House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks next to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler(L), Democrat of New York, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as they announce articles of impeachment for US President Donald Trump during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, December 10, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Democrats unveil articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power, obstruction

WASHINGTON _ House Democrats will charge President Donald Trump with at least two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Democratic leaders announced Tuesday morning.

“We must be clear: no one, not even the president, is above the law,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). “We do not take this action lightly, but we have taken an oath to defend the constitution.”

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to approve the articles – and potentially add more charges – during a legislative session on Thursday that could last upwards of 24 hours. The full House would then vote on whether to impeach the president next week.

On the heels of Monday’s hearing to receive evidence collected over the past two months, Democrats met Tuesday morning to discuss the impeachment effort.

Democrats say Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals _ which came while he withheld a promised White House visit for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and nearly $400 million in congressionally mandated security aid for the Eastern European country _ is an impeachable offense.

“The president’s continuing abuse of power has left us no choice,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, which conducted the bulk of the investigation into Ukraine. “The evidence of the president’s misconduct is overwhelming and uncontested. … And when the president got caught, he committed his second impeachable act.”

Republicans argue Trump was working within his authority to direct foreign policy and had legitimate concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

Even with leadership’s announcement, there is debate among lawmakers about how expansive the articles should be. Many Democrats, particularly progressives, want to see a broad case made against the president including obstruction of justice for Trump’s actions documented in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian election interference, including trying to fire Mueller.

More moderate lawmakers, especially those who represent districts Trump won in 2016, have advocated for a targeted approach largely focused on Ukraine.

By Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times

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