Trump Facing Impeachment on Abuse of Power, Obstruction Charges
WASHINGTON — Declaring President Donald Trump had betrayed the nation and his oath of office, House Democrats on Tuesday morning announced they will hold a vote to impeach him on abuse of power and obstruction charges.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, made the historic announcement in the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol, flanked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chairmen of the impeachment inquiry committees.
“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; he endangers our national security,” Nadler said as he stood before a portrait of George Washington and a phalanx of American Flags.
“We do not take this action lightly,” he continued. “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. That is why we must take this historic step today.
“Elections are the cornerstone of democracy and are foundational to the rule of law,” Nadler said. “But the integrity of our next election is at risk from a president who has already sought interference in the 2016 and 2020 elections and who has consistently put himself above the country.
“No one, not even the president, is above the law,” he concluded.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said “We stand here today because the president’s abuse of power leaves us with no choice.”
Schiff then reiterated the House Democrat’s case, arguing that Trump solicited the announcement of an investigation by Ukraine into former Vice President Joe Biden, his son, Hunter, and “a baseless conspiracy theory promoted by Russia to help his re-election campaign.”
He went on to say Trump further betrayed his oath by refusing to cooperate with congressional investigators and encouraging several current and former administration officials to ignore subpoenas for testimony.
“The evidence that President Trump obstructed Congress is fully without precedent,” Schiff said. “To allow it to stand would decimate Congress’s ability to conduct oversight of this president and any other in the future.”
The articles say Trump “used the powers of the presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”
The first article, on abuse of power, says Trump “corruptly” solicited Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and required the investigations before previously approved military aide was released or a White House meeting was scheduled with Ukranian President Zelenskiy.
The second article, obstruction of Congress, says Trump has “directed the unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas” issued by the House, and that such behavior was “offensive to, and subversive of” the Constitution.
“In the history of the republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,'” the second article reads.
The Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the two articles of impeachment in a matter of days, and a vote by the full House could occur by Christmas.
One House member who is assured to vote no is Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.
“I can’t believe they’ve actually done this,” he said, following the press conference. “After three months of telling the American public the president committed a crime, this is all they’ve got?”
The president was more succinct.
“Witch Hunt!” he said in a tweet as the Democrats were speaking.
If the House votes to impeach, the case would then be sent to the Senate for trial.
Though the Republican majority in the Senate is unlikely to convict the president, the trial is likely to be a bitter spectacle unfolding as voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina are preparing to cast the first votes of the 2020 election.
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