Kelly, Thompson oppose articles of impeachment
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday formally drafted articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, accusing him of abusing his power of office and obstructing Congress.
The articles were narrowly written to focus on the Ukraine scandal at the center of the impeachment hearings and depositions in recent months.
At the center of both charges: Democrats say the president tried to leverage nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of his political rivals, notably former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. That is largely what’s behind the abuse of power article.
The obstruction article comes down after Democrats say the president refused to allow top White House officials to testify. That includes those officials on the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), a Trump ally in Congress, said the production of only two articles shows the President did not commit an impeachable offense.
“It just goes to show you that (Democrats) didn’t have anything to begin with,” Kelly said. “This was all about power. This was always about trying to get influence – if you want to talk about influence – the next election with a phony, sham investigation to try and discredit this president.”
“After considering all of the information presented, I have only heard emotional arguments that do not rise to the level of impeachment," Rep. Glenn Thompson said in a statement. "Therefore, I will not vote in favor of the articles of impeachment."
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote and likely approve those articles on Thursday. A full house vote is expected next week.
Democrats have the majority in the House. But the narrowly tailored articles indicate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to gain support of more moderate members who may not be fully on-board with impeachment.
“I owe it to the country and to my constituents, and really to my own constitutional duties, to get all of the facts in before I make that final decision,” said Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii), a member of the Blue Dog Caucus, whose members identify as fiscal conservatives but often hold other liberal values.
If the House impeaches Trump, A trial to determine whether or not to convict the president is expected in January. A two-thirds majority is needed to convict the president, meaning 67 of the 100 senators would have to vote to convict. Currently, 45 Democrats and two independents (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, who caucus with the Democrats) would likely need another twenty GOP senators to side with them.
“I just don’t see the smoking gun evidence for an impeachable level of offense here,” said Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) “Now what I see is a complete ‘throwing at the wall and see what will stick’ type of approach from the Democratic side.”