Dems un­veil 2 ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment against Trump

The Saline Courier - - NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON — House Democrats an­nounced two ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment Tues­day against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — abuse of power and ob­struc­tion of Congress -- push­ing to­ward his­toric votes over charges he cor­rupted the U.S. elec­tion process and en­dan­gered na­tional se­cu­rity.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by the chair­men of the im­peach­ment in­quiry com­mit­tees, stood at the Capi­tol in what she called a “solemn act.’’ Vot­ing is ex­pected in a mat­ter of days in the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee and by Christ­mas in the full House.

“He en­dan­gers our democ­racy, he en­dan­gers our na­tional se­cu­rity,” said Rep. Jer­rold Nadler, D-N.Y., the Ju­di­ciary chair­man an­nounc­ing the charges be­fore a por­trait of Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton. “Our next elec­tion is at risk... That is why we must act now.”

The charges un­veiled Tues­day stem from Trump’s pres­sure on Ukraine to an­nounce in­ves­ti­ga­tions of his po­lit­i­cal ri­vals as he with­held aid to the coun­try.

Trump tweeted ahead of the an­nounce­ment that im­peach­ing a pres­i­dent with a record like his would be “sheer Po­lit­i­cal Mad­ness!”

The out­come, though, ap­pears in­creas­ingly set as the House pre­pares for vot­ing, as it has only three times in his­tory against a U.S. pres­i­dent.

In draft­ing the ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment, Pelosi is fac­ing a le­gal and po­lit­i­cal chal­lenge of bal­anc­ing the views of her ma­jor­ity while hit­ting the Con­sti­tu­tion’s bar of “trea­son, bribery or other high crimes and mis­de­meanors.”

Some lib­eral law­mak­ers wanted more ex­pan­sive charges en­com­pass­ing the find­ings from former spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s probe of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion. Cen­trist Democrats pre­ferred to keep the im­peach­ment ar­ti­cles more fo­cused on Trump’s ac­tions to­ward Ukraine. House Democrats have an­nounced two ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment charg­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with abuse of power and ob­struc­tion of Congress.

AP’S ear­lier story re­gard­ing this mat­ter:

House Democrats are ex­pected to un­veil two ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment Tues­day against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — abuse of power and ob­struc­tion of Congress — push­ing to­ward his­toric votes as the pres­i­dent in­sists he did “NOTH­ING” wrong.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of the morn­ing an­nounce­ment that Trump tried to “cor­rupt our up­com­ing elec­tions” and re­mains a “threat to our democ­racy and na­tional se­cu­rity.”

Pelosi said in a tweet that the House was tak­ing next steps to “de­fend’ the democ­racy.”

Demo­cratic lead­ers are lay­ing out next steps af­ter their im­peach­ment in­quiry de­ter­mined Trump put U.S. elec­tions and na­tional se­cu­rity at risk when he asked Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate his ri­vals, in­clud­ing Demo­crat Joe Bi­den, while with­hold­ing needed mil­i­tary aid. They say he then tried to ob­struct Congress’ in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Trump, mean­while, in­sisted he did “NOTH­ING” wrong and that im­peach­ing a pres­i­dent with a record like his would be “sheer Po­lit­i­cal Mad­ness!”

Democrats have not pub­lic re­leased their plans. De­tails were shared by mul­ti­ple peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions but not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss them and granted anonymity.

Pelosi de­clined dur­ing an event Mon­day evening to dis­cuss the ar­ti­cles or the com­ing an­nounce­ment. De­tails were shared by mul­ti­ple peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions but not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss them and granted anonymity.

When asked if she has enough votes to im­peach the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent, Pelosi leader said she would let House law­mak­ers vote their con­science.

“On an is­sue like this, we don’t count the votes. Peo­ple will just make their voices known on it,” Pelosi said at The Wall Street Jour­nal CEO Coun­cil. “I haven’t counted votes, nor will I.”

The out­come, though, ap­pears in­creas­ingly set as the House pre­pares to vote, as it has only three times in his­tory against a U.S. pres­i­dent.

Trump, who has de­clined to mount a de­fense in the im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings, tweeted Tues­day just as the five Demo­cratic House com­mit­tee chair­men pre­pared to make their an­nounce­ment.

“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,” he wrote on Twit­ter.

The pres­i­dent also spent part of Mon­day tweet­ing against the im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings. He and his al­lies have called the process “ab­surd.”

Pelosi con­vened a meet­ing of the im­peach­ment com­mit­tee chair­men at her of­fice in the Capi­tol late Mon­day fol­low­ing an ac­ri­mo­nious, nearly 10-hour hear­ing at the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, which could vote as soon as this week.

“I think there’s a lot of agree­ment,” Rep. Eliot

Engel of New York, the Demo­cratic chair­man of the For­eign Af­fairs com­mit­tee, told re­porters as he ex­ited Pelosi’s of­fice. “A lot of us be­lieve that what hap­pened with Ukraine es­pe­cially is not some­thing we can just close our eyes to.”

At the Ju­di­ciary hear­ing, Democrats said Trump’s push to have Ukraine in­ves­ti­gate ri­val Joe Bi­den while with­hold­ing U.S. mil­i­tary aid ran counter to U.S. pol­icy and ben­e­fited Rus­sia as well as him­self.

“Pres­i­dent Trump’s per­sis­tent and con­tin­u­ing ef­fort to co­erce a for­eign coun­try to help him cheat to win an elec­tion is a clear and present dan­ger to our free and fair elec­tions and to our na­tional se­cu­rity,” said Dan Gold­man, the di­rec­tor of in­ves­ti­ga­tions at the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, pre­sent­ing the find­ing of the panel’s 300-page re­port of the in­quiry.

Repub­li­cans re­jected not just Gold­man’s con­clu­sion of the Ukraine mat­ter; they also ques­tioned his very ap­pear­ance be­fore the Ju­di­ciary panel. In a se­ries of heated ex­changes, they said Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair­man of the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, should ap­pear rather than send­ing his lawyer.

From the White House, Trump tweeted re­peat­edly, as­sail­ing the “Witch Hunt!” and “Do Noth­ing Democrats.”

In draft­ing the ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment, Pelosi is fac­ing a le­gal and po­lit­i­cal chal­lenge of bal­anc­ing the views of her ma­jor­ity while hit­ting the Con­sti­tu­tion’s bar of “trea­son, bribery or other high crimes and mis­de­meanors.”

Some lib­eral law­mak­ers wanted more ex­pan­sive charges en­com­pass­ing the find­ings from former spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s probe of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion. Cen­trist Democrats pre­ferred to keep the im­peach­ment ar­ti­cles more fo­cused on Trump’s ac­tions to­ward Ukraine.

Rep. Jer­rold Nadler, D-N.Y., was blunt as he opened Mon­day’s hear­ing, say­ing, “Pres­i­dent Trump put him­self be­fore coun­try.”

Trump’s con­duct, Nadler said at the end of the day­long hear­ing, “is clearly im­peach­able.”

Rep. Doug Collins of Ge­or­gia, the top Repub­li­can on the com­mit­tee, said Democrats are rac­ing to jam im­peach­ment through on a “clock and a cal­en­dar” ahead of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

“They can’t get over the fact that Don­ald Trump is the pres­i­dent of the United States, and they don’t have a can­di­date that can beat him,” Collins said.

In one testy ex­change,

Repub­li­can at­tor­ney Stephen Cas­tor dis­missed the tran­script of Trump’s cru­cial call with Ukraine as “eight am­bigu­ous lines” that did not amount to the pres­i­dent seek­ing a per­sonal po­lit­i­cal fa­vor.

Democrats ar­gued vig­or­ously that Trump’s mean­ing could not have been clearer in seek­ing po­lit­i­cal dirt on Bi­den, his pos­si­ble op­po­nent in the 2020 elec­tion.

The Repub­li­cans tried numer­ous times to halt or slow the pro­ceed­ings, and the hear­ing was briefly in­ter­rupted early on by a pro­tester shout­ing, “We voted for Don­ald Trump!” The pro­tester was es­corted from the House hear­ing room by Capi­tol Po­lice.

The White House is re­fus­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the im­peach­ment process. Trump and and his al­lies ac­knowl­edge he likely will be im­peached in the Demo­cratic-con­trolled House, but they also ex­pect ac­quit­tal next year in the Se­nate, where Repub­li­cans have the ma­jor­ity.

The pres­i­dent was fo­cused in­stead on

Mon­day’s long-awaited re­lease of the Jus­tice De­part­ment re­port into the 2016 Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The in­spec­tor gen­eral found that the FBI was jus­ti­fied in open­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ties be­tween the Trump pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and Rus­sia and that the FBI did not act with po­lit­i­cal bias, de­spite “se­ri­ous per­for­mance fail­ures” up the bureau’s chain of com­mand.

Democrats say Trump abused his power in a July 25 phone call when he asked Ukrainian Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Ze­len­skiy for a fa­vor in in­ves­ti­gat­ing Democrats. That was bribery, they say, since Trump was with­hold­ing nearly $400 mil­lion in mil­i­tary aid that Ukraine de­pended on to counter Rus­sian ag­gres­sion.

Pelosi and Democrats point to what they call a pat­tern of mis­con­duct by Trump in seek­ing for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in elec­tions from Mueller’s in­quiry of the Rus­sia probe to Ukraine.

In his re­port, Mueller said he could not deter­mine that Trump’s cam­paign con­spired or co­or­di­nated with Rus­sia in the 2016 elec­tion. But Mueller said he could not ex­on­er­ate Trump of ob­struct­ing jus­tice in the probe and left it for Congress to deter­mine.

AP

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-calif., makes a state­ment at the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day. Pelosi an­nounced that the House is mov­ing for­ward to draft ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

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