Tag Archives: House Of Representatives

Democrats unveil Trump impeachment articles, including abuse of power, obstruction of Congress

House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday against President Donald Trump – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – pushing toward historic votes over charges he corrupted the U.S. election process and endangered national security. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by the chairmen of the impeachment inquiry committees, stood at the Capitol in what she called a “solemn act.” Voting is expected in a matter of days in the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House. Trump insisted he did “NOTHING” wrong.

“He endangers our democracy, he endangers our national security,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the Judiciary chairman announcing the charges before a portrait of George Washington. “Our next election is at risk… That is why we must act now.”

Trump tweeted ahead of the announcement that impeaching a president with a record like his would be “sheer Political Madness!”

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

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. House Democrats have announced two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The charges unveiled Tuesday stem from Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals as he withheld aid to the country.


Trump considering testifying in House impeachment probe

U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he is “strongly” considering testifying in the House of Representatives’ ongoing impeachment investigation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered Trump the opportunity to testify under oath during an interview with CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday morning television program.

Trump, Pelosi said, “could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants.”

“If he has information that is exculpatory, that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame, then we look forward to seeing it,” Pelosi said. “He has every opportunity to present his case.”

Saying he is weighing her offer, Trump continued to lash out at the impeachment probe and Pelosi, whom he dubs “Nervous Nancy,” calling the House’s investigation a “phony Impeachment Witch Hunt.”

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets.

The Democrat-led impeachment process is investigating whether Trump abused the power of his office in seeking to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky open corruption probes into Democratic challenger Joe Biden on hitherto uncorroborated claims of corruption, as well as the hold-up of some $400 million in congressionally-appropriated military aid.

Trump has denied wrongdoing as the process has gathered steam and moved into the public arena with nationally-televised hearings of senior diplomats and officials.

Three witnesses, including the U.S.’s ousted top diplomat to Ukraine — Marie Yovanovitch, testified last week.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Monday found some 70% of Americans think Trump’s request to a foreign leader to open the probe into Biden and his son, Hunter, was wrong.

Moreover, the poll indicated that a majority of Americans — 51% — now believe the president should be impeached and removed from office. The poll did note that just over 20% of respondents said they had been following the process closely.


Trump says he will consider testifying in impeachment inquiry

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he might be willing to testify in the impeachment inquiry “even though I did nothing wrong,” although House Democrats leading the investigation have not publicly called him as a witness.

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Trump tweeted.


Zero evidence of any wrongdoing by President Donald Trump in impeachment hearing: White House

he White House on Friday said that “zero evidence” of any wrongdoing by President Donald Trump was presented at the impeachment hearing by a Congressional panel, asserting that the former US envoy to Ukraine deposed that she was unaware of any criminal activity involving the president.

“The second public hearing of Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Schiff’s impeachment charade was as useless and inconsequential as the first. Zero evidence of any wrongdoing by the president was presented,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said after the conclusion of the second public hearing on impeachment against Donald Trump.

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as part of the House-initiated impeachment hearing against Donald Trump.

Referring to her testimony, Grisham said that Yovanovitch deposed under oath that she was unaware of any criminal activity involving President Donald Trump.

“She was not on the July 25 phone call and had no knowledge about the pause on aid to Ukraine. It is difficult to imagine a greater waste of time than today’s hearing, and yet unfortunately, we expect more of the same partisan political theater next week from House Democrats,” Grisham said.

On Friday, Yovanovitch was the third witness to appear before the House Committee headed by Congressman Adam Schiff in the Democrat’s impeachment against Trump.

The public hearing of the probe kicked off on Wednesday as William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, testified for more than five hours before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Yovanovitch told lawmakers that she advocated the US position that the rule of law should prevail, and Ukrainian law enforcement prosecutors and judges should stop wielding their power selectively as a political weapon against their adversaries and start dealing with all consistently and according to law.

“Untrue are unsourced allegations that I told unidentified embassy employees or Ukrainian officials that President Trump’s orders should be ignored because he was going to be impeached or for any other reason. I did not and I would not say such a thing. Such statements would be inconsistent with my training as a foreign service officer and my role as an ambassador,” she said.

The previous Obama administration, she said, did not ask her to help the Clinton campaign or harm the Trump campaign, she said.

“Nor had I taken any such steps if they had. The partisanship of this type is not compatible with the role of a career foreign service officer,” she said.

The former diplomat said that she never met Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice-President Joe Biden, nor she had any direct or indirect conversations with him.

“And although I have met former Vice-President Biden several times over the course of our many years in government service, neither he nor the previous administration ever raised the issue of either Burisma or Hunter Biden with me,” she said.

Responding to questions, Yovanovitch said that fighting corruption in Ukraine was a key element of US policy.

“It was important, and it was actually stated in our policy and in our strategy. It was important because corruption was undermining the integrity of the governance system in Ukraine. And as I noted in my statement, countries that have leaders that are honest and trustworthy make better partners for us,” she said.

“Countries, where there is a level playing field for our US business, makes it easier for our companies to do business there, to trade and to profit in those countries. And what had been happening since the Soviet Union — and this is very much a Soviet legacy — is that corrupt interests were undermining not only the governance, but also the economy of Ukraine. We see enormous potential in Ukraine and would like to have a more capable, more trustworthy partner there,” the former US diplomat said, during her testimony that lasted for more than five and half hours.

Following the testimony, Congressman Schiff said that this is a story about “an effort to coerce, condition, or bribe a foreign country into doing the dirty work of the president, investigations of his political rival, by conditioning US taxpayer money, by conditioning a meeting that President Zelensky desperately wanted and needed to establish that relationship with the most powerful patron of Ukraine, the United States of America.

“The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn’t make it any less bribery. It doesn’t make it any less immoral or corrupt. It just means it was unsuccessful,” he said.


Impeachment Inquiry Cheat Sheet: Marie Yovanovitch’s Past Testimony

The House Intelligence Committee will call former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to testify on Friday in the second public hearing as part of the “impeachment inquiry” against President Donald Trump.

President Trump removed Yovanovitch from her post in May, after what critics called a “political hit job” against her.

No one has ever suggested it was illegal for Trump to do so: ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president. There is nothing remotely impeachable in her firing. Curiously, newly-elected President Volodymyr Zelensky also told Trump that he had lost confidence in Yovanovitch.

However, Democrats will allege that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was acting at the time as the president’s personal attorney, fed Trump bad information about her that came from the media, relying on Ukrainian sources pursuing their own personal and political agendas.

Yovanovitch also enjoys a great deal of sympathy and respect, especially from senior members of the State Department. Her testimony is going to be used to paint Giuliani in the worst possible light — and thereby tarnish the president’s request, partly encouraged by Giuliani, to have Ukraine to commit to particular investigations.

Key Democratic Talking Points

1. Yovanovitch was fired after Giuliani met former Prosecutor General Yuriy Letsenko, who told John Solomon, writing in The Hill in March, that she gave him a list of people not to prosecute and urged him not to prosecute the George Soros-backed Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC). She recalled a conversation with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan: “I said, ‘What have I done wrong?’ And he said, ‘You’ve done nothing wrong.’”

  • What Democrats aren’t telling you: Zelensky told Trump: “It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.” Asked if she urged Letsenko “not to prosecute” individuals or entities, she responded, “Conversations about, ‘You need to be sure that, you know, there is a real case that is not politically motivated, that this isn’t just harassment and pressure — so those conversations, you know, certainty took place.”

2. Yovanovitch is a non-partisan foreign service veteran who was shocked when U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland allegedly suggested she tweet support for President Trump as a way of dispelling rumors. “It was advice that I did not see how I could implement in my role as an Ambassador, and as a Foreign Service Officer.”

  • What Democrats aren’t telling you: Fox News reported last week that Yovanovitch may have given the House Intelligence Committee false information when she testified that she did not respond to a request from a Democratic staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “However, emails obtained by Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” showed that in fact, Yovanovitch had responded to Carey’s initial Aug. 14 email, writing that she “would love to reconnect and look forward to chatting with you,” Fox News reported. Republicans have been concerned about potential coordination between Democratic committee staff in Congress and potential “whistleblowers” or witnesses as they attempt to impeach President Trump.

3. Yovanovitch was concerned that “Giuliani was involved in activities that may be at odds with U.S. policy.” Like other career diplomats, she was uncomfortable with an informal channel outside the normal bureaucratic structure.

  • What Democrats aren’t telling you: Yovanovitch testified in her closed-door deposition that because of “President Trump’s decision to provide lethal weapons” to Ukraine, “our policy actually got stronger over the three last three years.” She also confirmed that the foreign aid that had been held up over the summer did not include the Javelin anti-tank missiles that had made the biggest difference and in which Ukraine was most interested. And she testified that Trump and the diplomats “shared” deep concern about corruption in Ukraine.


Pressure builds as Trump impeachment probe hears new claims

Two top US diplomats delivered gripping testimony on Wednesday about Donald Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden, as the impeachment inquiry into the president shifted into a new phase of high-stakes televised hearings.

No more debate impeachment inquiry is underway

Republicans call for Trumps impeachment

Trump dismissed the probe in the Democratic-led House of Representatives as a “witch hunt” and said he was “too busy” to watch the first public hearings, during which he received staunch backing from Republican lawmakers.

William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, began his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee with a new revelation about Trump’s efforts to pressure Kiev — the main issue of just the fourth impeachment process in US history.

Democrats accuse Trump of abusing his power by using US military assistance and a possible White House meeting to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky into opening a probe into the Democrat Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

The key evidence is the official White House transcript of a July 25 telephone call between Trump and Zelensky in which the US president asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the Bidens.

Taylor testified that he was told Trump cared more about the probe than he did about Ukraine.

The grey-haired former Army officer and veteran diplomat, who testified in a closed hearing last month, said he had since become aware of a telephone call between Trump and the US’s EU ambassador Gordon Sondland, which a member of Taylor’s staff overheard.

The staffer asked Sondland after the call what Trump thought about Ukraine and was told that “President Trump cared more about the investigations of Biden,” Taylor said.

Freshman House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an outspoken Trump critic, said the new Taylor comment added “a layer of proximity” for the president.

“(Trump) himself was making and partaking in some of these phone calls… And that really adds a much more disturbing degree of the involvement that he had in using the powers of government to create politically motivated investigations,” the New York representative told CNN.

Asked about the new allegations, while hosting his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, Trump replied: “First time I’ve heard it.”

Sondland “did speak to me for a brief moment, and I said no quid pro quo under any circumstances.”

‘He didn’t open investigations’

Republicans sought to undercut the witnesses’ testimony by focusing on Hunter Biden’s role on the Burisma board, pointing out that he was paid $50,000 a month and questioning his qualifications.

They also stressed that the Ukrainians were not aware for months that the White House had put a hold on the nearly $400 million in military assistance and that it was eventually released in September.

“What did President Zelensky actually do to get the aid?” asked John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican congressman. “The answer is nothing. He didn’t open investigations.

“He didn’t do any of the things that House Democrats say that he was being forced and coerced and threatened to do.”

In his opening statement, Taylor recalled opposing making US military aid to Ukraine or a White House visit by Zelensky contingent on Kiev investigating the Bidens.

“Withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign in the United States would be crazy,” he said. “I believed that then and I believe it now.”

Taylor said an “irregular policy channel” involving former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, was pushing for the Ukrainian probe into the Bidens.

Fellow witness George Kent, a career diplomat, was asked what interests Giuliani was promoting.

“I believe he was looking to dig up political dirt against a potential rival in the next election cycle,” said the deputy assistant secretary of state.

“I do not believe the United States should ask other countries to engage in selective politically associated investigations or prosecutions against opponents of those in power because such selective actions undermine the rule of law.”

‘Scorched-earth war’

If the House impeaches Trump, it would then go to trial in the Senate, where Republicans enjoy a 53-47 majority.

The next hearing is scheduled for Friday, featuring the US ambassador to Ukraine who Kent said was recalled by Trump after being subjected to a “smear campaign” by Giuliani.

Eight more witnesses, including Sondland, are to appear next week, the second of several planned weeks of hearings.

The investigation threatens to make Trump the third US president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, although the Senate would need to convict him to remove him from office.

Neither Johnson nor Clinton was convicted. But in 1974, Richard Nixon resigned in the face of certain impeachment and removal from office for the Watergate scandal.

In his opening statement, committee chairman Adam Schiff, the California congressman overseeing the probe, said the proceedings will examine “whether President Trump sought to exploit (Ukraine’s) vulnerability and invite Ukraine’s interference in our elections.”

“If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?”

Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the panel, hit back by accusing Democrats of a “carefully orchestrated media smear campaign.”

“It’s nothing more than an impeachment process in search of a crime.”

Coming just one year before elections, the hearings carry great risks for both parties and no certain reward, with a divided US electorate weary of Washington infighting.

Polls show a slim majority of Americans favor impeachment, but Trump’s sizable voter base — which delivered his shock victory in 2016 — rejects the allegations.


Trump slams impeachment as ‘the greatest witch hunt in American history’ after the House passed a resolution formalizing the inquiry

President Donald Trump slammed Congress’ impeachment inquiry shortly after the House passed a resolution that formalized the impeachment probe on Thursday morning.

“The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!” Trump tweeted

The vote comes after weeks of complaints from Republican lawmakers on the closed-door process.

The White House insisted in a statement released shortly after the vote that Trump “has done nothing wrong” and accused Democrats of conducting “a sham impeachment—a blatantly partisan attempt to destroy the President.” 

“Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,” the White House said. “The Democrats want to render a verdict without giving the Administration a chance to mount a defense. That is unfair, unconstitutional, and fundamentally un-American.” 

The White House continued to hold that the impeachment process “fails to provide any due process whatsoever to the Administration” despite the fact that the inquiry has been le

The resolution’s passage sets rules for the inquiry and signals that it will begin to transition into a more public phase. Witnesses are still testifying privately, but this historic development could result in public, televised hearings within a month and possibly a vote on impeachment by the end of the year. Over a dozen witnesses have been interviewed as part of the inquiry so far. 


Trump Suggests Impeachment Inquiry Against Him Is a ‘Coup

President Trump on Tuesday slammed the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, claiming the process resembled a “coup” against him as elected president and US citizens’ constitutional rights.

The president wrote that the investigation into his alleged abuse of power is “intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!” calling the whole process a “coup.”

Trump’s tweet on Tuesday echoed the president’s words during former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump regularly decried the probe as a “witch hunt” and referred to it earlier this year as “a coup,” likening it to something that would happen in a “third world country.” Mueller’s report did not establish that Trump conspired with Russia, while leaving it up to Congress to decide whether he obstructed justice.

House Democrats’ impeachment proceedings against Trump come after the contents of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have upended US politics, especially following the revelation that a hushed-up whistleblower complaint from an administration insider concerned their talk. In the call, the transcript of which was made public last week, Trump asked Zelensky to open an investigation in connection with the elder Biden’s pressing Kiev to end a 2016 corruption investigation of a company on whose board Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, sat. Trump then blocked the director of national intelligence from releasing a whistleblower complaint about the call to the House Intelligence Committee, prompting the inquiry announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Trump dubs house impeachment inquiry ´coup´

United States (US) President Donald Trump on Tuesday described a formal impeachment inquiry by Democratic members of the House of Representatives as a “coup”, Anadolu Agency reported, quoting Trump’s Tweet.

“I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP,” Trump said on Twitter.

He said the attempt is intended “to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall and their God-given rights as a Citizen of the United States of America!”

The House began its impeachment investigation into Trump last week. At issue is a July 25 phone conversation the president had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump repeatedly pressed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over unsubstantiated claims of corruption.

The elder Biden is the leading Democratic candidate heading into next year’s presidential elections, making him a clear political rival to Trump.

Soliciting the assistance of a foreign leader to undermine Biden has raised questions of election interference that have been the foundation for the House’s impeachment investigation.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, maintaining his call with Zelensky was “perfect” while seeking to undermine the whistleblower whose complaint brought the phone call and other related matters to the public’s attention.


Nancy Pelosi: ‘Doesn’t Matter’ if Impeachment Cost Democrats the House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Saturday that pursuing an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump is worth House Democrats losing a majority.

Appearing at the Texas Tribune’s Tribune Fest, Pelosi stated it’s more important for Congress to uphold its duty of holding the president accountable than maintaining power over the lower chamber.

“It doesn’t matter,” Pelosi replied when asked by Tribune CEO Evan Smith if she harbors any “anxiety” over the Democrats’ ability to keep the House if their impeachment inquiry goes awry.

“Our first responsibility is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” said the speaker.

“People say you have to take a political risk doing that,” she went on. “That doesn’t matter. Because we cannot have a president of the United States undermining his oath of office, his loyalty to his oath of office, undermining our national security, and undermining the integrity of our elections.”

Pelosi’s comments come after the speaker announced an impeachment inquiry this week against President Donald Trump over a telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which the pair discussed U.S. military aid and the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and 2020 White House contender Joe Biden. The July 25th conversation was the subject of so-called “whistleblower” complaint, which according to its author, a CIA officer, is comprised entirely of second-hand knowledge of the call. Additionally, the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) affirmed that the Deep Stater has a bias in favor of a political rival of President Trump. Further, CBS News and Fox News report that the complaint includes inaccuracies, including the false claim charging that Ulrich Brechbuhl, the Counselor to the U.S. State Department, was on the call.

Notwithstanding, in a nod to transparency, the White House released the Trump-Zelensky call transcript on Wednesday. The complaint was published by the House Intelligence Committee the following day.

President Trump lambasted critics of the call in a pair of tweets Saturday, writing: “The Whistleblower’s complaint is completely different and at odds from my actual conversation with the new President of Ukraine. The so-called “Whistleblower” knew practically NOTHING in that those ridiculous charges were far more dramatic & wrong, just like Liddle’ Adam Schiff.”

“The conversation with the new and very good Ukraine President, who told the Fake News, at the United Nations, that HE WAS NOT PRESSURED BY ME IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, should by and of itself bring an end to the new and most recent Witch Hunt. Others ended in ashes!” the president added.