In Brief

Reaction: Democrats reveal Trump impeachment articles

Are the charges the end of the road or a possible boost for the US president?

Donald Trump has dismissed as “ridiculous” the articles of impeachment levelled against him by the House Democrats.

The US president described the two articles, which accuse him of abuse of power and obstructing Congress, as a “fraud”.

Announcing the abuse of power article, Jerry Nadler, House judiciary chairman, said: “It is an impeachable offence for the president to exercise the powers of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest.

“That is exactly what President Trump did when he solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election, thus damaging our national security, undermining the integrity of the next election, and violating his oath to the American people.”

On the obstruction of Congress, Nadler said: “A president who places himself above accountability, above the American people and above Congress’s power of impeachment… is a president who sees himself as above the law. We must be clear no one not even the president is above the law.”

If the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee votes to approve the articles, they will then be sent to the lower chamber for a full vote.

If the articles are approved by the House, an impeachment trial in the Republican-held Senate will take place, possibly within a matter of weeks.

Although this is a development that was anticipated and that Democrats have been building towards for some time, it is highly significant. CNN says the news sees Trump reach “the point of no return”.

The BBC’s North America editor, Jon Sopel, wrote that the announcement: “made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up”. He added: “For all the sound and fury of today's politics, this is not an everyday occurrence.”

How damaging it is to Trump’s 2020 White House campaign remains to be seen but some believe that it could actually help him.

An article for CNBC says the impeachment articles play into Trump’s hands. Jake Novak writes that for a “man whose brief political career has been entirely about a virulent campaign against the political establishment, fighting a battle against a series of entrenched politicians fits right into his brand”.

It took the man himself nearly an hour to respond and he did so on Twitter. “Nadler just said that I ‘pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election,’” wrote Trump. “Ridiculous, and he knows that is not true. Both the President & Foreign Minister of Ukraine said, many times, that there ‘WAS NO PRESSURE.’ Nadler and the Dems know this, but refuse to acknowledge!”

He then sent a tweet attacking House intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff, who wrote: “Shifty Schiff, a totally corrupt politician, made up a horrible and fraudulent statement, read it to Congress, and said those words came from me. He got caught, was very embarrassed, yet nothing happened to him for committing this fraud. He’ll eventually have to answer for this!”

The impeachment process was sparked when an anonymous whistleblower complained to Congress in September about a July phone call by Trump to the president of Ukraine.

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