Update 2: Here we go - Dems have released the resolution containing the articles of impeachment.
Over the next week and a half, the Judiciary Committee will vote on the resolution, followed by the full House (assuming it makes it out of committee, which it almost certainly will).
After that, the Dems' feeble attempt to drive Trump from the White House is expected to flounder and die in the Senate, but not before a world class political circus.
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Update: In a press conference that was about as boring as we expected, most of the Democratic leadership in the House gathered Tuesday morning to announce the articles of impeachment against President Trump. The articles will likely include 2 charges, they said.
They are: Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Grandstanding was rampant, as one might expect.
“The framers of the Constitution prescribed a clear remedy for presidents who so violate their oath of office,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler. "No one, not even the president, is above the law.”
As the contents of the articles were announced, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff alleged that the evidence against Trump was "overwhelming and uncontested"
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Watch Live (due to start at 9am):
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Nancy Pelosi is racing against the clock to deliver the ultimate stocking full of coal to President Trump - a holiday season impeachment. And as Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee wrangle over the size and scope of the articles of impeachment, Bloomberg's Congressional reporters (who are apparently still talking to high-level sources despite the impending demise of Bloomberg's entire Washington bureau now that their namesake founder apparently has convinced himself he can win big on Super Tuesday) have brought us an update.
It appears that the articles of impeachment, which could be finalized by the end of this week and put to a vote next week before the start of Congress's holiday recess, will include two independent articles focusing on abuse of power, and obstruction of Congress.
Committee leaders will reportedly unveil their next steps re: impeachment Tuesday morning at a 9 am press conference on Capitol Hill.
Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney will participate in the hearing, along with Pelosi.
The announcement comes after a hearing where lawyers for Republicans and Democrats presenting their dueling interpretations of witness testimony from the past few weeks (no new information was brought to light on Monday).
Here's the Democratic position, according to their lawyers...
“The evidence is overwhelming that the president abused his power” by trying to get Ukraine to help his prospects for re-election by announcing an investigation into a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden,” said Barry Berke, counsel to House Judiciary Democrats.
He and Daniel Goldman, counsel for Democrats on the Intelligence Committee, also cited numerous instances of the Trump administration withholding documents and other evidence sought by Congress in connection with the Ukraine probe.
...and the Republican position.
The panel’s Republican counsel, Steve Castor, reiterated one of the chief defenses of the president that’s been put forward by Trump allies: "The impeachment inquiry’s record is riddled with hearsay, presumptions and speculation."
He accused Democrats of pursuing an "artificial and arbitrary political deadline" to overturn the 2016 election and impeach Trump’s before the Christmas holiday.
Goldman detailed what he called four “critical” findings from the investigation, according to Dems. All of these points will likely feature prominently in the articles.
- Trump used the power of his office to pressure and induce the newly-elected president of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election for Trump’s personal and political benefit.
- In order to increase the pressure on Ukraine to announce the politically-motivated investigations that the president wanted, he withheld a coveted Oval Office meeting and $391 million of essential military assistance from Ukraine.
- Trump’s conduct undermined the U.S. election process and poses an imminent threat to our national security.
- Faced with the revelation of his pressure campaign against Ukraine, Trump directed an unprecedented effort to obstruct Congress’ impeachment inquiry into his conduct.
Meanwhile, Republicans insist that the Dems' impeachment drive was a waste of time because it doesn't show abuse of power.
Castor accused Democrats of sustaining a months-long quest to find an issue on which to impeach Trump. After Mueller’s investigation didn’t deliver the results they wanted, he said Democrats now are focusing on Trump’s interactions with Ukraine, particularly his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
"The record in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry does not show that President Trump abused the power of Congress or obstructed Congress," Castor said. "To impeach a president who 63 million people voted for over eight lines in a call transcript is baloney."
Unfortunately, the impeachment hearing blitz has done little to shift public opinion. Poll averages compiled by FiveThirtyEight and RealClear Politics show that Americans are evenly divided with roughly 47% to 48% supporting impeachment and 44% to 45% opposing. Some individual polls have found that more than eight in ten people say their minds are made up.
Though Nadler says he hasn't yet made a final decision, it looks like evidence from the Mueller probe will be left out of the articles of impeachment by Democrats (probably not a bad idea).