The Latest: Pelosi says `no choice” but to impeach Trump

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From left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Adam Schiff, D-Calif., unveil articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sample of the sights and sounds across Washington on a momentous day in Washington as the House lurches toward a Wednesday evening vote on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump (all times local):

12:35 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump’s actions have left the House with “no choice” but to act on impeachment.

The Democratic-run House has begun debate on two articles of impeachment against the Republican president. The first charges Trump with abuse of power. The second charges him with obstruction of Congress. The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to acquit him in a trial next year.

Pelosi held her hand over her heart and recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the House. She observed that lawmakers are the “custodians of the Constitution.”

The California Democrat spent much of the morning in the dimly-lit third row from the back, all to herself. There, she sat in black with her mace pin on her jacket and a green folder on her lap. She flipped through sheaf of papers, appearing to read them one by one. Periodically, she looked up to hear the debate on the rules.

At 12:08 p.m., Pelosi descended to the well of the chamber to the podium and to open the debate on the abuse and obstruction articles.

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12:15 p.m.

Joe Kennedy III took to the House floor with impeachment — and his children — on his mind.

The House was opening six hours of debate Wednesday on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, with evening votes scheduled. And Robert Kennedy’s grandson wanted to have his say.

The Massachusetts Democrat read from a letter to his own young children. It said, `This is a moment you will read about in your history books.”

With the House moving closer to impeaching a president for only the third time in U.S. history, Kennedy wanted to explain to his kids why he felt it necessary to act. Kennedy said Trump abused the “most sacred office in our land.” He said that by day’s end, the record will show that “justice won. … We did not let you down.”

But a Republican congresswoman from Arizona accused Democrats of “`tearing this country apart.” Debbi Lesko said the impeachment process was unfair and rigged.

The House will vote on two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to acquit him in a trial next year.

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9:25 a.m.

Utter disbelief.

That’s the sense expressed by President Donald Trump as arose he Wednesday morning and faced the prospect that by day’s end, he’d likely to be just the third U.S. president to be impeached.

Trump has a relatively light schedule during the day. He’s indicated he won’t be watching the six hours of impeachment debate on the House floor. And in the evening he’s scheduled to be in Battle Creek, Michigan, for a rally.

His remarks at Kellogg Arena could come around the same time as House is voting on the two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump’s press secretary says the president will have plenty to say at the rally about the voting back in Washington.

Trump started his day as he often does: by airing his grievances on Twitter.

Here’s what he said: “Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing.”

The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to acquit him in a trial next year.

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