Trump facing two articles of impeachment
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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.
The charges will be submitted for a vote in the Judiciary Committee and, if passed, presented to the full 435-member House.
If Trump is impeached he will face a trial in the Senate, where Republicans currently hold 53 seats to the Democrats' 47.
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.
Representative Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, outlined the two articles of impeachment at a press conference on Tuesday.
- Abuse of Power -
Trump is accused of abusing the power of his office by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into Democrat Joe Biden, his potential opponent in the 2020 presidential election.
"It is an impeachable offense for the president to exercise the powers of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest," Nadler said.
"That is exactly what President Trump did when he solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election."
Schiff said Trump "abused the power of his office by conditioning two official acts to get Ukraine to help his reelection -- the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that nation desperately needed, and a White House meeting with an ally trying to fend off Russian aggression."
"In so doing he undermined our national security and the integrity of our next election," Schiff said.
- Obstruction of Congress -
Trump's refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas issued by House impeachment investigators forms the basis of the second article of impeachment -- for obstruction of Congress.
"President Trump engaged in unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of the impeachment inquiry," Nadler said.
The House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report accused Trump of ordering federal agencies and officials to disregard voluntary requests for documents and defy subpoenas for records.
He directed federal government officials not to testify "even when compelled," the committee noted.
"A president who declares himself above accountability, above the American people, and above Congress's power of impeachment... is a president who sees himself as above the law," Nadler added.
"We must be clear, no one, not even the president, is above the law."
© 2019 AFP