Dec 7, 2019

House updates its guide for impeachment

President Trump at the 97th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 05. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee reassessed what the Constitution considers impeachable offenses on Saturday, two days after Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly pushed the impeachment inquiry forward.

Why it matters: The committee is in charge of drafting articles of impeachment against the president, unless another specially selected committee is chosen. House rules on impeachment are largely based on precedent — and President Trump's impeachment is the new model.

In its report released Saturday, the committee says the Constitution's framers intended impeachment to be invoked for (1) abuse of power, (2) betrayal of the nation through foreign entanglements, and (3) corruption of office and elections.

  • House Democrats are also taking the position that "attempted" presidential wrongdoing is impeachable. This is notable in light of the House's investigation into why Trump withheld Ukraine's military aid — considering aid did ultimately reach Ukraine.

Between the lines: The Constitution's standards for impeachable offenses like "high crimes and misdemeanors" are not defined within the document — leaving them open to legal analysis.

What else they're saying: The Judicial House majority believes that impeachment was seen as especially necessary by the founders for presidential conduct "corrupting" the U.S. "system of political self-government" — and that concern is focused in two contexts:

  1. The risk a president "would be swayed to prioritize foreign over domestic interests."
  2. The risk that they "would place their personal interest in re-election above our abiding commitment to democracy."

Read the full report:

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Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.

Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Police officer in George Floyd killing charged with third-degree murder

A protester with a sign with George Floyd's last words. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

The state of play: Freeman said that the delay in Chauvin's arrest, which came four days after Floyd's death on Monday, was due to the need to collect sufficient evidence — and that it was "by far the fastest" his office had charged a police officer. He added that he also anticipated charges against the other three officers involved in Floyd's arrest and death, but refused to elaborate.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,871,347 — Total deaths: 362,554 — Total recoveries — 2,463,332Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,731,035 — Total deaths: 102,201 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  4. Supreme Court: Senators Grassley, Leahy urge Supreme Court to continue live streams post-pandemic.
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  7. 🚀 Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's first crewed launch Saturday.