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House impeachment articles: abuse of power, obstruction of Congress

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Washington (AFP)

US President Donald Trump is facing two articles of impeachment in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Representative Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, published the formal House resolution on Tuesday seeking the impeachment of the 45th president of the United States.

The charges will be submitted for debate and a vote in the Judiciary Committee and, if passed, presented to the full 435-member House, where Democrats have a solid majority.

If Trump is impeached he faces a trial in the Senate, where Republicans currently hold 53 seats to the Democrats' 47. An unlikely two-thirds Senate majority is required to remove the president.

Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution outlines the grounds for impeaching a president.

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors," it states.

The resolution submitted to the Judiciary Committee calls for Trump to be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors."

The two articles of impeachment are:

- Article I: Abuse of Power -

Trump is accused of abusing his power by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open an investigation into Democrat Joe Biden, his potential opponent in the 2020 presidential election.

"Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election," Article I says.

"President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit," it says.

"In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process," it adds.

The resolution accuses Trump of withholding $391 million in "vital military and security assistance" to Ukraine and a White House meeting for Zelensky to secure an investigation into former vice president Biden.

"President Trump abused the powers of the Presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit," the resolution states.

"He has also betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections."

The resolution says Trump's actions were consistent with his "previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections."

"President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office," the resolution says.

"President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States," it says.

- Article II: Obstruction of Congress -

The basis of the second article of impeachment -- for obstruction of Congress -- stems from Trump's refusal to comply with various congressional subpoenas issued by House impeachment investigators.

"Donald J. Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its Power of Impeachment," Article II of the resolution says.

"President Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency in a manner offensive to, and subversive of, the Constitution.

"Without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas," the resolution says.

The resolution says Trump's defiance is unprecedented.

"In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate high Crimes and Misdemeanors," it reads.

"In all of this, President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States," it goes on to say.

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