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House Democrats announce 2 official impeachment charges against Trump – read them here

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) hold a press conference on Oct. 2, 2019 on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
December 10, 2019

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Tuesday announced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump following weeks of impeachment hearings into the events surrounding a controversial July phone call with Trump’s Ukrainian counterpart.

The first article of impeachment is for abuse of power, which Nadler said Trump did when he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure the investigation of former Vice President and 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden. The second article of impeachment is for obstruction of congress; a charge the committee laid out against Trump for refusing subpoenas and blocking the testimony of other witnesses, citing executive privilege.

“A President who declares himself above accountability, above the American people and above Congress’ power of impeachment, which is meant to protect against threats to our democratic institutions, is a President who sees himself as above the law,” Nadler said before announcing the impeachment charges.

The abuse of power charge follows claims Trump withheld a White House visit from Zelensky and a $400 million foreign aid package in exchange for an investigation against Biden.

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff followed Nadler’s remarks with his own assessment of the need for impeachment against Trump.

“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?,” Schiff said.

Schiff appeared to allude to claims the Trump campaign sought illicit support from the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election. Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, which spent almost two years investigating the Russia collusion allegations, did not establish the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russians.

In discussing the new impeachment charges, Schiff said Trump’s actions constitute a new effort to elicit the help of a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 elections.

The charge for obstructing Congress come amid weeks of contentions with the impeachment process by both the Trump White House and the minority Republicans in the House of Representatives. The impeachment process began without a House vote and was affirmed after the fact.

During last Wednesday’s testimony from legal experts, one constitutional scholar – Jonathan Turley – argued Trump was within his powers to challenge congressional subpoenas in the court system.

“If you make a high crime and misdemeanor out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power. It’s your abuse of power,” Turley said last week before lawmakers weighing the different impeachment charges.

Turley at the time also criticized the speed at which Democrats have moved through the impeachment process.

Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee also criticized the speedy process on Tuesday.

“Democrats are concerned more about the clock and calendar than facts or fairness,” Collins said.

Collins said the charge of abuse of power is ambiguous and lacks a clear definition.