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U.S. House of Representatives Introduces Articles of Impeachment

On December 10, House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment against President Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The articles are available here.

Abuse of power

The first article argues that Trump should be impeached because he abused his power by using it for personal gain at the expense of national interests. Trump attempted to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election in order to help his own campaign. He asked the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as a false theory fomented by Russia that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election. In order to convince Ukraine to cooperate with him, Trump withheld $391 million in military aid and refused to meet directly with Ukrainian officials.

According to the article, these actions compromised national security and the democratic election process. Since Trump put his own interests above those of the country, the article argues, he has abused the power given to him in the U.S. Constitution.

Obstruction of Congress

“Obstruction of Congress” essentially means that Trump undermined the ability of Congress to perform its Constitutional duty of checking the power of the Executive branch. Congress was exercising a check on the Executive’s power by launching the impeachment inquiry into Trump. According to the second article, Trump’s refusal to comply with subpoenas and turn over requested documents indicates that he tried to undermine this inquiry.

Without lawful cause, Trump instructed Executive agencies and officials not to comply with subpoenas issued by the Congressional committees investigating Trump. Those that defied their subpoenas as a result include the White House, the Department of State, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, OMB Director Russel Vought, and White House aides Robert Blair, John Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Preston Wells Griffith, Michael Duffey, Brian McCormack and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl.

Since Trump attempted to prevent Congress from doing its job as described in the Constitution, the article argues, he defied his own Constitutional duties to faithfully execute the office of the President, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

What’s next in the Trump impeachment inquiry

House Democrats are making an effort to move quickly through the impeachment process, out of concern that, if they take too long, Trump will continue to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election. In response to arguments that Democrats should wait until the 2020 elections to get Trump out of office, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) responded that those criticisms essentially mean, “‘Why don’t you let him cheat in one more election?'”

In order for the House to vote on impeachment, the articles of impeachment must pass the House Judiciary Committee. Since the committee is made up of mostly Democrats, the articles are expected to pass with little resistance by the end of this week. The House could then vote on impeachment as early as next week.

The House is controlled by Democrats, who are expected to vote in favor of impeaching Trump.

If Trump is impeached, a trial will be held in the Senate to determine if he should be removed from office. However, he will only be removed if two-thirds of the Senate vote to convict. Because the Senate is controlled by Republicans, they are expected to acquit Trump instead.

Information about the original July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky can be found here.

A guide to the various people and events in the Trump impeachment inquiry is available here.

Image credit to PBS News. 

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