Donald Trump to face two impeachment charges

Democrats in the House of Representatives accuse him of abusing power and obstructing Congress

Updated - November 28, 2021 11:00 am IST

Published - December 10, 2019 07:52 pm IST - WASHINGTON

US House Speaker Nanci Pelosi arrives with House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler to announce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in Washington on December 10, 2019.

US House Speaker Nanci Pelosi arrives with House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler to announce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in Washington on December 10, 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump is being formally charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in the impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine, leading House Democrats announced on Tuesday.

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on the articles later this week, before recommending them to the full House, the committee’s chairman Jerrold Nadler said at a press briefing, where the House’s Democratic leadership, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi were present.

Mr. Trump is the fourth President in American history to face the prospect of a House impeachment, after Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon (who resigned before the vote) and Bill Clinton.

Senate trial

If the House votes next week, and if they vote to impeach Mr Trump (as a Democrat-controlled House is likely to), he will have to stand trial in the Senate — a process that could commence early next year. Current indications are that Mr. Trump will not be convicted by the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.

Based on their impeachment inquiry of over two months, House Democrats have concluded that Mr. Trump conditioned a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy and the release $ 391 million in military aid to Ukraine on the Ukrainians publicly announcing investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rival, former Vice-President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter. Mr. Trump had also wanted Ukraine to probe a thus far unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 American elections.

“Our President holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust, and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security,” Mr. Nadler said on Tuesday.

“It is an impeachable offence for the President to exercise the powers of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest. That is exactly what president trump did when he solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election,” he said, about the abuse of power charge.

A 300-page report by House Democrats last week on their impeachment inquiry’s conclusions said that Mr. Trump tried to obstruct the process by trying to publicly attack and intimidate witnesses. “President Trump engaged in unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of the impeachment inquiry,” Mr Nadler said.

“No one, not even the President, is above the law,” Mr. Nadler said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the argument that Democrats should have waited for the courts to compel individuals who had been ordered by the White House not to testify before the impeachment panel, was giving Mr. Trump the opportunity to cheat again.

“The argument, ‘Why don’t you just wait?’ amounts to this: ‘Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?’,” Mr. Schiff said.

It’s witch hunt: Trump

“WITCH HUNT!” Mr. Trump tweeted shortly after the Democrats’ press briefing had concluded. The President also said that Mr Nadler’s charge that he [ Mr Trump ] pressured Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election was “ridiculous”.

He has denied any wrongdoing and the Republicans have argued that Democrats have been trying to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential elections.

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