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Dems to Unveil 2 Impeachment Articles  12/10 06:11

   House Democrats are poised to unveil two articles of impeachment against 
President Donald Trump -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress -- with an 
announcement expected early Tuesday.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Democrats are poised to unveil two articles of 
impeachment against President Donald Trump --- abuse of power and obstruction 
of Congress --- with an announcement expected early Tuesday.

   Democratic leaders say Trump put U.S. elections and national security at 
risk when he asked Ukraine to investigate his rivals, including Joe Biden. 

   Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined during an event Monday evening to discuss the 
articles or the coming announcement. Details were shared by multiple people 
familiar with the discussions but unauthorized to discuss them and granted 
anonymity. 

   When asked if she has enough votes to impeach the Republican president, the 
Democratic leader said she would let House lawmakers vote their conscience.

   "On an issue like this, we don't count the votes. People will just make 
their voices known on it," Pelosi said at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council. 
"I haven't counted votes, nor will I."

   The outcome, though, appears increasingly set as the House prepares to vote, 
as it has only three times in history against a U.S. president. 

   Trump spent part of the day tweeting against the impeachment proceedings but 
did not immediately respond late Monday. The president and his allies have 
railed against the "absurd" proceedings. 

   Pelosi convened a meeting of the impeachment committee chairmen at her 
office in the Capitol late Monday following an acrimonious, nearly 10-hour 
hearing at the Judiciary Committee, which could vote as soon as this week. 

   "I think there's a lot of agreement," Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the 
Democratic chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, told reporters as he 
exited Pelosi's office. "A lot of us believe that what happened with Ukraine 
especially is not something we can just close our eyes to."

   At the Judiciary hearing, Democrats said Trump's push to have Ukraine 
investigate rival Joe Biden while withholding U.S. military aid ran counter to 
U.S. policy and benefited Russia as well as himself. 

   "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," said Dan Goldman, 
the director of investigations at the House Intelligence Committee, presenting 
the finding of the panel's 300-page report of the inquiry. 

   Republicans rejected not just Goldman's conclusion of the Ukraine matter; 
they also questioned his very appearance before the Judiciary panel. In a 
series of heated exchanges, they said Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the 
Intelligence Committee, should appear rather than sending his lawyer.

   From the White House, Trump tweeted repeatedly, assailing the "Witch Hunt!" 
and "Do Nothing Democrats."

   In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and 
political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the 
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. 

   Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., was blunt as he opened Monday's hearing, 
saying, "President Trump put himself before country." 

   Trump's conduct, Nadler said at the end of the daylong hearing, "is clearly 
impeachable." 

   Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the committee, said 
Democrats are racing to jam impeachment through on a "clock and a calendar" 
ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

   "They can't get over the fact that Donald Trump is the president of the 
United States, and they don't have a candidate that can beat him," Collins said.

   In one testy exchange, Republican attorney Stephen Castor dismissed the 
transcript of Trump's crucial call with Ukraine as "eight ambiguous lines" that 
did not amount to the president seeking a personal political favor.

   Democrats argued vigorously that Trump's meaning could not have been clearer 
in seeking political dirt on Biden, his possible opponent in the 2020 election.

   The Republicans tried numerous times to halt or slow the proceedings, and 
the hearing was briefly interrupted early on by a protester shouting, "We voted 
for Donald Trump!" The protester was escorted from the House hearing room by 
Capitol Police.

   The White House is refusing to participate in the impeachment process. Trump 
and and his allies acknowledge he likely will be impeached in the 
Democratic-controlled House, but they also expect acquittal next year in the 
Senate, where Republicans have the majority. 

   The president was focused instead on Monday's long-awaited release of the 
Justice Department report into the 2016 Russia investigation. The inspector 
general found that the FBI was justified in opening its investigation into ties 
between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia and that the FBI did not act 
with political bias, despite "serious performance failures" up the bureau's 
chain of command.

   Democrats say Trump abused his power in a July 25 phone call when he asked 
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favor in investigating Democrats. 
That was bribery, they say, since Trump was withholding nearly $400 million in 
military aid that Ukraine depended on to counter Russian aggression.

   Pelosi and Democrats point to what they call a pattern of misconduct by 
Trump in seeking foreign interference in elections from Mueller's inquiry of 
the Russia probe to Ukraine. 

   In his report, Mueller said he could not determine that Trump's campaign 
conspired or coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election. But Mueller said he 
could not exonerate Trump of obstructing justice in the probe and left it for 
Congress to determine.


(KR)

 
 
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