WASHINGTON. D.C. — Democratic leaders in the House announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday morning, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“It is an impeachable offense for the president to exercise powers of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest,” said Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the Judiciary committee. “That is exactly what President Trump did when he solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election, thus damaging our national security, undermining the integrity of the next election and violating his oath to the American people.”
Fremont Congressman Ro Khanna has urged the House to vote on impeachment for months, but not all Democrats were entirely convinced at first. San Jose Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who sits on the committee that drafted the impeachment articles, said last month she thought there needed to be more fact finding. But in an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Lofgren said she thought both charges were strong and backed by evidence.
Lofgren also used her five minutes of questioning during the judiciary committee’s impeachment hearing Monday to highlight the president’s possible abuse of power.
“Ambassador Sondland testified that, according to Rudy Giuliani, ‘President Trump wanted a public statement from President Zelensky committing to investigations of Burisma and the 2016 election, isn’t that correct?” Lofgren asked the Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman.
Golden replied ‘yes.’
“He just wanted the public announcement, the private confirmation was not enough,” he said, “and that’s an indication that he wanted the political benefit from them.”
Lofgren said it appears that the president has “abused the power of his office to help his own re-election campaign.”
“He used a foreign government to do his bidding, and he used military aid as leverage to get the job done,” Lofgren said.
It’s been a little more than a month since the House Intelligence Committee held hearings with a dozen top U.S. diplomats, including Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to the European Union. Silicon Valley Congresswoman Anna Eshoo sat in the audience during two of the public hearings. She lauded the bravery of members from the president’s administration for coming forward.
“That is a source of pride for the people of our country to see that. It is to me,” Eshoo said.
Last month when Eshoo was asked about which articles of impeachment could be presented against the president, she replied: “Certainly obstruction of congress.”
The congresswoman’s judgement seems to have been correct — Nadler said Trump’s refusal to cooperate with Congressional investigators led to this second charge.
“It’s never happened before, refused to provide anything to the House of Representatives. I mean, not a document. He told all of the employees in the executive branch they couldn’t testify. Some did anyhow. That’s an unprecedented obstruction of congress. You just can’t have that,” Lofgren said in an interview Tuesday with CNN.
Two hours after the Democrats’ announcement, California Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy gave an impassioned response. “It is not difficult to defend this president but it is very difficult to defend this Congress on what they have done and history will not be kind to them,” McCarthy said.
The president quickly made statements on Twitter rebuking the charges.
To Impeach a President who has proven through results, including producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history, to have one of the most successful presidencies ever, and most importantly, who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness! #2020Election
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019
Chairman Nadler says the Judiciary committee will meet later this week to consider the articles of impeachment and make a recommendation to the full House of Representatives. A full vote in the House is expected before Christmas.