– Democrats do the numbers –
Pelosi dismissed the letter as “really sick.”
Wednesday’s debate will last six hours, with a vote expected in late afternoon or evening.
While the debate occurs, Trump will fly to Battle Creek, a city in the swing state of Michigan, to host a rally on Wednesday evening.
With the exception of just two, the 235 Democrat members in Congress appeared poised to stand united in voting through the formal impeachment charges.
While some members from relatively conservative districts face the possibility of being voted out of office next year for their stance, they stood together under Pelosi’s political wrangling.
“My military service taught me to put our country — not politics — first, and my time as a federal prosecutor taught me about the importance of the rule of law and of justice,” declared Mikie Sherrill, a first-term representative from a Trump-leaning district in New Jersey.
“I will be voting in favor of the articles of impeachment.”
“I know some people will be angry at my decision, but I was elected to do what is right, not politically safe,” said Anthony Brindisi, another first-term Democrat, from a conservative New York constituency.
Protests in support of impeachment broke out in several cities including New York, Boston, New Orleans and Los Angeles.
Demonstrators waved signs urging Congress to “Dump Trump” and “Protect our Democracy.”
One sign wished fellow protesters a “merry impeachment,” in reference to the approaching Christmas holiday.
– Tensions in Congress –
At a hearing in the House Rules Committee, which sets out the procedures for votes, senior Republican Doug Collins accused Democrats of trying to rush through the impeachment.
“There will be a day of reckoning,” Collins warned. “Whatever you may gain will be short-lived.”
And the top two senators butted heads over what form the trial will take.
Democrats are insisting on calling White House officials as witnesses.
Senior Democrat Chuck Schumer wants Trump’s chief of staff, former national security advisor and two others to testify.
But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who can largely set the rules, rejected this and dismissed any idea that the trial wasn’t a purely political exercise.
“I think we’re going to get almost an entirely partisan impeachment,” he said.
“This is a political process. There is nothing judicial about it. I’m not impartial about this at all.”