Washington — House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday, accusing him of abuse of power over his dealings with Ukraine and obstruction of Congress for his response to the subsequent investigation. Mr. Trump is only the fourth president in U.S. history to have articles of impeachment drafted against him, and appears likely to become the third to be impeached by the House of Representatives.
"Today, in service to our duty to the Constitution and to our country, the House Committee on the Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment, charging the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, with committing high crimes and misdemeanors," House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York said on Capitol Hill. "No one — not even the president — is above the law."
Nadler announced the articles Tuesday morning, alongside Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic committee chairs. The House could take up thefor a full vote by the Christmas break. If approved, the impeachment process would then head to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial.
"Unlike the president, we understand that our duty first and foremost is to protect the Constitution," Nadler said.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who led the initial phase of the impeachment inquiry, said that "to do nothing would make us complicit" in Mr. Trump's misconduct. Schiff argued Congress did not have the time for the courts to settle disputes over whether White House officials should be compelled to appear before Congress.
Schiff said those asking why the House doesn't wait for the courts are really asking, "Why don't you just let him cheat in one more election?"
In a statement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the articles of impeachment a "baseless and partisan attempt to undermine a sitting President."
"The announcement of two baseless articles of impeachment does not hurt the President, it hurts the American people, who expect their elected officials to work on their behalf to strengthen our Nation. The President will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong," Grisham said in a written statement.
Tuesday's announcement comes after two months of open and closed hearings, including one on Monday before the House Judiciary Committee where the counsels from the House Intelligence Committee presented their findings in the impeachment inquiry investigation. Pelosito begin drafting the articles last Thursday.
Democrats argue Mr. Trump abused his power by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a political rival and the 2016 election. The White House has refused to cooperate in the impeachment inquiry, and barred several requested witnesses from testifying before Congress.
The House Judiciary Committee could consider the articles of impeachment as soon as this week, sending them to the floor of the House for a full vote by next week. The House is expected to leave for the end of the year by Friday, December 20.
Rebecca Kaplan and Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.