As the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives began debating articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, expected for a full floor vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the President as an “an ongoing threat to our national security.”
Pelosi’s characterization follows claims Trump improperly pressured the Ukraine to take up politically motivated investigations against Trump’s potential 2020 Democratic Presidential rival, Joe Biden.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “It is a matter of fact that the president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections—the basis of our democracy.” https://t.co/hGjla0XsST pic.twitter.com/Egx4KF86Gn
— ABC News (@ABC) December 18, 2019
Pelosi said it is an “established fact, that the President violated the constitution.”
“It is a matter of fact that the President is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections, the basis of our democracy,” she continued.
Last week, Democrats in the House concluded their impeachment inquiry process into Trump with the announcement of two articles of impeachment: one for abuse of power and the other for obstructing congress.
The first article charges abuse of power, through Trump’s alleged withholding of a Ukrainian defense aid package and a diplomatic visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on conditions he would launch the investigation into Biden.
The second charge, of obstruction of congress, is for Trump’s moves not to comply with requests for testimony and to block other White House officials from testifying. Trump has instead appealed to the courts to determine whether his executive privilege would extend to block the requested testimony.
The House debate is expected to come to a full vote later on Wednesday. The impeachment articles appear likely to pass in the Democratic House, but would then move on to the Republican-controlled Senate.
Trump sent a six-page letter to Pelosi on Tuesday, ahead of the planned floor debate and House vote, criticizing the grounds laid for his impeachment, ABC reported.
He called the first charge for abuse of power, “disingenuous, meritless and baseless,” and argued the transcript of his controversial July 25 call with Zelensky demonstrated he had raised concerns about Biden and possible Ukrainian election interference in 2016 out of concern for the country, rather than personal politics. Trump also cited claims by Zelensky that he felt no pressure in his dealings with Trump.
Arguing against the second impeachment charge alleging obstruction, Trump asserted his effort to seek the opinion of the courts was a constitutional privilege and one that has been used by administrations of both political parties in the past.