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Five key takeaways from the Democrats’ articles of impeachment against Trump
Two articles of impeachment charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress
1 How strong is the case?
The decision to advance only two articles of impeachment against Trump heightened hopes among Democrats for a relatively smooth going for impeachment once the articles hit the House floor for a vote.
While the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is thought to have locked down support for impeachment in her caucus at large, some centrist Democrats from districts with strong Trump support face a political risk in taking their vote.
The exclusion from the articles of charges pertaining to Trump’s conduct outside the narrow Ukraine scheme could make it easier for these Democrats to support impeachment.
2 Included in the articles
The two articles to be voted on this week by the House judiciary committee, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, were seen as the most straightforward choices by most constitutional scholars and legal observers.
The abuse of power article goes to the president’s “exercising the power of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the public interest”. The obstruction of Congress article goes to what Democrats called Trump’s “unprecedented,
categorical and indiscriminate defiance of the inquiry”.

Democrats accuse Trump of withholding military aid and an Oval Office meeting from Ukraine in exchange for the announcement of an investigation into the former vice-president Joe Biden, his political rival.
3 Excluded from the articles
Democrats had been weighing a range of potential articles of impeachment that they did not use, including an obstruction of justice article relating to Trump’s efforts to pull the plug on the inquiry of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Similarly, Democrats bypassed potential charges tied to Trump’s alleged dangling of pardons, civil rights abuses, improper diversion of public funds, intemperate harangues, serial misleading of the public and efforts to enrich himself through the office of the presidency.
Replying to criticism on Tuesday that their case against Trump was not sufficiently broad, Democrats presented the abuse of power charge as a catchall for a wide range of alleged Trump misconduct in office.
4 A historic day
While as many as 11 presidents have had proposed articles of impeachment filed against them in the House, only three previous presidents have faced impeachment proceedings engaged by the full House of Representatives.
5 What now?
Democrats said they plan to vote the articles of impeachment out of the judiciary committee later this week, setting up a full House vote next week before the 20 December holiday break. At that point, Trump will be impeached.
Then, sometime in the new year, the Republican-controlled Senate will convene a trial to weigh Trump’s removal from office. That appears unlikely, with about 20 Republican senators needing to defect to threaten Trump with removal.
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