House Democrats have unveiled their articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, accusing him of abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress' attempts to investigate him.
"Today, in service to our duty to the Constitution and to our country, the House Committee on the Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment, charging the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, with committing high crimes and misdemeanors," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said. "The first article is for abuse of power. It is an impeachable offense for the president to exercise the powers of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest. That is exactly what President Trump did when he solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election."
Furthermore, "when he was caught," Nadler said, "when the House investigated and opened an impeachment inquiry, President Trump engaged in unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of the impeachment inquiry. This gives rise to the second article of impeachment for obstruction of Congress.
"Our president holds the ultimate public trust," Nadler said. "When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy, and he endangers our national security."
The articles were announced at a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday morning, just one day after the House Judiciary Committee held its second public hearing of the impeachment process — where lawmakers heard presentations from staff lawyers — and less than a week after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on Democrats to move forward with impeachment articles.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called impeachment "an extraordinary remedy" for presidential behavior "and one that I've been reluctant to recommend until the actions of President Trump gave Congress no alternative."
Schiff also addressed questions about why congressional investigators wouldn't wait and go through the courts to get witnesses and testimony that the White House refused to provide during the the House's investigation. The California Democrat explained that doing so could take several months and would amount to letting Trump "cheat in one more election."
Notably absent from the proposed articles are charges of bribery, an impeachable offense listed in the Constitution, that Democrats reportedly started accusing the president of as the result of focus group testing in battleground states after the term "quid pro quo" didn't seem to resonate with voters.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) slammed the articles as "baseless" and "partisan" in a tweet. "The facts aren't on their side. This is a pathetic political mission to try to rig 2020 against [President Trump]."
The Trump campaign fired back at the announcement with a statement accusing the Democrats of using impeachment to compensate for weak election prospects.
"For months, Nancy Pelosi said she wouldn't move forward on impeachment because it was too divisive and it needed bipartisan support," the statement from campaign manager Brad Parscale said. "Well, it is divisive and only the Democrats are pushing it, but she's doing it anyway. Americans don't agree with this rank partisanship, but Democrats are putting on this political theater because they don't have a viable candidate for 2020 and they know it."