Top moments from historic House impeachment debate

The House spent six hours Wednesday debating two articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE before ultimately passing both on a largely party-line vote.

While much of the debate rehashed both parties' well-practiced talking points, there were also lively moments, clashes between lawmakers, applause and boo's, and eyebrow-raising comparisons. 

Here are the top moments from the floor debate:


Gohmert vs. Nadler

In his remarks to the House, Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertConservative lawmakers press Trump to suspend guest worker programs for a year Gohmert rails against allowing proxy voting over 'wishy washy' fear of dying Positive coronavirus cases shake White House MORE (R-Texas), visibly perturbed, said impeachment proceedings were being used to "stop the investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice and Ukraine into the corruption of Ukraine interference into the U.S. election in 2016."

Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerGun control group rolls out House endorsements The House impeachment inquiry loses another round — and yes, that's still going on Democrats call on DHS to allow free calls at ICE detention centers MORE (D-N.Y.) – the ranking member on the Judiciary panel – replied after Gohmert's time had expired: "I am deeply concerned that any member of the House would spout Russian propaganda on the floor of the House."


Nadler's response apparently didn't sit well Gohmert who began to yell and point his finger at the New York Democrat. Debate moderator Rep. Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteAdministration rolls back pollution standards amid a global pandemic Colorado Democrat: Shipment of ventilators to her state seems like favor to Gardner House Democrats call on Trump administration to lift restrictions on fetal tissue for coronavirus research MORE (D-Colo.), put down Gohmert's outburst by banging her gavel and repeatedly saying the "House will come to order."

Both career Russia experts who testified in the House impeachment inquiry and reports from intelligence officials have refuted Gohmert's claims. Fiona Hill, a former top Russia analyst for the White House, fiercely disputed Republican claims of Ukraine meddling, warning during an impeachment hearing last month that Russia is benefiting from the spread of this "fictional narrative."

Pelosi gets standing ovation

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Pelosi pulls vote on FISA bill after Trump veto threat MORE (D-Calif.) opened the floor debate by describing the House as the "custodians of the Constitution." 

"Our founders' vision is under threat from actions at the White House," Pelosi told her colleagues.

"That is why today as Speaker of the House, I sadly and solemnly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States," she continued.


Pelosi, along with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffPelosi pulls vote on FISA bill after Trump veto threat Hillicon Valley: House FISA bill in jeopardy | Democrats drop controversial surveillance measure | GOP working on legislation to strip Twitter of federal liability protections Democrats drop controversial surveillance amendment MORE (D-Calif.), have been the driving forces of House Democrats' impeachment proceedings.

As Pelosi walked off the House floor, Democrats praised her with a standing ovation.

Trump reacts 


When asked by the press pool if President Trump would be watching the House proceedings, White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamPence names new press secretary McEnany: Prayer 'made a lot of difference' in 2016 election McEnany stamps her brand on White House press operation MORE he "will be working all day. He will be briefed by staff throughout that day, and could catch some of the proceedings between meetings.”

Soon after Grisham's statement, the president took to Twitter. In all-caps, he tweeted: "SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!"

GOP lawmaker compares impeachment to crucifixion of Christ 

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) during his remarks compared the impeachment proceedings against President Trump to the "sham" biblical trial of Jesus.

“When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers," Loudermilk told his congressional colleagues.

"During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus, than Democrats have afforded this president in this process," he continued.

Later in the debate another lawmaker, Rep. Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyHouse lawmaker among officials, businesses in Pa. filing suit over state's coronavirus shutdown Florida Republican becomes sixth member of Congress to test positive for coronavirus House chairwoman diagnosed with 'presumed' coronavirus infection MORE (R-Pa.), said that like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Wednesday was a day that "would live in infamy."

"Smoking Gun"
Judiciary Committee member Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalPelosi pulls vote on FISA bill after Trump veto threat The PPP excludes black and Latino small businesses, so fix it Professor emeritus reacts to Biden's 'you ain't black' comments MORE (D-Wash.) refuted the Republican talking point that the president withheld the nearly $400 million in congressional aid to Ukraine because he was concerned about political corruption with the country.
"The facts in front of us are clear," she said. "This president, Donald J. Trump, coerced a fragile foreign ally to investigate his political opponent and interfere in our elections and he leveraged critically needed congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine."
She added: "He solicited foreign interference before, he is doing it now and he will do it again. The president is the smoking gun."
Schiff channels Hamilton
Judiciary Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) didn't take the floor until roughly halfway through the allotted debate time and when he addressed the chamber he began with a passage from founding father Alexander Hamilton:
"When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanor—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind."
This passage, Schiff asserted, aptly described the president and that if the President's actions weren't impeachable, "then nothing is."