Top moments from historic House impeachment debate

The House spent six hours Wednesday debating two articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants 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 GohmertHouse Natural Resources gives Grijalva power to subpoena Interior Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel Sheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade 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 NadlerTrump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify Nadler demands answers from Barr on 'new channel' for receiving Ukraine info from Giuliani Trump predicts Ocasio-Cortez will launch primary bid against Schumer 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 DeGetteOvernight Energy: Panel gives chairman power to subpoena Interior | House passes bill to protect wilderness | House Republicans propose carbon capture bill | Ocasio-Cortez introduces bill to ban fracking House passes Protecting America's Wilderness Act Vaping execs tell lawmakers that e-cigarettes are not meant for young people 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 PelosiDon't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Hillicon Valley: Officials worry about Nevada caucus technology after Iowa | Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei | Workers at Kickstarter vote to unionize | Bezos launches B climate initiative Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei 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 SchiffTop intelligence community lawyer leaving position Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump 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 GrishamAssange lawyer: Trump offered pardon in exchange for saying Russia didn't hack DNC Barr: Trump's tweets make it 'impossible for me to do my job' Hope Hicks to return to White House 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 KellyGOP chairman after Africa trip: US military drawdown would have 'real and lasting negative consequences' Even in a time of impeachment, health care is on the agenda Top moments from historic House impeachment debate 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 JayapalBand Portugal. The Man to join Sanders at campaign event in Tacoma Bloomberg builds momentum on Capitol Hill with new endorsements House Democrats' immigration bill would use tax dollars to import crime to America 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."