House Dems unveil 2 impeachment articles against Trump
Democrats to proceed with abuse of power, obstruction of Congress charges with full House vote expected next week
Democrats in the House of Representatives announced Tuesday they would proceed with two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“Our president holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security,” Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler said, flanked by top Democrats, during a news conference on Capitol Hill. “The framers of the Constitution prescribed a clear remedy for presidents who so violate their oath of office. That is the power of impeachment.”
The White House dismissed the announcement as a “baseless and partisan attempt to undermine a sitting President,” and a Democratic attempt to “overturn the votes of 63 million Americans.”
“They have determined that they must impeach President Trump because they cannot legitimately defeat him at the ballot box,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
The House’s impeachment process is centered on Trump’s multiple requests to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to declare criminal investigations into leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, as well as claims that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who meddled in the 2016 election.
Also at issue is the holdup of $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine and whether Trump conditioned its release and a possible Oval Office meeting with Zelensky on the Ukrainian president publicly announcing the investigations.
The abuse of power article is focused on Trump’s requests to Ukraine and the hold of aid that was released Sept. 11, while the obstruction article is centered on the president’s order that top officials not participate in the impeachment probe.
“The evidence of the president’s misconduct is overwhelming and uncontested,” said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. “The evidence is every bit as strong that the president has obstructed Congress fully, without precedent and without basis in law. If allowed to stand it would decimate Congress’ ability to conduct oversight of this president or any other in the future.”
Shortly after the announcement, Trump lashed out at Nadler and Schiff, whom he called “a totally corrupt politician,” in a series of tweets in which he said both lawmakers are liars.
“Nadler just said that I ‘pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election.’ Ridiculous, and he knows that is not true,” Trump said, also continuing his charge that Schiff committed fraud when he read a statement during an Intelligence Committee hearing the lawmaker has said was parody.
The Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the articles later this week. The committee’s deliberations will precede a vote likely to send the articles to the full House where a vote is expected next week.
But even in the likely event that the articles clear the House, they are highly unlikely to pass the Senate where they would require a two-thirds majority in the chamber where Republicans hold 53 seats in the 100-member chamber.
To date, the House has only voted three times on articles of impeachment against a sitting president. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were acquitted in Senate trials while Richard Nixon stepped down from office to avoid removal.