The Judicial Committee of the US House of Representatives approved the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against President Donald Trump. Now, the accusation must be voted by the plenary of the lower house as part of the process of political trial against the president.
In the first of the charges, Trump is accused of putting his political concerns before the national interest; and in the second one to obstruct the attempts of the Congress of investigation, according to the nine-page act published by the Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives.
“It is an actionable offense for a president to exercise the powers of his office to obtain an inappropriate personal benefit ignoring or harming the national interest. That is exactly what President Trump did when he pressed Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections, ”said Jerry Nadler (D), chairman of the Committee during one of the hearings.RELATED
The charge was described as the request "to a foreign government, Ukraine, to interfere in the presidential elections of the United States in 2020".
Meanwhile, on the charge of obstruction to Congress, he argued that “a president who declares himself above justice, above the American people and above the power of 'impeachment' of Congress, which is precisely to protect against threats to our democratic institutions, he is a president who considers himself above the law ”.
Specifically, the charge was described as "an unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate challenge to the subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives."
The articles were approved with the votes in favor of the 23 Democrats that make up the House, while the 17 Republicans did against it.
Shortly after the charges were known, the White House Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, issued a statement about it: “This desperate farce that is the investigation of political trial in the House of Representatives has reached its shameful end. The president looks forward to receiving in the Senate the fair treatment and legal process that continues to be shamefully denied by the lower house ”
If the lower house votes in favor of dismissing Trump (possibly next week), the US president would become the third president to be subjected to a political trial. The previous ones were Andrew Johnson, in 1868, and Bill Clinton in 1998. In 1974, Richard Nixon, before the certain possibility of being dismissed as a result of the espionage scandal known as "Watergate", resigned before facing the process. Nixon had been charged with three crimes, two of which were abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
However, in the case of Trump it is highly unlikely that the process will advance in the Senate, controlled by the Republican majority. In fact, the majority leader, Mitch McConell (R) said "there is no chance" that the upper house will remove him from office.
Investigations opened after an anonymous government whistleblower reported as inappropriate a telephone conversation between Trump and Volodimir Zelensky, Ukrainian president. In the call, the American asked him “a favor”: to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former vice president and pre-candidate Joe Biden, for his work with the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. At that time, the US had a military assistance of almost USD 400 million on hold. When Trump found out about the complaint, he released the money.
The Democrats had analyzed the idea of accusing Trump of charges of bribery, obstruction of justice and even treason, but analysts felt that this could politicize the debate too much and require evidence of greater weight. Therefore, they chose to focus on the two most direct articles and with greater evidence against the president, complicating the task of the defense.
Trump has always denied the accusations against him and assured that the process is nothing more than a "witch hunt." In an interview conducted at the end of November, the president was willing to defend himself before the United States Senate.
"I want a political trial in the Senate," said the president of the United States, after learning that the White House would be open to discuss this case in the upper house, where Republicans enjoy a majority.
The atmosphere there would be more cordial than that of the House of Representatives, whose process has been criticized by the President. In fact, one of the two accusations refers to the White House's refusal to cooperate with the investigation.
On December 3, the Intelligence Committee, in charge of investigating the case, published its conclusions in a report. He determined that "the evidence of the president's misconduct is overwhelming, as is the evidence of his obstruction to Congress." The report advised filing formal charges against Trump, and was the central evidence of the accusation.