Dec 11, 2019

Watergate prosecutors: Trump should be impeached

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

17 former members of the Watergate special prosecutors force wrote in a Washington Post op-ed on Wednesday that they believe President Trump committed impeachable offenses and should be removed from office.

What they're saying:

"In 1974, it was a group of Republican senators who put national interest over party loyalty and informed Nixon that his conduct was indefensible and would compel conviction by the Senate and removal from office. We hope the current Senate would similarly put honor and integrity above partisanship and personal political interest."

The op-ed argues that Trump has met the conditions for "high crimes and misdemeanors" by:

  • Freezing congressionally approved Ukraine military aid "for his personal political benefit."
  • Soliciting foreign interference in American elections, "including by Russia and China."
  • Engaging in "multiple acts of obstruction of justice in violation of federal criminal statutes," as evidenced in the Mueller report.
  • Withholding evidence and refusing to cooperate in lawful congressional investigations.

What to watch: The House will begin debate on impeachment articles on Wednesday night.

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Key takeaways from the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment report

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee released its full, 658-page impeachment report early Monday outlining the reasons behind the two articles of impeachment against President Trump to be considered in the House ahead of a vote, expected Wednesday.

He has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that will continue if left unchecked. Accordingly, President Trump should be impeached and removed from office."
— Excerpt from House Judiciary Committee report
Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 16, 2019

Read Jerry Nadler's opening statement in debate over articles of impeachment

Rep. Jerry Nadler. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) opened Wednesday night's hearing to debate the two articles of impeachment against President Trump by urging his colleagues to hold the president accountable.

The big picture: Nadler outlined the evidence he believes warrants the impeachment of Trump, and he insisted the country "cannot rely on an election to solve our problems" because Trump threatens the integrity of that very election.

The normalization of impeachment

Data: Sources, compiled with the help of the House Historian's Office: “A Petition for Presidential Impeachment”; “The House Impeaches Andrew Johnson”; “Origins and Development of the House: Impeachment”; Hinds Precedents, Volume 3; The Age of Impeachment;; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

If the House votes next week to impeach President Trump, some lawmakers warn that impeaching presidents could become the new normal. Historians and constitutional experts say it won't go that far — but they do concede a drift in that direction.

Why it matters: If impeachment loses its taboo to become just another partisan instrument with implications for elections and fundraising, that would weaken its power as an emergency mechanism and further polarize Republicans and Democrats.

  • This is what's happened to government shutdowns, Supreme Court fights and filibusters.
Go deeperArrowDec 13, 2019