House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and six Democratic committee chairs unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, one for abuse of power and one for obstruction of Congress.
Before a row of four American flags in the Rayburn Room at the Capitol, the Democrats announced the next steps in the impeachment process, which was launched in September with an inquiry into President Donald Trump’s effort to get the president of Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.
Broadcast and cable networks covered the announcement, as dozens of reporters and photographers packed into the Rayburn Room, notable for its Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said that they would be charging Trump “with committing high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“Our president holds the ultimate public trust,” Nadler said. “When he betrays that trust and puts himself before the country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers the Constitution, and he endangers our national security.”
He sounded the alarm over the president’s conduct, albeit he did not get into the details of whether Trump sought a quid pro quo with Ukraine. Rather, he framed Trump’s actions as an effort to get a foreign country to interfere with the next election to serve his own personal benefit.
“The integrity of our next election is at risk from a president who has already sought foreign interference in the 2016 and 2020 elections and who consistently puts himself above country,” Nadler said. “That’s why we must act now.”
He said that the House Judiciary Committee would meet later this week to take up the articles.
Republicans have repeatedly claimed that Pelosi and other top Democrats were trying to speed impeachment through the House, refusing to wait until courts rule on whether Trump administration figures have to comply with a bevy of subpoenas.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said that waiting for court adjudication would take many months — and suggested that stonewalling was part of a strategy on the part of the Trump White House to delay impeachment until after the election.
“The argument of, ‘Why don’t you just wait?,’ amounts to this: Why don’t you just let him cheat in the next election?” Schiff said.
Pelosi and the committee chairs did not take questions. She called the moment a “somber” occasion, but also is determined to show that the House leadership is not delaying other work as it pursues impeachment. Later on Tuesday, she was to hold a press conference on the next steps in the USMCA, the update to the North American Free Trade Agreement that is one of Trump’s signature legislative goals this year.
Less than an hour after the articles of impeachment were unveiled, Trump tweeted, “Nadler just said that I ‘pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election.’ Ridiculous, and he knows that is not true. Both the President & Foreign Minister of Ukraine said, many times, that there ‘WAS NO PRESSURE.’ Nadler and the Dems know this, but refuse to acknowledge!” He also tweeted that the impeachment effort was a “witch hunt.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “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!”
But even he turned to the USMCA and its prospects for passage.
“Looking like very good Democrat support for USMCA. That would be great for our Country!” he wrote.
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