Democrats Unveil Two Articles of Impeachment Against Trump

CNN. com | 12/13/2019, 1:59 p.m.
House Democratic leaders announced Tuesday they will bring two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, charging him with abuse ...
Democrats roll out articles of impeachment

House Democratic leaders announced Tuesday they will bring two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress to set in motion the third impeachment of a US president in history.

The announcement of impeachment articles marks the culmination of an intense, fast-moving investigation into the President's dealings with Ukraine and represents a historic choice for lawmakers with less than a year before the next election.

The six House Democratic chairs who have led the investigations against the President this year unveiled the impeachment articles on Tuesday morning with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and they were formally introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.

"Today, in service to our duty to the Constitution and to our country, the House Committee on the Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment, charging the President of the United States Donald J. Trump with committing high crimes and misdemeanors," Nadler said.

Democrats charge that Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals ahead of the 2020 election while withholding a White House meeting and $400 million in US security aid from Kiev. And they say that Trump then obstructed the investigation into his misconduct with a blanket blockade of subpoenas and refusing to allow key senior officials to testify before Congress.

Tuesday's introduction sets the stage for a dramatic impeachment vote on the House floor next week, after the House Judiciary Committee debates and approves the articles beginning on Thursday.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the evidence against Trump was "overwhelming and uncontested," and argued Democrats cannot wait for the judicial branch to rule on the witnesses and documents the Trump administration is blocking from Congress.

"The argument why don't you just wait amounts to this: why don't you just let him cheat in one more election?" said Schiff, a Democrat from California. "Despite everything we have uncovered, the President's misconduct continues to this day, unapologetically and right now."

The White House slammed the introduction of the impeachment articles and said Trump would "address these false charges in the Senate" after the President did not participate in the House proceedings.

"The announcement of two baseless articles of impeachment does not hurt the President, it hurts the American people, who expect their elected officials to work on their behalf to strengthen our nation," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

"The President will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate trial will start "right around the time the bowl games end," at a press briefing following Senate lunches Tuesday. An aide told CNN that McConnell was referring to the January 1 college football games and not the national championship game on January 13.

This is the fourth time a US president is staring down the serious prospect of impeachment. The House voted to impeach Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, who were both acquitted by the Senate, while President Richard Nixon resigned before impeachment articles went to the House floor.