The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday evening weighed articles of impeachment accusing President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, with both parties girding for a spirited debate about his conduct toward Ukraine.

Trump is just the fourth president in U.S. history to face the prospect of such a sanction for misconduct in office, which could be approved by next week on the House floor.

At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

●A day of history accentuates America’s divide and the distortions of truth in the Trump era.

●Democrats charge Trump with two impeachment articles, setting up historic vote.

●House Democrats say Trump is unfit for office but eagerly deal with him on trade.

●Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani says Trump asked him to brief Justice Department and GOP senators on his Ukraine findings.

3:45 a.m.
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Debate and votes to resume Thursday morning

After more than three and a half hours of opening statements from every Judiciary Committee member Wednesday night, the members reconvene at 9 a.m. Thursday to debate and vote on articles of impeachment against Trump.

Republicans will have the opportunity to offer amendments. Once they’re finished, the committee will vote first on Article 1 and then on Article 2.

On Wednesday night, Democrats and Republicans portrayed the vote as a moment in history and dared the other to be on the right side of it.

3:30 a.m.
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Democrat says Trump’s obstruction is ‘a big black sharpie’ on Constitution

The penultimate speaker, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), noted that many of her constituents had fled dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela that “choked the economic, social and political potential of those countries for the benefit of those who hold power.”

In contrast, she said, the United States is a “beacon of freedom — a place where anyone can get a fair shot.”

But, she said, the United States is also a country where “even the most powerful are held to account.”

“We cannot accept a president who says America first, but really puts his own interests before the country,” she said. “We cannot accept a president who makes a show of hugging the American flag but whose obstruction of congress takes a big black sharpie on Article I of the Constitution.”

3:15 a.m.
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Democrat says impeach Trump not because he’s ‘offensive,’ but a ‘clear and present danger’

Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) said he weighed whether to support impeachment based on if he believed Trump would do the same thing again if given a pass, and he said he believed Trump would.

“This president must be impeached and he must be removed, not because he’s been offensive or because of policy disagreements,” Stanton said. “Impeachment is necessary because this president does not believe the law applies to him. Because he poses a clear and present danger to democracy.”

Stanton said if Trump is not impeached it sends the message that there is no difference between right and wrong and presidents’ actions can go unchecked.

If anyone else behaved like Trump they’d be “in a jailhouse and not the White House,” he said.

2:30 a.m.
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‘No one can make me give up on America,’ congresswoman says

Rep. Val Demings, a black congresswoman from Florida, spent much of her opening statement describing her family’s humble origins. Those origins she said, taught her to be a person of integrity and has driven her interest in upholding the Constiution.

“So, regardless of the spirited, sometimes painful debates, no one can make me give up on America,” Demings said. “You see, I believe in the promise of America, because I have seen the promise of America. I come before you tonight as an American dream, realized.”

As Demings spoke, Democrats appeared to listen intently as many Republicans looked down. Demings later said that as a former law enforcement officer, she also understood that nobody is above the law.

“But the law means nothing if the accused — a man who breaks into your house or the president — can destroy evidence, stop the witnesses from testifying and blatantly refuse to cooperate with the investigation.”

She added: “I ask you to name somebody in your family or in your community who can do that.”

1:45 a.m.
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Republican Congressman says impeachment vote will cause Democrats to lose their majority

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) accused Democrats of “looking for any excuse” to impeach Trump since his election and said their efforts would ultimately backfire.

“Democrats are so righteous in their belief the president must be impeached that they ignore plain facts,” Buck said, characterising their impeachment argument as flimsy.

“I tell my colleagues: ‘Go ahead, vote to impeach President Trump tomorrow. But when you walk out of this hearing room call your freshmen colleagues and tell them they’re not coming back and you hope they’ve had their fun,’ ” Buck said. “Say goodbye to your majority status and please join us in 2021 when President Trump is inaugurated again.”

1:15 a.m.
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Jim Jordan says Democrats don’t like Trump voters

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Democrats and liberals are going after Trump and will never stop because they don’t like him or his supporters.

“It’s not just because you don’t like the president, they don’t like us,” Jordan said. “They don’t like the 63 million people who voted for this president. All of us in flyover country, all of us from Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Texas. They don’t like us.”

1:00 a.m.
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Democrat invokes the late Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said Trump’s alleged abuse of power is an affront to a long list of people and groups, including the late Maryland Democratic congressman Elijah E. Cummings.

“It is an affront to the memory of Congressman Elijah Cummings who knew we were better than this,” Cohen said. Cummings was the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which was leading many of the investigations into Trump and his administration.

Cohen also said the founding fathers, in writing impeachment into the Constitution, saw into the future, “and when they did, they saw Donald Trump corrupting our democracy.”

12:45 a.m.
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House Democrats brace for some defections among moderates on impeachment of Trump

House Democratic leaders are bracing for some defections among a group of moderate Democrats in swing districts who are concerned that a vote to impeach Trump could cost them their seats in November.

Lawmakers and senior aides are privately predicting they will lose more than the two Democrats who opposed the impeachment inquiry rules package in late September, according to multiple officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly. Two senior Democratic aides said the total could be as many as a half-dozen while a third said the number could be higher.

Predictions about some defections comes as a core group of centrists from districts Trump won in 2016 are having second thoughts. While many knew impeachment would never be popular in their GOP-leaning districts, some have been surprised that support hasn’t increased despite negative testimony about Trump from a series of blockbuster hearings last month.

Several moderates have privately pined for other options, including a censure vote they know they’re unlikely to get. Others have even considered what one moderate called “splitting the baby”: backing one article of impeachment but not the other to try to show independence from the party.

Read more here.

12:30 a.m.
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Top Republican accuses Democrats of attacking Ukrainian president

Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), the top Republican member on the House Judiciary Committee, said the Democrats are “tearing down a world leader” and calling Zelensky “a liar” by suggesting he felt pressured by Trump when the Ukrainian president has said he didn’t.

“When we can’t make our case, we tear down, not only try to tear down the leader of the free world, President Trump, but we’re tearing down the newly elected leader of the Ukraine. This is amazing to me,” Collins said.

“I never thought we would cross outside of the ocean to try to basically impugn the integrity of a world leader like we have been on the last two hearings,” he added.

One of the Democrats’ central arguments for impeachment is their contention that Trump tried to use a vulnerable ally to help him politically.

Collins, his voice raised to a yell, also railed against the Democrats for not allowing the Republicans to hold a minority hearing, warning that one day the GOP will be back in power and will tell the Democrats they “put a dagger in minority rights.”

12:15 a.m.
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Nadler calls facts against Trump ‘overwhelming’ in opening statement

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) opened Wednesday night’s hearing by detailing the rationale behind the two articles of impeachment drafted agianst President Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

He called the facts, laid out in previous hearings, “overwhelming.”

“President Trump should have been focused on America’s national security,” Nadler said. “Instead, he completely ignored them to push his own personal, political interests.”

Nadler closed with an appeal to House Republicans, reminding them that Trump would not be president forever. He implored them not to justify behavior “that we know in our heart is wrong.”

“When his time has passed, when his grip on our politics is gone, when our country returns, as surely it will, to calmer times and stronger leadership, history will look back on our actions here today. How would you be remembered?” Nadler asked.

“We have each taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I hope to be remembered for honoring that oath. I hope you feel the same.”

12:00 a.m.
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Michael Cohen’s lawyer needles Trump over impeachment in court filing

An attorney for Michael Cohen filed a motion in federal court Wednesday that said his client deserved a reduced jail sentence, arguing, in part, that the Justice Department under Attorney General William P. Barr is not a fair arbitrator because of his “Trumpian subservience.”

Cohen, the former attorney and “fixer” for Trump, who is serving a three-year prison sentence for financial crimes and lying to Congress, has requested his sentence be reduced to a year and one day or to be allowed to spend the duration of his sentence on “home confinement.”

The filing includes many pointed attacks on Trump, and makes several references to the impeachment proceedings.

“With ‘Articles of Impeachment’ drafted and awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives, and with an Inspector General’s Report “hot off the press,” Attorney General William Barr has moved both publicly, and vigorously, to insure that he is aligned with President Trump — a man for whom disruption and rancor know no discernible limits, as reflected by his references to the F.B.I as ‘scum’.”

11:15 p.m.
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Schiff sends classified witness testimony to Judiciary Committee

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a document containing classified witness testimony Wednesday to the Judiciary Committee for consideration before it marks up articles of impeachment, according to a letter from Schiff that accompanied the material and was released publicly.

The letter described the document as a “classified supplemental written submission” from Jennifer Williams, a special adviser on Russia to Vice President Pence who testified in an open impeachment hearing last month. The topic is a Sept. 18 phone call between Pence and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the letter stated.

The classified material was not released publicly, and The Post could not independently verify its contents.

Schiff wrote that his panel asked Pence’s office Dec. 6 to declassify the document “as there is no legitimate basis to assert that the information therein is classified,” but that Pence’s office has not responded. Pence’s office has said the call was classified and cannot be discussed in open settings.

Schiff’s letter stated that Williams provided the supplemental material to the Intelligence Committee through her lawyer Nov. 26, a week after her public testimony.

7:45 p.m.
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Pro-impeachment marches planned for eve of House vote

Trump critics will gather for marches and rallies in hundreds of cities and towns across the United States on the eve of the House vote to impeach the president.

There are more than 430 “Nobody Is Above the Law” events scheduled, according to the Impeach.org website.

The events’ partners include liberal advocacy groups such as MoveOn.org, Indivisible, Center for American Progress, Greenpeace and the Women’s March.

“Events will be visible, family-friendly, public gatherings to demonstrate to our lawmakers that their constituents are behind them to defend the Constitution — and that Trump has left them no alternative to uphold their oath of office but to support impeachment and removal,” the event page says.

The impeachment vote is expected next week.

6:20 p.m.
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Rep. Jordan, GOP lawyer attend Senate Republican lunch

Two figures intimately involved in the House Republican response to the impeachment inquiry visited Senate Republicans on Wednesday, another sign that the probe’s center of gravity is soon moving to the other side of the Capitol building.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a member of the House Judiciary Committee who joined the House Intelligence Committee ahead of last month’s impeachment hearings, attended an official lunch with Senate Republicans.

He was joined by Stephen R. Castor, the general counsel for the House Oversight and Reform Committee, where Jordan is the top Republican. Mirroring his boss, Castor joined the staff of the Intelligence Committee last month to temporarily assist in the impeachment inquiry.

Earlier in the week, Castor gave the Republican perspective on the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment investigation as a witness before the Judiciary Committee. The hearing lasted nearly 10 hours.

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans hosted Jonathan Turley, the professor from George Washington University Law School who testified as a GOP witness before the Judiciary panel last week.