Impeachment reality: Pelosi asks Democrats

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi posed a simple question to House Democrats behind closed doors Wednesday as the Judiciary Committee considered articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in an initial hearing that erupted in sharp partisan exchanges.

“Are you ready?” she asked rank-and-file lawmakers.

The answer was a resounding yes.

The Democrats also gave a standing ovation to Chairman Adam Schiff, whose Intelligence Committee report cataloged potential grounds for impeachment, and they overwhelmingly indicated they want to continue to advance the inquiry on its current path.

The meeting was described by people familiar with it, who were unauthorized to discuss it by name and were granted anonymity.

Pelosi, once reluctant to engage in a strictly party-line impeachment proceeding, is now leading colleagues to a likely vote after a House investigation found that Trump seriously misused the power of his office to seek foreign interference in the U.S. election and then obstructed Congress in its efforts to investigate.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, t he House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing quickly burst into partisan infighting as Democrats charged that Trump must be removed from office for a trio of offenses — abuse of power, bribery and obstruction — and Republicans angrily retorted there were no grounds for such drastic action.

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