

But Democrats caught Republicans, journalists and others off guard by abruptly canceling an expected vote that would have taken place very late Thursday night or early Friday morning after hours of debate, and instead scheduling the vote for 10 a.m. on Friday.

The move enraged Republicans who felt Nadler had pulled a fast one on them, hammering his failure to alert the minority about the change of plans and accusing Democrats of being camera hungry amid their push to impeach Trump over his contacts with Ukraine.

“That was the most egregious violation of trust between a committee chairman and ranking member I think I’ve ever seen,” Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), the top Republican on Judiciary, said Thursday night, adding that “there was no discussion” about the change of plans.

Prior to the markup creeping into the late hours of the night, Republicans privately said they believed they would be able to attend the congressional ball. However, the plans appeared to change as the hearing moved past 5 p.m.

Both sides followed the script they have used in past hearings.

The president and his GOP allies have claimed Trump was motivated by a desire to fight corruption in Ukraine, not political reasons. They argue that Democrats are rushing through impeachment so that they can remove the 45th U.S. president because they can't beat him at the ballot box. 

Democrats, meanwhile, argue that Trump is a lawless president who poses a threat to the country if he remains in office, arguing that he will put his own interests above those of the United States.