Two proposed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump (R) have passed the House Judiciary Committee on a straight party-line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans voting against. The articles will now head to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
The first article alleges that Trump abused the power of the presidency for personal political gain. It claims that Trump used a suspension of U.S. military aid and an offer of a state meeting at the White House to entice the government of Ukraine to launch investigations of Hunter Biden’s employment at Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, and Ukraine interference in the 2016 election. Hunter Biden is the son of former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a Democratic Party candidate for president who may face Trump in the 2020 election.
The second article alleges that Trump obstructed Congress by defying, and instructing other executive branch officials to defy, subpoenas duly issued by the House of Representatives in the course of its impeachment investigations. Executive branch officials may assert executive privilege over particular testimony and documents, or invoke their Fifth Amendment right not to testify, but a blanket refusal by a president to cooperate with a congressional investigation is unprecedented and has not yet been tested in the courts.
The House of Representatives will now take-up consideration of the proposed articles. If the House votes by simple majority to impeach, Trump will be tried in the U.S. Senate. It would require a vote by a two-thirds super-majority of Senators to convict and remove the president from office. The House has not considered formal articles of impeachment against a president since articles were proposed against President Bill Clinton (D) in 1998. Clinton was later impeached, but was acquitted by the U.S. Senate and remained in office until the end of his term.