House Democrats expected to unveil formal charges in Trump impeachment
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[December 10, 2019]
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the
U.S. House of Representatives were expected to unveil two formal charges
against Donald Trump on Tuesday, moving quickly toward a momentous vote
on whether to impeach the Republican president.
Democratic lawmakers planned to make an announcement on articles of
impeachment on Tuesday morning, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot
Engel said as he left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. He did not
Pelosi's office announced later that the House Committee officials will
hold a press conference on Tuesday morning to announce the next steps in
the impeachment inquiry.
A senior House Democratic aide told Reuters they were expected to draft
two articles of impeachment against Trump, one on abuse of power and the
other on obstruction of Congress.
Democrats accuse Trump of abusing the power of his office by withholding
aid to Ukraine, vulnerable as it faced Russian aggression, as well as
dangling a possible White House meeting to get Ukrainian President
Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a Democratic political rival in the
2020 presidential race.
After weeks of investigation and hearings in the Democratic-led House,
committee leaders met with Pelosi following the last scheduled
impeachment hearing on Monday evening.
Jamie Raskin, a Judiciary Committee Democrat, told reporters Democrats
have identified two patterns of misconduct by Trump: "Bringing in
foreign governments into our politics in order to corrupt our elections"
and "working to cover up this kind of misconduct by blockading
witnesses, withholding evidence and trying to stop people from
Trump has denied wrongdoing and calls the inquiry a hoax. The White
House has refused to participate in the hearings in the House because it
says the process is unfair.
Pelosi launched the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24 after a
whistleblower reported concerns over a July 25 telephone call in which
Trump sought help from Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President
Joe Biden, a leading contender in the Democratic race to challenge Trump
in next year's election.
Democrats say their investigation also shows Trump withheld $391 million
in military aid and a White House meeting to get his Ukrainian
counterpart to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, as well as a
debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S.
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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), left, and
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) speak
to each other as other members question Intelligence Committee
Minority Counsel Stephen Castor and Intelligence Committee Majority
Counsel Daniel Goldman during the House impeachment inquiry
hearings, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 9, 2019.
Doug Mills/Pool via REUTERS
Republicans argue Trump did nothing improper in his call with
Zelenksiy and say there is no direct evidence he withheld aid or a
White House meeting in exchange for a favor.
Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary
Committee, closed the nine-hour hearing on Monday with a
condemnation of Trump's actions.
"The facts are clear. The danger to our democracy is clear and our
duty is clear," Nadler said. Trump "constitutes a continuing threat
to the integrity of our elections and to our democratic system of
"Such conduct is clearly impeachable. This committee will proceed
The Judiciary panel could vote this week on whether to send formal
charges, known as articles of impeachment, to the full House.
If the House approves the articles, as expected, the
Republican-controlled Senate would hold a trial to decide whether to
remove the president from office. A conviction is considered
The final decision on articles of impeachment would be made by
Pelosi, Nadler, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff
and the leaders of three other committees that began investigating
Trump's presidency this year, according to aides.
Leadership was likely to share the plan with rank-and-file members
of the House Democratic caucus, which is due to meet on Tuesday
morning in the U.S. Capitol.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell, Richard Cowan, David Morgan; Writing
by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Peter Cooney and Lincoln Feast.)
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