House Democrats present articles of impeachment against Trump

The charges facing the U.S. president are abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and obstruction of Congress, but GOP leaders backed the president.
3:39 | 12/11/19

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Transcript for House Democrats present articles of impeachment against Trump
tonight, that historic next step in the impeachment showdown. Democrats putting forward two articles of impeachment. They allege abuse of power and obstruction of congress. House speaker Nancy Pelosi setting a solemn tone today, saying president trump left them no choice, saying their oath of office requires them to impeach. The president calling it political madness, saying he did nothing wrong. But the Democrats say the president abused his pows to on stain an improper personal political benefit, detrailing the nation. So, how soon could he be impeached? ABC's Terry Moran tonight up on the hill. Reporter: A fateful step -- under speaker Nancy Pelosi's watchful eye, house Democrats declare they will impeach president trump. The house committee on the judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment charging the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, with committing high crimes and misdemeanors. Reporter: The two articles -- those are the charges against the president -- abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and obstruction of congress. On abuse of power, the charge that Donald Trump "Ignored and injured the interests of the nation." And "Betrayed the nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections." On obstruction of congress, the charge that trump, "Without lawful cause or excuse," rejected every subpoena or request for evidence, the article declaring, "In the history of the republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry." No one, not even the president, is above the law. Reporter: Democrats are moving fast, some say too fast. Their answer to that today was stark. The argument, why don't you just wait, amounts to this -- why don't you just let him cheat in one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time? Reporter: The articles of impeachment concluding -- "President trump has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to the constitution if allowed to remain in office." We would be delinquent in honoring our oath of office if we did not impeach him for not honoring his oath of office. Reporter: Republican leaders backing trump to the hilt. It is not difficult to defend this president, but it is very difficult to defend this congress on what they have done and history will not be kind to them. Reporter: So I asked him, does he defend the president's phone call with president zelensky of Ukraine, asking zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and hunter Biden? Do you agree with the president that that call was perfect? That's what we want presidents to do? They just entered two articles and your question about is it perfect? No, the question is, is it impeachable? The answer is absolutely no. Reporter: Late today, the president speaking out. We did nothing wrong. There was absolutely nothing done wrong. I think it's a disgrace that people can make impeachment out of nothing. So, let's get to Terry Moran, live up on the hill tonight. And the house now on track to impeach president trump by the end of next week. They had said they wanted to do this before Christmas. Senate majority leader Mitch Mcconnell on the senate side, of course, already looking ahead to the senate trial. Reporter: He is, David. Mitch Mcconnell says, first, no trial in the senate this year, that will take place in January. He says it will work like this, they'll first be opening arguments from representatives from the house of representatives and the white house lawyers, facing off over the charges. At that point, Mcconnell says, the senate could vote and end it. He is looking for a limited and orderly process. The white house, president trump, seems to want a show, a much longer process. We'll see who gets the upper hand here. David? All right, Terry Moran, thank And, of course, all of this

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