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Politics Trump Diatribe Belittles Impeachment as ‘Attempted Coup’ on Eve of Votes

10:20  18 december  2019
10:20  18 december  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

House Democrats Unveil Articles of Impeachment Against Trump

  House Democrats Unveil Articles of Impeachment Against Trump House Democrats announced on Tuesday that they would move ahead this week with two articles of impeachment charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, as they accused him of violating the Constitution by pressure Ukraine for help in the 2020 election. Speaking from a wood-paneled reception room just off the floor of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and leaders of six key committees said that Mr. Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, and his efforts to block Congress’s attempt to investigate, had left them no choice but to pursue one of the Constitution’s gravest remedies.

On the eve of the historic votes , Democrats reached a critical threshold, gathering majority support to impeach Mr. Trump , as the “This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth,” Mr. Trump declared, describing a process

President Trump on the eve of his expected impeachment lit into congressional Democrats for what he deemed a “perversion of justice” and an “ attempted coup ,” predicting Tuesday in a rambling and rageful letter that voters would punish Democrats and history would vindicate him.

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Trump on brink of impeachment as House readies historic vote

  Trump on brink of impeachment as House readies historic vote WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is on the cusp of being impeached by the House, with a historic debate set Wednesday on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress ahead of votes that will leave a defining mark on his tenure at the White House. Trump, who would be just the third U.S. president to be impeached, on Tuesday fired off a furious letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi denouncing the “vicious crusade” against him, but he also acknowledged he was powerless to stop the expected outcome.

Trump lashed out against Barack Obama as the former president unleashed blistering criticism of his successor. Trump falsely suggested it was illegal to count ballots after election day. “It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3, instead of counting ballots for two

On the eve of his all-but-certain impeachment acquittal in the Senate, President Trump delivered I think it will also be an attempt to sort of reset the narrative and take advantage of what is not only a lot of The House Democrats serving as impeachment managers in the Senate trial are mostly sitting

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday angrily denounced the looming House votes to impeach him as a “Star Chamber of partisan persecution” by Democrats, describing the effort to remove him from office as an “attempted coup” that would come back to haunt them at the ballot box next year.

On the eve of the historic votes, Democrats reached a critical threshold, gathering majority support to impeach Mr. Trump, as the president raged against the proceedings. In an irate and rambling six-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Trump portrayed himself as the victim of enemies determined to destroy his presidency with false accusations.

“This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth,” Mr. Trump declared, describing a process enshrined in the Constitution as an attempted government overthrow.

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“History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade,” he wrote.

In a missive full of unproven charges, hyperbole and long-simmering grievances against his own government — at one point, he referred to leaders of the F.B.I. as “totally incompetent and corrupt” — Mr. Trump angrily disputed both of the impeachment charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

House begins historic impeachment debate over President Trump – live updates

  House begins historic impeachment debate over President Trump – live updates If the House votes to impeach Trump, the Senate would hold a trial, expected in January. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office.The House will debate the articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – for six hours and then vote separately on each of them, under parameters that the House Rules Committee recommended Tuesday. The rules for floor debate must still be adopted by the full House after an hour of debate Wednesday morning. If the House approves the articles, lawmakers will immediately take up a resolution naming managers who will serve essentially as prosecutors in the Senate trial, which is expected to begin in January.

The letter ignored the extensive evidence uncovered during a two-month inquiry by the House Intelligence Committee, based in part on the testimony by members of his own administration. It found that Mr. Trump sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals while holding back nearly $400 million in military assistance the country badly needed and a White House meeting for its president.

The charges accuse Mr. Trump of engaging in a corrupt scheme to enlist a foreign power for his own political benefit in the 2020 election, followed by an effort to conceal his actions by blocking congressional investigations. On Wednesday, the House is all but certain to approve them on nearly party-line votes, making him the third president ever to be impeached.

Past presidents have offered contrition as they stared down looming House impeachment votes. President Bill Clinton issued a personal apology from the White House Rose Garden in 1998, biting his lip and saying he was “profoundly sorry” for his actions in the Monica Lewinsky affair days before the House voted to impeach him. President Richard M. Nixon resigned his office in 1974 rather than face the vote at all.

But Mr. Trump was defiant and unrepentant on Tuesday. He accused Ms. Pelosi and her party of fabricating lies, saying that the speaker and Democrats were possessed by “Impeachment Fever” and vowing that he and the Republican Party would emerge stronger after he was vindicated in a Senate trial.

“You are the ones interfering in America’s elections,” he wrote in the letter, on stationery embossed with the presidential seal. “You are the ones subverting America’s democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain.”

Inside the decision to impeach Trump: How both parties wrestled with a constitutional crisis

  Inside the decision to impeach Trump: How both parties wrestled with a constitutional crisis The experience tested the will of centrist Democrats in Trump districts and caused anxiety among Republicans in their effort to defend the president.Her senior lieutenants argued for an expansive bill of charges encompassing the Mueller report. Others pressed for articles of impeachment focused solely on Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to help his reelection bid.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: “I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election,” President Trump wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.© Doug Mills/The New York Times “I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election,” President Trump wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The letter appeared to preview the grievance-filled narrative of Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign, echoing the rants he delivers at arena-style rallies around the country as he campaigns for re-election.

The president wrote that he knew his letter would not change the outcome. But he said that the document was “for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record.”

In her own message on Tuesday evening to Democratic lawmakers, Ms. Pelosi made no reference to the president’s letter, instead urging her colleagues to “proceed in a manner worthy of our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi released their letters as Democrats began drafting rules for debate on the House floor. Meeting in a tiny hearing room just upstairs from the chamber, the House Rules Committee kicked off the broader House debate over the fate of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

“This scheme to corrupt an American presidential election subordinated the democratic sovereignty of the people to the private political ambitions of one man, the president himself,” said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the Judiciary Committee. “It immediately placed the national security interests of the United States of America at risk.”

Republicans responded with the same ferocity that has characterized their defense of Mr. Trump throughout the impeachment inquiry, insisting that the president had done nothing wrong and certainly nothing that warranted impeachment, and accusing Democrats of orchestrating an unfair and illegitimate process.

Inside impeachment: How an 'urgent' tip became 'high crimes'

  Inside impeachment: How an 'urgent' tip became 'high crimes' Not a single Republican voted for President Donald Trump's impeachment, but there were moments when that outcome was less than certainFor Democrats, it was an instant bombshell, a “jaw-hit-the-floor sort of moment,” one lawmaker said. Another described sneaking peeks at Republican colleagues to see whether they were having a similar reaction.

a person standing in front of a microphone: Representative Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, a Democrat from a moderate district, came out in favor of impeachment on Tuesday.© Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times Representative Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, a Democrat from a moderate district, came out in favor of impeachment on Tuesday. “No matter what happened and no matter where the investigations led, the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives was pushing since the day they took over to impeach President Trump,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the senior Republican on the Rules Committee.

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, accused Democrats of ignoring the rules in order to rush Mr. Trump’s impeachment. “What’s up is down and what’s down is up,” he said. “We’re more Alice in Wonderland than we are House of Representatives.”

None of them disputed the now-familiar facts surrounding the case against Mr. Trump, that he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading political rival, as he was holding back vital military assistance from the country.

The Rules Committee voted along party lines on Tuesday night to allow a total of six hours of debate over impeachment on the House floor on Wednesday, divided equally among Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

As House Democrats moved methodically toward the votes, the Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate clashed over the procedures that would guide an impeachment trial that is likely to begin early next year.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, rejected demands by Democrats to call four White House officials as witnesses. He said there was no reason now for the Senate to agree to take testimony from officials who might bolster Democrats’ case against the president. Later, in a strikingly public rejection of the oath senators take during an impeachment trial to “do impartial justice,” Mr. McConnell insisted he had no obligation to be evenhanded in his handling of the proceeding.

“I’m not an impartial juror,” he told reporters. “This is a political process. I’m not impartial about this at all.”

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, had requested in a letter to Mr. McConnell that the Senate take testimony during trial from four key figures, including Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser.

After Mr. McConnell’s rebuff, Mr. Schumer said that holding a trial without witnesses “would be an aberration.” In an interview, he added that the move would shirk the responsibility the Senate has to get to the truth about what occurred, and that it “eats away at the foundation of the republic.”

“The bottom line is that a trial with no witnesses, a trial with no documents is not a trial,” he said, adding, “We are going to do everything we can to get these documents and get these witnesses.”

The bitter exchange between the Senate leaders came as the most politically vulnerable House Democrats continued to announce their support for the impeachment charges.

a group of people looking at a phone: Representative Doug Collins, Republican of Georgia, consulting with a lawyer during the Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday.© Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times Representative Doug Collins, Republican of Georgia, consulting with a lawyer during the Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday. One centrist lawmaker, Representative Jared Golden, Democrat of Maine, announced Tuesday that he would support impeaching Mr. Trump for abuse of power, one of the two articles, but would vote against the article charging the president with obstruction of Congress.

“While I do not dispute that the White House has been provocative in its defiance and sweeping in its claims of executive privilege,” Mr. Golden said in a statement, “I also believe there are legitimate and unresolved constitutional questions about the limits of executive privilege.”

Others announced they would vote for both articles even though they were aware that the decision could cost them support in their conservative-leaning districts, and possibly even their seats.

Representative Anthony Brindisi, a freshman Democrat from upstate New York, said in a statement that he would vote for the articles of impeachment with “profound sadness.” But he said Mr. Trump needed to be held accountable.

“I will be voting not as Democrat or Republican but as an American who has been given this responsibility by the people I serve and the community I love,” Mr. Brindisi wrote in an early-morning series of posts on Twitter.

Like Mr. Golden, Mr. Brindisi is one of 23 freshman lawmakers who represent a district that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016.

By evening, a majority of the House — all Democrats — had said they would vote in favor. The cascade of announcements from lawmakers who had been deeply skeptical of the drive to force Mr. Trump from office was a sign of Democratic unity on the eve of the House vote.

Only one centrist Democrat, Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, intends to break with his party completely and vote “no” on impeachment, and he is planning to switch his affiliation to Republican to insulate himself politically.

Mr. Brindisi said in a newspaper opinion article that he became convinced of the president’s wrongdoing after carefully reviewing the evidence collected by the House Intelligence Committee in nearly two months of testimony from national security officials and diplomats in Mr. Trump’s government.

“The fact that the president made a political request to a foreign leader of a troubled country with the intention for it to impact an American rival is beyond disappointing,” Mr. Brindisi wrote. “It is unconstitutional. I took an oath to Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Debbie Stabenow sitting at a table: Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, had insisted in a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell that certain witnesses must be heard from.© Erin Schaff/The New York Times Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, had insisted in a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell that certain witnesses must be heard from. defend the Constitution. What the President admitted to doing is not something I can pretend is normal behavior.”

In her own statement, Representative Chrissy Houlahan, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said she would vote to impeach the president in order to make sure Congress did not send the message that his behavior was appropriate.

“I grieve for our nation,” Ms. Houlahan said. “But I cannot let history mark the behavior of our president as anything other than an unacceptable violation of his oath of office. The future of our republic and of our values depend on that.”

Reporting was contributed by Catie Edmonson, Nicholas Fandos, Sheryl Stolberg and Emily Cochrane.

Inside impeachment: How an 'urgent' tip became 'high crimes' .
Not a single Republican voted for President Donald Trump's impeachment, but there were moments when that outcome was less than certainFor Democrats, it was an instant bombshell, a “jaw-hit-the-floor sort of moment,” one lawmaker said. Another described sneaking peeks at Republican colleagues to see whether they were having a similar reaction.

usr: 3
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