- House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
- The first article is abuse of power, and focuses on Trump’s efforts to urge Ukraine to investigate a political opponent.
- The second article is obstruction of Congress, which zeroes in on Trump’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.
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House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday in relation to his dealings with Ukraine, and his efforts to pressure the country into launching investigations that would aid his reelection campaign.
“Today, in service to our duty to the Constitution and our country, the House Committee on the Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment charging the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, for committing high crimes and misdemeanours,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said as he announced the articles alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other committee leaders.
“Our president holds the ultimate public trust,” Nader said. “When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy, and he endangers our national security.”
The first article accuses Trump of abuse of power, and the second of obstruction of Congress.
The House Judiciary Committee is poised to vote on the articles within the week, and the full House is expected to hold a vote before Christmas. This means Trump could be impeached before the end of the year.
The articles and what they mean:
Abuse of power
- This article focuses on Trump’s efforts to urge Ukraine to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine – not Russia – interfered in the 2016 election.
- The article also zeroes in on Trump withholding roughly $US400 million in military aid to Ukraine as he simultaneously urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations into his political rivals.
- Trump is being accused of soliciting a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election, given Biden is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
- “It is an impeachable offence for the president to exercise the powers of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest,” Nadler said. “That is exactly what President Trump did when he solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election, thus damaging our national security, undermining the integrity of the next election, and violating his oath to the American people.”
- Nadler said the president’s actions toward Ukraine were consistent with Trump’s “previous invitations of foreign interference in our 2016 presidential election,” alluding to the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.
- Trump urged Ukraine to investigate the Bidens in relation to Hunter’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma Holdings. He has alleged that the former vice president pushed Ukraine to fire a prosecutor to shield Burisma and Hunter from being investigated, but there’s no evidence of this. There’s also no evidence that the Bidens were involved in any illegal activities in Ukraine.
- Trump has defended placing the $US400 million in congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine by citing concerns about corruption and Europe not doing more to aid Kiev. But testimony from impeachment witnesses has contradicted the corruption narrative, suggesting Trump sought to use the aid as part of a broad scheme to pressure Zelensky into announcing the investigations that could help his 2020 reelection campaign.
- “We stand here today because the president’s continuing abuse of his power has left us no choice,” said Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, whose committee last Tuesday released a report on its investigation into Trump’s Ukraine dealings.
- Schiff said: “The president’s misconduct is as simple and as terrible as this: President Trump solicited a foreign nation, Ukraine, to publicly announce investigations of his opponent and a baseless conspiracy theory promoted by Russia to help his reelection campaign.”
- “In so doing, he undermined our national security and jeopardized the integrity of our next election,” Schiff added, echoing Nadler.
Obstruction of Congress
- The obstruction article focuses on Trump’s efforts to stonewall the inquiry into his Ukraine dealings, including defying subpoenas for testimony and documents.
- The Trump administration has refused to comply with any requests from Democrats in the impeachment inquiry, and sought to block witnesses from testifying to House investigators.
- “President Trump engaged in unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of the impeachment inquiry,” Nadler said in announcing the obstruction article. “We must be clear, no one, not even the president, is above the law.”
- “Trump has attempted to conceal evidence from Congress and the American people,” Nadler said of the president’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.
This article will continue to be updated.
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