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House Democrats to tell constituents Trump "has reached a grave new level of lawlessness"

Democratic leadership all in on impeachment
Democratic leadership all in on impeachment 04:06

House Democrats are being sent home for a two-week recess with guidance on how to talk up recent accomplishments and the impending impeachment fight.

President Trump "has reached a grave new level of lawlessness that demands an impeachment inquiry," according to talking points prepared by House Democratic leadership and sent to rank and file members Friday as Congress begins a two-week recess that encompasses the Jewish high holidays and Columbus Day weekend.

CBS News obtained the memo Friday from a Democratic aide.

Dozens of House lawmakers are expected to hold town hall meetings or other public events during the recess that will serve as an early gauge of public opinion on what has transpired in the past week. Similar public events held by lawmakers at other key moments in congressional debates of the recent past have helped steer support or opposition for issues including gun control and health care reform.

The memo stresses that the House Intelligence Committee "will lead on the whistleblower complaint" but makes no mention of other ongoing investigations into alleged wrongdoing by the president or his administration led by the Judiciary, Oversight and Financial Services panels.

"The White House's notes confirm that the President personally abused his office and urged a foreign actor to manufacture dirt on his political rival," the memo states, adding that Mr. Trump "will be held accountable. The House will protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign & domestic. No one is above the law."

"President Trump's abuse of power jeopardizes our national security and the integrity of our elections, and dishonors his oath of office 'to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,'" the memo adds.

These recess talking points are always seen as a mere suggestion, not a mandate, but the wording about impeachment and its emphasis on the national security implications of the president's actions could prove especially useful to the dozens of freshmen Democratic lawmakers who represent swing districts or districts that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016.

The rapid push to impeach was accelerated Monday night when seven freshmen lawmakers, all of whom have previous professional experience in national security, intelligence or diplomacy and won in swing districts last year, said that the president's actions warranted impeachment.

The memo also urges Democrats to highlight how Senate Republicans have refused to consider several House-passed bills, including legislation that they say would lower the cost of prescription drugs, bolster election security and revamp the campaign finance system, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and rewrite some immigration laws.

"While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tries to bury all House-passed bills for America's families in his legislative graveyard, these bills are alive and well with the American people," the memo says.

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