Published 3 a.m. | Updated 5:10 p.m.
President Donald Trump’s efforts to “cheat to win an election” are a threat to national security, the top Democratic investigator testified Monday as the House Judiciary Committee pushes ahead with articles of impeachment.
In an acrimonious daylong hearing, Democrats outlined their case against the president, saying Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate rival Joe Biden while withholding U.S. military aid ran counter to U.S. policy and benefited Russia as well as himself. Trump and his allies railed against the “absurd” proceedings, with Republicans defending the president as having done nothing wrong ahead of the 2020 election.
The outcome, though, appears increasingly set as Democrats prepare at least two, if not more, articles of impeachment against Trump, likely charging him with an abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. A Judiciary committee vote could come as soon as this week.
Impeachment Inquiry FAQ: A Guide To Key People, Facts And Documents
“President Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat to win an election is a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections and to our national security,” said Dan Goldman, the director of investigations at the House Intelligence Committee.
Republicans rejected not only Goldman’s conclusion as he presented the Intelligence Committee’s 300-page report on the Ukraine matter, but his very appearance before the Judiciary panel. In a series of heated exchanges, they said Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, should appear rather than send his lawyer.
“Where’s Adam?” thundered Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee. “We want Schiff,” echoed Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
From the White House, Trump tweeted repeatedly, assailing the “Witch Hunt!” and “Do Nothing Democrats.”
The hearing set off a pivotal week as Democrats march toward a full House vote expected by Christmas.
The articles of impeachment are likely to encompass two major themes — abuse of office and obstruction — as Democrats strive to reach the Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.″
The Judiciary released its report Saturday and with it, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said the president’s actions are the framers’ “worst nightmare.”
“President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment,” Nadler, a New York Democratic representative, said in a statement. “The safety and security of our nation, our democracy, and future generations hang in the balance if we do not address this misconduct. In America, no one is above the law, not even the President.”
The Judiciary's report is an update of similar reports issued during the Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton impeachments and lays out the justification for articles under consideration, including abuse of power, bribery and obstruction.
Read More: Why The Trump Decision To Delay Aid To Ukraine Is Under Scrutiny (via NPR.org)