The Democrat-led U.S. House on Tuesday introduced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, one alleging abuse of power and a second for trying to impede the congressional investigation of that alleged abuse.
The charges stem from Trump's effort to inject American electoral politics into its foreign policy dealings with Ukraine.
Nadler: Abuse Of Power Is 'Exactly What President Trump Did'
It is an impeachable offense for a president to use the power of his office to obtain a personal benefit while ignoring or injuring American interests, Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a short, solemn news conference in Washington.
"That is exactly what President Trump did when he solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 election," Nadler said.
Trump is accused of asking Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Trump's potential Democratic rival in the 2020 election, Joe Biden.
Trump has also tried to stonewall the congressional investigation with "unprecedented, categorial and indiscriminate defiance of the impeachment inquiry," leading to the second charge, Nadler 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."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave brief opening remarks at the start of the news conference but did not substantively address the Democrats' decision to move forward with impeachment articles, and took no questions afterward.
Pelosi and other Democrats had moved cautiously, fearful of overreaching and boosting Trump's support as he fights what he has called a "hoax" investigation and a "witch hunt."
The president's only response to the introduction of the articles of impeachment on Tuesday focused on the politics of the move, rather than the substance of the allegations, with the president again arguing that any accomplishments of his administration outweigh the details of how he governs — and that he hasn't done anything wrong.
To Impeach a President who has proven through results, including producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history, to have one of the most successful presidencies ever, and most importantly, who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness! #2020Election
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019
Schiff Addresses Question Of Timing
Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, acknowledged suggestions that Democrats should simply wait for voters to decide in 2020 whether to punish Trump, and said that would amount to an oversight of the required duties of Congress.
"To do nothing would make ourselves complicit in the president's abuse of his high office, the public trust and international security," Schiff said.
There's also a practical need to intervene, he said.
"Why don't you just let him cheat in one more election?" Schiff said. "Why not let him have foreign help just one more time? That is what that argument amounts to."
Trump's misconduct speaks to whether a free and fair election can be held in 2020, he said.
"The president's oath of office appears to mean very little to him," Schiff said. "Our oath means something to us."
House Democrats haven't said publicly when the full House might vote on the articles, but some media outlets are reporting that congressional sources have suggested the vote could come as early as next week.
White House photo by Shealah Craighead.
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