As expected, House Democrats have introduced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, formally charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress (obstructing the impeachment inquiry by refusing to cooperate).
That followed a contentious hearing in the committee Monday (Dec. 9), presided over by chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), after which the Dems signaled the articles were coming.
The Democrats are charging that the President used the powers of his public office to obtain improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest. The obstruction charge is for "unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance" of the impeachment inquiry.
The committee will meet later this week to consider the articles and make a recommendation to the full House. That will almost certainly be a politically polarized vote, with the Democratic majority recommending that the House impeach. The full House could then vote as early as next week.
If the House impeaches, the Senate would then conduct the trial. No President has even been convicted by the Senate and removed from office.
"The President who declares himself above the power of impeachment is a President who sees himself as above the law," said Nadler in announcing the articles along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Dems. "No one is above the law."
In response to suggestions by Republicans that the Democrats were rushing the process, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-N.Y.) said of the president: "Why not let him cheat in one more election."
The president tweeted his response to the development:
One Democrat who has long called for impeachment took to the House Floor to urge the Senate to convict.
"The House will vote. The president will be impeached," said Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.), who has been pushing for the president to be impeached for a couple of years. He also said if the Senate does not convict on the two articles, there are other articles that can be offered, and he will offer them if the Senate does not "do its job," by convicting and removing the president. "I have said before and I will say now, he is unfit to be president," said Green.
"I did not come to Congress to impeach the president of the United States, but Donald Trump—and the facts—leave us no choice," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in a statement following the announced articles. "President Trump endangered the sanctity of our elections by inviting foreign interference in our most sacred democratic institution. He betrayed our national security, violated the sacred trust of the American people, and threatened the very future of our democracy. At every turn, the president and his administration have obstructed the House—the people’s representatives—from doing our job and serving as a check against the Executive Branch."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a press conference that the Dems had ignored facts to follow a timeline to impeach a President they didn't like. "This is not a day that America will be proud about," he said. " I just hope no Congress, whoever is in the majority, will take us down this path again."
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.