House Democrats have announced two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of congress, on charges he corrupted the US election process and endangered national security.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by the chairmen of the impeachment inquiry committees, stood at the Capitol in what she called a “solemn act”. Voting is expected in a matter of days in the judiciary committee and by Christmas in the full House.
“He endangers our democracy, he endangers our national security,” said Jerrold Nadler, the judiciary chairman announcing the charges before a portrait of George Washington. “Our next election is at risk… That is why we must act now.”
The charges unveiled on Tuesday stem from Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals as he withheld aid to the country.
Trump tweeted ahead of the announcement that impeaching a president with a record like his would be “sheer Political Madness!”
The outcome, though, appears increasingly set as the House prepares for voting, as it has only three times in history against a US president.
In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the US Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.
Some liberal lawmakers wanted more expansive charges encompassing the findings from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Centrist Democrats preferred to keep the impeachment articles more focused on Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.