House Democrats are expected on Tuesday to introduce articles of impeachment accusing President Donald Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress based on their inquiry into whether to remove the president over his activities toward Ukraine, according to the Washington Post.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and heads of other panels are expected to make the announcement at a 9:00 a.m. press conference and lawmakers could markup of the articles as early as Wednesday or Thursday.
“I think a lot of us believe that what happened, with Ukraine especially, is not something that we can just close our eyes to,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) told reporters Monday evening. “People feel very strongly about it, as do I think we’re doing what we have to do, we’re doing what the Constitution mandates that we do.”
The development comes after the House Judiciary Committee held its second and final impeachment hearing, receiving testimony from Republican and Democrat counsel on the House intelligence panel.
The House Intelligence Committee’s investigative director, Daniel Goldman, presented the panel with a 300-page report based on weeks of public and private testimony alleging President Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival Joe Biden by withholding military funding and a White House meeting.
“President Trump directed a months-long scheme to solicit foreign help in his 2020 re-election campaign, withholding official acts from the government of Ukraine in order to coerce and secure political interference in our domestic affairs,” said Goldman.
Goldman also referred to Trump’s actions as dangerous saying he “launched an unprecedented campaign of obstruction of Congress” upon being faced with impeachment and he dismissed allegations by the president and his attorney Rudy Giuliani that Biden acted corruptly in his interactions with Ukraine as “patently false.”
“That did not deter President Trump during his phone call with the Ukrainian president and it does not appear to deter him today,” Goldman said. “President Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security.”
Lawyers representing both parties sought to make their case as Democratic lawyer Barry Berke said President Trump checked all the boxes in the “ABCs of presidential abuses,” while Republican lawyer Steve Castor referred to the Democratic case as “baloney.”
“If, in fact, President Trump can get away with what he did again, our imagination is the only limit on what President Trump might do next, what a future president may do next to try to abuse his or her power,” said Berke.
Castor argued that Democrats have failed to make a compelling case against President Trump and have been looking for a reason to impeach him for the duration of his presidency.
“The record in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry does not show that President Trump abused the power of his office or obstructed Congress,” he said.
Lawyers representing President Trump were absent on Monday, as the White House told the judiciary committee it won’t participate with its impeachment investigation, with President Trump’s counsel Pat Cipollone calling the inquiry “completely baseless.”
“Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our nation’s history,” Cipollone said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump after a so-called “whistleblower” filed a complaint with the intelligence community, alleging that the president sought to pressure Ukraine to probe the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden. Both President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have denied the allegations and the White House released a transcript of the pair’s July 25 call as evidence that no wrongdoing occurred.
Zelensky said in a recent interview that he never discussed “quid pro quo” with the president, once again denying any link between the release of U.S. military aid in exchange for probes into the Bidens.
“I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing,” Zelensky said in a wide-ranging interview with TIME magazine published last Monday.
President Trump has called the impeachment process a “hoax” being used by the Democrats to defeat him in 2020.
“The impeachment thing is a hoax, it has turned out to be a hoax. It is done for purely political gain, they are going to see whether or not they can do something in 2020 because otherwise they are going to lose,” he told reporters when asked about impeachment during the NATO summit in London last week.
The UPI contributed to this report.