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 threatened the integrity of the U.S. election system and endangered national security in his dealings with Ukraine. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by the chairmen of the impeachment inquiry committees, declared at the U.S. Capitol that thy were upholding their solemn oath to defend the Constitution. Voting is expected in a matter of days in the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House. Trump swiftly responded in a capital-letters tweet with the words he uses repeatedly to decry the investigations against him: “WITCH HUNT!” The White House said the charges were “baseless,” and his reelection campaign called them “rank partisanship.” In outlining the charges, Democrats said they had no choice but to act because Trump has shown a pattern of behavior that, if left unchecked, poses risks to the democratic process ahead of the 2020 election. “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; 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.” Nadler said, “No one, not even the president, is above the law.? Chairman Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee said, “We stand here today
House Democrats moved aggressively to draw up formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Thursday, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying he “leaves us no choice” but to act swiftly because he’s likely to corrupt the system again unless removed before next year’s election. A strictly partisan effort at this point, derided immediately by Trump and other leading Republicans as a sham and a hoax, it is a politically risky undertaking. Democrats say it is their duty, in the aftermath of the Ukraine probe, while Republicans say it will drive Pelosi’s majority from office. Congress must act, Nancy Pelosi said. “The democracy is what is at stake.” “The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,” she said in a somber address at the Capitol. “He is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.” Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong. He tweeted that the Democrats “have gone crazy.” At the core of the impeachment probe is a July phone call with the president of Ukraine, in which Trump pressed the leader to investigate Democrats, including political rival Joe Biden. At the same time the White House was withholding military aid from Ukraine, an ally bordering an aggressive Russia. Youtube video thumbnail Drafting articles of impeachment is a milestone moment, only the fourth time in U.S. history Congress has tried to remove a president, and it intensifies
They’ve heard enough. With stunning testimony largely complete, the House, the Senate and the president are swiftly moving on to next steps in the historic impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump. “Frankly, I want a trial,” Trump declared Friday, and it looks like he’s going to get it. Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s staff and others are compiling the panel’s findings. By early December, the Judiciary Committee is expected to launch its own high-wire hearings to consider articles of impeachment and a formal recommendation of charges. A vote by the full House could come by Christmas. A Senate trial would follow in 2020. Congress’ impeachment inquiry, only the fourth in U.S. history, has stitched together what Democrats argue is a relatively simple narrative, of the president leveraging the office for personal political gain, despite Republicans’ assertions that it’s complex, contradictory and unsupported by firsthand testimony. House Democrats may yet call additional witnesses first, notably John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser. But Senate Republicans are already looking ahead to their turn, the January trial that would follow House approval of impeachment charges. Should they try to dispatch with such a trial in short order, which they may not have the votes to do, despite holding 53 seats in the 100-member Senate. Or should they stretch it out, disrupting the Democrats’ presidential primaries under the assumption that it helps more than hurts the GOP and Trump. At this point it seems very unlikely the 45th president will be removed
A bitter fight over funding for border fencing is imperiling Capitol Hill efforts to forge progress on more than $1.4 trillion worth of overdue spending bills, one of the few areas in which divided government in Washington has been able to deliver results in the Trump era. Poisonous political fallout from the ongoing impeachment battle isn’t helping matters. While it appears likely that lawmakers will prevent a government shutdown next month with a government-wide stopgap spending bill, there has been little progress, if any, on the tricky trade-offs needed to balance Democratic demands for social programs with President Donald Trump’s ballooning border wall demands. Even an expected Senate vote on Thursday to pass a $209 billion bundle of four bipartisan spending bills isn’t regarded as much progress, especially since it will be followed by a Democratic filibuster of a massive Pentagon spending bill. At issue are the agency appropriations bills that Congress passes each year to keep the government running. A hard-won budget and debt deal this summer produced a top-line framework for the 12 yearly spending bills, but filling in the details is proving difficult. Democrats say White House demands for $5 billion for Trump’s long-sought U.S.-Mexico border wall have led the GOP-controlled Senate to shortchange Democratic domestic priorities. They say negotiations can’t begin in earnest until spending hikes permitted under the July budget deal are allocated among the 12 appropriations subcommittees more to their liking. Trump is demanding a huge border funding increase that comes mostly at the
“With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself. By obstructing justice, refusing to reply with a congressional inquiry, he’s already convicted himself,” Joe Biden said. “In full view of the world and the American people, Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts.”
As House Democrats fire off more subpoenas, the White House is finalizing a high-stakes strategy to counter the impeachment threat to President Donald Trump: Stall. Obfuscate. Attack. Repeat. Trump aides are honing their approach after two weeks of what allies have described as a listless and unfocused response to the impeachment probe. One expected step is a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejecting the inquiry because Democrats haven’t held a vote on the matter and moving to all but cease cooperation with Capitol Hill on key oversight matters. The strategy risks further provoking Democrats in the impeachment probe, setting up court challenges and the potential for lawmakers to draw up an article of impeachment accusing Trump of obstructing their investigations. But as lawmakers seek to amass ammunition to be used in an impeachment trial, the White House increasingly believes all-out warfare is its best course of action. “What they did to this country is unthinkable. It’s lucky that I’m the president. A lot of people said very few people could handle it. I sort of thrive on it,” Donald Trump said Monday at the White House. “You can’t impeach a president for doing a great job. This is a scam.” House Democrats, for their part, issued a new round of subpoenas on Monday, this time to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting White House budget director Russell Vought. Pelosi’s office also released an open letter signed by 90 former national security officials who served in both Democratic and Republican
A second whistleblower has come forward with information about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, adding to the impeachment peril engulfing the White House and potentially providing new leads to Democrats in their unfurling investigation of Trump’s conduct. Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents both whistleblowers, said in a text message to The Associated Press that the second person has spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog and can corroborate information in the original whistleblower complaint. That document alleged that Trump pushed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s family, prompting a White House cover-up. Crucially, the new whistleblower works in the intelligence field and has “firsthand knowledge” of key events, Zaid said. The emergence of the second whistleblower threatened to undermine arguments from Trump and his allies to discredit the original complaint. They have called it politically motivated, claimed it was filed improperly and dismissed it as unreliable because it was based on secondhand or thirdhand information. A rough transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, released by the White House, has already corroborated the complaint’s central claim that Trump sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The push came even though there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Text messages from State Department officials revealed other details, including that Ukraine was promised a visit with Trump if the government would agree to investigate the 2016 election
If House Democrats press ahead with impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, their case will rest in large part on the claim that he sought a foreign government’s help, with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid in the balance, to dig up dirt on a political opponent to boost his reelection campaign. But, if true, would that be a crime? The answer might not matter. It doesn’t take a criminal act to impeach a president. The Constitution’s standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for impeachment is vague and open-ended to encompass abuses of power even if they aren’t, strictly speaking, illegal, legal scholars say. The controversy centers on a summertime phone call in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to help investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden, according to a transcript the White House provided on Wednesday. A whistleblower’s complaint released Thursday alleged a concerted White House effort to suppress the transcript of the call and described a shadow campaign of diplomacy by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The Justice Department doesn’t think Trump violated any laws in his July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said, “I think we ought to go through the process. I mean, no one has shown me what law has been broken.” But the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., described several potential crimes that could have been committed if Trump withheld “authorized funding of Congress to use as leverage, if the president
The House Judiciary Committee is escalating its impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, preparing a vote as soon as next Wednesday to establish procedures for hearings the panel hopes to hold this fall. The details are still being negotiated, but a procedural vote next week could set rules for the hearings, according to a person familiar with the plan. The person requested anonymity because the resolution is still being worked out and the person wasn’t authorized to discuss it. The rules could include allowing staff to question witnesses; allowing some evidence to be presented in closed sessions to protect sensitive materials; and allowing the president’s counsel to respond in writing to evidence and testimony, among other guidelines. The vote would be similar to procedural votes taken at the beginning of the impeachment investigations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, according to the person. Tentative details of the resolution were discussed on a call with members of the committee Friday as they prepare to return to Washington next week after a six-week recess. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said just before the recess that the committee is already in an impeachment investigation as it has called multiple witnesses related to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and sued the White House for blocking testimony. The vote would make clear that the committee is indeed serious about moving forward with an impeachment probe, even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged caution to members, saying earlier this month that the
Freshman Democratic Rep. Andy Kim came face to face with impeachment fervor at a town hall in New Jersey. “Do your job!” shouted one voter. Several states away, a woman held up a copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and told freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin at a Michigan town hall she hoped she would “be the person that puts us over the top to start an impeachment inquiry.” And in semi-rural Virginia, newcomer Rep. Abigail Spanberger encountered voters with questions, if not resolve, about impeaching President Donald Trump. “I don’t have blood dripping from my fangs for or against impeachment,” said David Sussan, 70, a retired U.S. Postal inspector from Chesterfield, who favors starting an inquiry. “I just want the truth to come out.” It’s these freshman lawmakers, and others like them, who will likely decide when, if ever, House Democrats start formal efforts to impeach the president. Neither Kim, nor Slotkin, nor Spanberger supports impeachment. But with half the House Democrats now in favor of beginning an inquiry, the pressure will only mount on the holdouts to reach a tipping point. And with lawmakers returning home to voters during the August recess, what happens next may prove pivotal. The pro-impeachment group Need to Impeach is running television ads and, along with activists from other groups, fanning out to congressional districts to push lawmakers, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to move more swiftly toward impeachment proceedings. The organization’s lead strategist Kevin Mack says his counsel to lawmakers, especially those
“Things like that to me reflect incredible dishonesty and really harm the office of the presidency. I don’t think that you can just let that stuff go,” Justin Amash told his constituents. “I think you have to have proceedings to deter this kind of conduct even if ultimately the person is not convicted.”
Progressive groups are expressing “deep disappointment” over House Democrats’ unwillingness to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump and are calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to act, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. The groups said in a letter being released Tuesday that voters gave Democrats control of the House “because they wanted aggressive oversight of the Trump administration.” They said: “The Trump era will be one that evokes the question — what did you do? We urge you to use your power to lead and to stop asking us to wait.” Pelosi has been reluctant to launch impeachment proceedings , despite growing numbers of Democrats saying it’s time to start a formal inquiry. She says impeachment requires more public support and would detract from the legislative agenda. Instead, House Democrats are conducting dozens of investigations of the Trump administration , announced a series of new hearings and promised a vote next week to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas. But the groups — whose members include millions of Americans — say those being hurt by the Trump administration’s policies and behavior don’t have the privilege of waiting. “There are people who feel Trump’s boot on their necks every single day,” said Heidi Hess, co-director at CREDO Action. “We expect moral leadership from you.” The groups signing onto the letter to Pelosi include Indivisible and Democracy for America. “As Speaker of
Democratic leaders in Congress have argued that impeaching President Donald Trump is a political mistake as the 2020 election nears. Most of the candidates running to succeed him seem to agree, for now. Fewer than one-third of the 23 Democrats vying for the nomination are issuing calls to start the impeachment process, citing evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report they believe shows Trump obstructed justice . Most others, including leading contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, have found a way to hedge or search for middle ground, supporting investigations that could lead to impeachment or saying Trump’s conduct warrants impeachment but stopping short of any call for such a proceeding. The candidates’ reluctance, even as more congressional Democrats start pushing their leaders in the direction, underscores the risky politics of investigating the president for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Impeachment matters deeply to the party’s base but remains unpopular with most Americans. White House hopefuls may win praise from liberal activists by pressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for an impeachment inquiry, but those who fall short of insisting are unlikely to take heat from early-state primary voters more focused on other issues. “People talk about it and people have opinions about it, but health care is much more salient to them,” Sue Dvorsky, a former head of the Iowa Democratic Party, said in an interview. “I just don’t see Democratic activists here all worked up about impeachment. They trust Pelosi.” The 2020 candidates are facing pressure from the left
The number of Americans who said President Donald Trump should be impeached rose 5 percentage points to 45 percent since mid-April, while more than half said multiple congressional probes of Trump interfered with important government business, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday.
The opinion poll, conducted on Monday, did not make clear whether investigation-fatigued Americans wanted House of Representatives Democrats to pull back on their probes or press forward aggressively and just get impeachment over with.
The question is an urgent one for senior Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives, who are wrestling with whether to launch impeachment proceedings, despite likely insurmountable opposition to it in the Republican-controlled Senate.