WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The articles, unveiled Tuesday at a news conference led by House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., accuse the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Three of the five committee chairmen in charge of drafting the charges are Jewish: Adam Schiff of California, who heads the Intelligence Committee; Jerry Nadler of New York, who leads Judiciary; and Eliot Engel of New York, who chairs Foreign Affairs.
The other two are Carolyn Maloney of New York, who leads the Oversight Committee, and Richard Neal of Massachusetts, who heads Ways and Means.
Nadler and Schiff, who have led the impeachment hearings, were the only two to speak after Pelosi’s brief introduction.
The charges are related to allegations that Trump sought a Ukrainian government investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for the release of congressionally mandated defense assistance for Ukraine in its defense against Russia.
However, Schiff and Nadler also alluded to earlier allegations that Trump tried to obstruct an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Our president holds the ultimate public trust,” Nadler said. “When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security.”
Democrats hope to have a vote on the articles of impeachment before the end of the year. All but a handful of Democrats have said they are ready to impeach the president.
This is only the fourth time in U.S. history that the House has drawn up impeachment articles. One case led to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. In the two other cases — Andrew Johnson after the Civil War and Bill Clinton in 1998 — impeachment succeeded, but the presidents prevailed in a Senate trial.
The impeachment process has polarized Congress, with all but one or two lawmakers saying they are considering voting with the other party.
“With this disgusting impeachment charade, House Democrats have proven themselves guilty of Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., who is Jewish, said on Twitter.
Schiff rejected Republican claims that Democrats were rushing to impeach.
“The argument ‘why don’t you just wait’ amounts to this: Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election?” Schiff said. “Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?”