WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump faced a deadline on Friday set by US House of Representatives Democrats as they deliberate over what charges to bring against him after Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the Judiciary Committee to draft formal articles of impeachment.
The committee could draft and recommend the articles by next Thursday in an impeachment inquiry that Pelosi launched in September into the Republican president’s request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 US election.
The panel’s Democratic chairman, Jerrold Nadler, has given Trump until 5pm on Friday to decide whether he or his legal counsel will participate in upcoming Judiciary Committee proceedings by calling witnesses, introducing evidence and making a presentation. Committee Republicans have been given the same deadline to request witnesses, including any they might want to subpoena.
Nadler has scheduled a committee hearing for Monday. His committee is responsible for drafting articles of impeachment and would have to approve them before sending them to the full House for a vote, which is expected before Christmas.
Trump, who denied any wrongdoing, thus far has refused to cooperate with the inquiry and ordered current and former administration officials not to testify or provide documents demanded by Democratic-led House committees.
Pelosi on Thursday asked the Judiciary Committee to draft formal charges against Trump, which, if passed as expected in the Democratic-led House, would lead to a trial in the Republican-led Senate on whether to remove Trump from office. Trump’s fellow Republicans in the Senate have given little indication that they would support his removal from office.
Pelosi accused Trump of abusing his power by asking a foreign government to interfere in an American election for his own political benefit at the expense of US national security. The articles of impeachment could include abuse of power, bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.
Pelosi appeared on Friday with other lawmakers at a news conference on climate change but did not discuss impeachment.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2019