- The House Judiciary Committee voted to pass two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Friday.
- The committee voted 23-17, along party lines, to pass both articles. The first article of impeachment charges Trump with abuse of power, and the second with obstruction of Congress.
- Next, the articles of impeachment will go to the full floor of the House for a full vote; they’re expected to pass.
- If the House impeaches the president, there will be a trial in the Senate beginning early next year.
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The House Judiciary Committee voted on Friday to pass two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The committee voted 23-17, along party lines, to pass both articles.
The first article of impeachment charges Trump with abuse of power, and the second with obstruction of Congress.
Next, the articles of impeachment will go to the full floor of the House for a final vote; they are expected to pass. If the House impeaches the president, there will be a trial in the Senate beginning early next year.
Senate Republicans have signalled in recent days that they’re aiming for a speedy trial and that they might not even call witnesses to testify. Instead, they may opt to hear Democrats lay out their case for impeachment, allow the Trump team to mount a rebuttal, and move to a final vote.
At the centre of the inquiry is a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son as well as a baseless conspiracy theory alleging Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.
A cascade of testimony from nonpartisan career officials over the past several weeks revealed that the phone call was just one data point in a months-long pressure campaign that Trump and his loyalists carried out to force Ukraine to accede to his political demands.
All the while, Trump withheld nearly $US400 million in vital military aid to Ukraine – which is in a war with Russia – and a White House meeting Zelensky desperately sought.
What the first article of impeachment says
Congress’ first article of impeachment – accusing Trump of abusing his power – said he “engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit.”
“In so doing, President 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 document charged. “He thus ignored and injured the interests of the Nation.”
It said the president engaged in his conduct both directly and through “agents within and outside the United States government.” This was a reference to Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer; Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff; Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the European Union; and others who have been implicated in Trump’s pressure campaign.
Ultimately, the document said, Trump released the hold on military aid when the public learned of his actions “but has persisted in openly and corruptly urging and soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit.”
What the 2nd article of impeachment says
The second article of impeachment, which accuses the president of obstructing Congress, focuses on his efforts to stonewall House investigators as they sought evidence of misconduct.
Trump “has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its ‘sole Power of Impeachment,'” the document said.
It added that in response to Congress’ subpoenas for documents and witness testimony, “without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas.”
He thus “interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives,” it continued.
The document laid out a slew of ways in which Trump abused his office:
- Directing the White House to defy congressional subpoenas for documents.
- Directing other executive-branch agencies and personnel to defy subpoenas for documents.
- Directing current and former officials not to comply with subpoenas for testimony.
“These actions were consistent with President Trump’s previous efforts to undermine United States Government investigations into foreign interference in United States elections,” the document charged, referring to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference in 2016.