How the Ground Shifted on Trump Impeachment - NBC New York
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How the Ground Shifted on Trump Impeachment

A look at the matter and what's known about what happens next



    How the Ground Shifted on Trump Impeachment
    Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., joined by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.

    After more than two years of jousting over President Donald Trump's conduct, the ground has shifted in Congress and a move toward impeachment has broken free of constraints.

    That does not mean the path ahead is all set.

    Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who for months had been a powerful brake on restive Democrats wanting to impeach Trump — launched a formal inquiry toward that end, accusing the president of "betrayal of his oath of office," betrayal of national security and betrayal of the integrity of American elections.

    A look at the matter and what's known about what happens next:

    Biden Says Trump Must Be Impeached

    [NATL] Biden Says Trump Must Be Impeached
    Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Wednesday said for the first time that President Donald Trump should be impeached.
    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019)

    Six House committees are investigating various aspects of alleged impropriety by the president, with the intelligence committee taking the lead in examining Trump's actions with Ukraine.

    The investigations are on an expedited basis, though with no specific deadline.

    Ultimately, the House Judiciary Committee would be the panel responsible for recommending any articles of impeachment against Trump.

    If the panel backs impeachment articles, the matter goes to the full House for a vote. Democrats control the House and its committees.

    If a majority of the full House votes for impeachment, the matter goes to the Senate, which is responsible for holding a trial, overseen by Chief Justice John Roberts. It takes a two-thirds vote in the Senate to force a president from office — a daunting challenge for Democrats if the effort goes that far, given Republican control of that chamber.

    Impeaching a president is often misunderstood to mean his removal. It actually means the House has voted to bring one or more articles of impeachment and send the process forward. No president has been ousted by impeachment.

    Backlash Against NBA Continues in China

    [NATL] Backlash Against NBA Continues in China

    More NBA events scheduled in China were cancelled Wednesday as backlash from a tweet sent by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey supporting anti-government protests in Hong Kong created tension between the Chinese Government and the NBA.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019)

    Some Democrats in Congress have long wanted to kick-start the constitutional process to remove Trump, despite the slim odds of success. But they lacked a critical mass and Pelosi's support.

    Trump's machinations to avoid culpability from the Russia investigation fed into their push, but that inquiry came to an indistinct conclusion. Special counsel Robert Mueller's report detailed troubling episodes of presidential behavior, but stopped short of recommending charges for obstructing justice or conspiring with Moscow to tip the 2016 U.S. election to Trump.

    Trump's pre-election payment to a porn actress to maintain her silence and apparent Trump Organization profiteering from his presidency also fueled impeachment sentiment from a segment of the party. But it took a whistleblower's still-secret complaint about Trump's dealings with Ukraine to change the landscape.

    In a nutshell: There's little doubt Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct a corruption investigation of Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son — the president has defiantly stated that he did. He also acknowledged that days before a phone conversation with Ukraine's leader in July, he ordered military aid to Ukraine to be frozen.

    The episode raises the possibility that a president used the power of his office to get a foreign government to help him win reelection.

    Trump denies doing or saying anything improper — and even doubled down on Thursday, openly calling on China to investigate the Bidens. He also plans to challenge the legitimacy of the impeachment inquiry because it wasn't approved in a vote by the full House. Democrats say there is no requirement for a vote to start impeachment.

    House Subpoenas Pentagon, WH Chiefs in Ukraine Probe

    [NATL] House Subpoenas Pentagon and WH Chiefs in Impeachment Inquiry

    House Democrats issued two new subpoenas Monday as part of their growing impeachment inquiry, asking the Secretary of Defense and acting White House Budget Director for documents about the timing and reasons President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine.

    (Published Monday, Oct. 7, 2019)

    Pelosi's buy-in on impeachment proceedings is a huge advance for advocates of that approach after the proceedings in the Judiciary Committee were mostly seen as going nowhere. As well, Democrats believe the focus on Trump's dealings with the Ukrainian leader could resonate more than the Mueller report did.

    In terms of congressional process, not much changes, at least at first. The judiciary panel had already begun impeachment hearings and had asked other committees for input. And it's not clear that Pelosi's "expedited" timeline will move things along any more quickly. The committee chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, has said he wants to make a decision on whether to recommend articles of impeachment by the end of the year.

    You can find partisans during almost every administration who think the president of the opposing party should be thrown out of office between elections. But there hasn't been a serious effort to do that since the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

    In 1998 and 1999, the House under Republican control pursued the impeachment of the Democratic president, primarily based on matters arising from his relationships with women outside his marriage.

    The House approved an allegation that Clinton "willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony" before independent counsel Kenneth Starr's grand jury investigation. And it voted to bring forward the accusation that he "prevented, obstructed and impeded the administration of justice." The Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him.

    Only two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Clinton. Both won acquittal in the Senate.

    WH: American Troops to Pull Out of Syria for Turkey

    [NATL] WH: American Troops to Pull Out of Syria for Turkey

    The White House says Turkey will soon move troops into northern Syria as U.S. troops withdraw. Kurdish fighters who remain in the region to help the U.S. push ISIS out of Syria are calling the move a betrayal. The Turkish government regards the Kurds as terrorists, raising fears about their fate.

    (Published Monday, Oct. 7, 2019)

    Richard Nixon, who was the subject of impeachment proceedings, resigned from office in 1974 when it looked certain that the House would impeach him and his prospects in the Senate appeared dire.

    The Constitution gives the House "the sole power of impeachment" and the Senate "the sole power to try all impeachments."

    And it dictates the removal from office of an impeached president who is convicted by the Senate of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." It is left to Congress to define such terms.