In a surprise move, without holding a vote on two articles of impeachment against the president, Nadler said the committee would instead resume the session at 10 a.m. on Friday.
“It has been a long two days of consideration of these articles [of impeachment], and it is now very late at night,” Nadler said around 11:20 p.m. local time, after a 14-hour congressional hearing.
“I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what is happening over these last two days and to search their consciences before we cast our final votes. Therefore the committee will now stand in recess until tomorrow [Friday] morning at 10 a.m., at which point I will move to divide the question so that each of us may have the opportunity to cast up or down votes, on each of the articles of impeachment … the committee is in recess,” he said.
Immediately following Nadler’s announcement, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said that the sudden change was not discussed.
“There was no consulting through the minority ranking member on your schedule for tomorrow, which you’d just blown up schedules for everyone. You chose not to consult the ranking member on the schedule issue of this magnitude?” Collins asked. “This is the kangaroo court that we’re talking about … not even consult?”
“They do not care about rules; they have one thing, their hatred of Donald Trump,” Collins added.
“This was the most bush-league thing I have seen, forever,” he told reporters. “This committee is more concerned about getting on TV in the morning than it was finishing its job tonight and letting the members go home. Words cannot describe how inappropriate this was.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) could be heard saying “Stalinist!” soon after Nadler’s announcement.
Asked why the votes did not occur late Thursday, House Judiciary Vice Chair Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) said, “The American people deserve to see the vote.”
Thursday was the second day of debates on two articles of impeachment against the president that were unveiled by top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), on Tuesday. The articles of impeachment alleged that Trump had abused his power and obstructed Congress.
Democrats’ push to impeach Trump revolve around his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump asked his counterpart to “look into” allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Democrats alleged that Trump misused his office by allegedly withholding nearly $400 million from Ukraine in exchange for investigations into the Bidens. They also say Trump’s request to Zelensky was improper because Biden is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. However, Trump said it was his duty to investigate corruption in a country that was receiving military aid from the United States.
Trump noted that Joe Biden stated publicly last year that he threatened in 2016 to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine unless the country fired its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. Shokin was reportedly investigating the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma on which Hunter Biden, served as a board director while his father was in office. Shokin’s replacement closed the probe after Shokin was fired.
But Democrats said that testimony from State Department and National Security Council officials suggest that Trump had exerted pressure on Ukraine to secure an investigation into the Bidens, construing a misuse of power.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.