The 2 articles of impeachment against President Trump explained – and what happens next
WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – are charges of wrongdoing that lay out specific assertions of how the president violated the U.S. Constitution and the oath of his office.
Each of the articles will be voted on separately by the Judiciary Committee later this week, possibly Thursday. Those the panel approves will go to the full House for a vote, probably with a simple majority in the Democratic-controlled body on each article.
Those that pass will be sent on to the Senate, which must hold a trial. If two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 senators, vote to convict, Trump would be removed from office and Vice President Mike Pence would become commander in chief.
Here is each article explained:
Abuse of Power
The allegation of abuse of power stems from Trump’s decision to withhold roughly $400 million of congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine until the country announced an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival.
In a July 25 phone call, Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden, and his son, Hunter, who worked for the Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings. The “favor,” as Trump described it, was made despite a lack of evidence that Biden or his son had engaged in corrupt activities, according to the House Intelligence report.
Democrats allege the pressure Trump exerted on a foreign ally amounted to an unconstitutional use of his office for political and personal gain by trying to wound a top opponent in a way that would help Trump win re-election in 2020.
Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-NY, said the president sought “to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest.”
Trump and his GOP allies have dismissed the allegation, saying the aid was released and Ukraine never made an announcement to investigate the Bidens. In addition, they point to Zelensky’s statements that he never felt pressure to act in exchange for the aid.
Trump said Zelensky’s denial is proof that he “has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls.”
Obstruction of Congress
The allegations of obstruction are based on Trump’s lack of cooperation with the House inquiry, including defying subpoenas for documents and testimony.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in an Oct. 8 letter to Pelosi and other House leaders that the inquiry is being conducted in a manner that “violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.”
But Democrats say the decision to withhold documents and prevent witnesses from testifying as part of the Ukraine probe violates the fundamental check-and-balance system between the branches of government the country’s founders said was vital to the republic’s survival.
The White House prevented a number of mid-level and top staffers from testifying, in part because the process wouldn’t allow the president to call or cross-examine witnesses. Trump tweeted last month he wanted people to testify but was “fighting for future presidents and the Office of the President” by not letting them appear before Congress.
Despite the directive not to appear, several administration officials did testify under subpoena.
The Intelligence report said Trump intimidated witnesses who appeared before the Intelligence Committee as part of the inquiry by questioning their patriotism and subjecting them to mockery.
Source: USA Today