Democrats unveil 2 articles of impeachment against Trump

Source: Politico | December 10, 2019 | Andrew Desiderio, Kyle Cheney and Heather Caygle

Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” by abusing his power and obstructing Congress, lawmakers said.

House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment Tuesday morning charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, a historic step that will define Trump’s presidency and plunge Washington even deeper into a state of partisan polarization.

“We do not take this action lightly, but we have taken an oath to defend the Constitution — and unlike President Trump, we understand that our duty first and foremost is to protect the Constitution and to protect the interests of the American people,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said. “That is why we must take this solemn step today.”

Standing alongside Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Nadler said Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” by soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election and blocking the House’s efforts to investigate the matter.

The announcement comes ahead of the Judiciary Committee’s plans to approve the articles later this week — on Thursday, according to multiple Democrats — with a full House vote expected next week.

The unveiling of the articles comes a day after impeachment investigators presented their evidence to the Judiciary panel, with Democrats accusing Trump of placing his personal political interests over U.S. national security when he sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Democrats allege that Trump pressured Ukraine’s president to open a baseless investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as other Democratic adversaries — and withheld a crucial White House meeting and military aid to extract the declaration of the probes.

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Nadler said the articles of impeachment outline how Trump “compromised our national security and threatened the integrity of our elections,” and subsequently “attempted to conceal evidence” when he sought to block investigators’ access to key witnesses and documents as part of their investigation.

Nadler added that Trump “engaged in unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance,” summarizing the article charging Trump with obstruction of Congress. It was a nod to the third article of Richard Nixon’s impeachment — a process that was halted when Nixon ultimately resigned.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the facts uncovered by impeachment investigators are “overwhelming and uncontested,” even as Republicans continue to assert that there is no direct evidence tying Trump to the Ukraine scheme that Democrats have portrayed.

Democrats sought to use the articles to outline a “pattern” of Trump’s alleged misconduct, including his efforts to thwart special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Nadler said the articles are “consistent with President Trump’s previous invitations of foreign interference in the 2016 election.”

The House must act now, Schiff emphasized, because Trump is continuing to solicit interference from foreign governments ahead of the 2020 election.

“Despite everything we have uncovered the president’s misconduct continues to this day, unapologetically and right now,” Schiff said. “The argument ‘why don’t you just wait’ amounts to this: Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election?”

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