“The integrity of our next election is at risk”, House Judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler told the nation on Tuesday morning, announcing two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump.
After 10 weeks (give or take) of closed-door and public hearings featuring damning testimony from a parade of current and former officials, Democrats are moving to impeach Trump, citing abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“Today, in service to our duty of the Constitution, the Judiciary committee is introducing two articles of impeachment”, Nadler, flanked by Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters, Eliot Engel, Richard Neal, Carolyn Maloney and Nancy Pelosi, said. “The first article is for abuse of power [and] the second [is] for obstruction of Congress”.
“No one, not even the president, is above the law”, Nadler reiterated (because it’s abundantly clear that large swaths of the voting public no longer understand that foundational concept of America’s democracy).
Schiff delivered a devastatingly blunt assessment.
“To do nothing would be to make us complicit”, he said. “President Trump solicited a foreign nation to publicly announce an investigation into his opponents and a baseless conspiracy theory promoted by Russia to help his campaign”.
He then made the most crucial point of all. “The evidence is overwhelming and uncontested”, he assessed, citing (among other things) the rough transcript of the July 25 call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump told his Ukrainian counterpart “I’d like you to do us a favor though”.
Schiff said it again. “The facts are not seriously contested”.
It is not, as it’s being pitched on Fox and by the White House, up for debate. As we put it last week, Trump did what he did. And what he did is the very definition of impeachable conduct (as a trio of scholars attested to on Capitol Hill last week). “For members of Congress it is a question of duty”, Schiff continued.
He cited Rudy Giuliani’s recent trip to Ukraine and Mick Mulvaney’s October contention that the nation should just “get over it” in the course of detailing how the misconduct of Trump and his accomplices “continues to this day, unapologetically and right now”.
And he addressed calls for Democrats to just sit on their hands and wait Trump out.
Those calls, Schiff said, amount to asking: “Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?”
Unfortunately for the republic, Senate Republicans will likely answer those questions as follows: “Yeah, why not?”