Democratic Leaders Announce Articles Of Impeachment Against Trump | NBC News (Live Stream Recording)

Channel: NBC News
Published: 12/10/2019 02:31 PM

After weeks of impeachment inquiry hearings, Democratic leaders are expected to announce specific articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection ...

Was that a wide shot? [ music, ] [ music ] when they come in [ music, ], everyone? What loc nadler the chips? [ music ]? These people right here check, check check 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, [ music, ] one [ music, ], [ music, ], alex alex for you today, [ music, ], [ laughter, ], we'll give you will give you one friend like i got a chainsaw Handy [ music, ]: this is an nbc news, special report, here ...
s savannah guthrie morning, everybody as we come on the air. What is expected to be a historic moment in us history, house democrats are assembling at this very moment about to hold a news conference expected to announce articles of impeachment. Those are official charges against the president in its ongoing impeachmentinquiry. Now we see house speaker nancy pelosi taking the podium. Let'S flip listen end good morning. Everyone, when the solemn day, i'm recalls that the first order of business for members of congress is the solemn act to take an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the united states earth. Great respect and gratitude that i thank the chairs of the committees. The six committees who have been working to help us honor our oath of office. I also want to thank the staff of those committees and the committee members for all of their work over this period of time to help us protect and defend. I want to thank the chairman of joushi area committeemr. nadler, chair of the intelligence committee, mr. schiff, a chair of the ways and means committee chairman, aldis, chairman chairman richie neal of massachusetts, the chair of the foreign affairs committee, eliot engel of new york, the chair of The financial services committee maxine waters of california, the chair of the committee on government reform and oversight, congresswoman carolyn maloney.

I also want to acknowledge an important work that was done by our dear and departed may rest in peace, elijah cummings. As chair of the community oversight committee now pleased to yield to the distinguished chair of the judiciary committee, mr. navin, thank you, madam speaker. Over the last several months, the investigative committees of the house havebeen engaged in an impeachment inquiry into president donald trump's efforts to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 elections, efforts that compromised our national security and threatened the integrity of our elections. Throughout this inquiry, he has attempted to conceal the evidence from congress and from the american people. Our president holds the ultimate public trust when he betrays that trust and puts himself before country he endangered the constitution. He endangered our democracy and he endangered our national security. The framers of the constitution prescribed a clear remedy for presidents, who so violate their oath of office. That is the power of impeachment today in service to our duty, to the constitution and to our country, the house committeeon, the judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment charging. The president of the united states, donald j trump, with committing high crimes and misdemeanors the first article is for abuse of power. It is an impeachable offense for the president to exercise the powers of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit, while ignoring or in injuring the national interest. That is exactly what president trump did when he solicited and pressured ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election, thus damaging our national security, undermining the integrity of the next election and violating his oath to the american people.

These actions, moreover, are consistent with president trump's previous invitations of foreign interference in our 2016 presidentialand when he was caught when the house investigated and opened an impeachment inquiry, president trump engaged in unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of the impeachment inquiry. This gives rise to the second article of impeachment for obstruction of congress. Here too, we see a familiar pattern in president trump's misconduct, a president who declares himself above accountability above the american people and above congress's power of impeachment, which is meant to protect against threats to our democratic institutions, is the president who sees himself as above the law. We must be clear: no one, not even the president, is above the law. I want to recognize the great contributions of the investigative chairs, particularly intelligence committee, chairman adam schiffforeign affairs, chairman eliot, engel committee on oversight and reforms for mur chairman, the late elijah cummings and its new chairwoman, carolyn maloney financial services, chairwoman, maxine waters and ways and means chairman Richard neal, who helped lay the foundation for the articles we are introducing today. I also want to thank my judiciary, committee colleagues, who are critical in our work to hold the president accountable and the drafting of these articles. Later this week, the judiciary committee will meet to consider these articles of impeachment and to make a recommendation to the full house of representatives. We do not take this action lightly, but we have taken an oath to defend the constitution and, unlike president trump weunderstand, that our duty, first and foremost is to protect the constitution and to protect the interests of the american people. That is why we must take this solemn step today. Elections are the cornerstone of democracy and are foundational to the rule of law, but the integrity of our next election is at risk. From a president who is over, i sought foreign interference in the 2016 and 2020 elections and who consistently puts himself above country. That is why we must act now.

I want to turn now to chairmanship who explained the evidence that supports these articles and the need for us to act with such urgency today. Thank you, mr. chairman. Thank you, madam speaker andto, my colleagues good morning. The framers of the constitution recognized that some day a president might come to office who would abuse that office, betray the public trust and undermine national security to secure foreign help in his reelection and who would seek to abrogate the power of congress to hold him accountable? They recognized this danger and they prescribed a remedy, and that remedy is impeachment. It is an extraordinary remedy and one that i've been reluctant to recommend until the actions of president trump gave congress no alternative. We stand here today because the president's continuing abuse of his power has left us. No choice to do nothing would make ourselves complicit in the president's abuse, ofhis high office, the public trust and our national security. The president's misconduct is as simple and as terrible as this president trump solicited a foreign nation, ukraine to publicly announce investigations into his opponent and a baseless conspiracy theory promoted by russia to help his reelection campaign. President trump abused the power of his office by conditioning two official acts to get ukraine to help his re-election, the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that nation desperately needed, and a white house meeting with an ally trying to fend off russian aggression. In so doing, he undermined our national security and jeopardized the integrity of our next election, and he does so still the evidenceof. The president's misconduct is overwhelming and uncontested, and how could it not be when the president's own words on july 25th? I would like you to do us.

A favor, though, lay so bare his intentions, his willingness to sacrifice the national security for his own personal interests and, when the president got caught, he committed his second impe chable act, obstruction of congress of the very ability to make sure that no one is above the Law, not even the president of the united states. The evidence is every bit as strong that president trump has obstructed congress fully without precedent and without basis in law. If allowed to stand, it would decimate congress's ability to conduct oversightof this president or any other in the future, leaving this president and those who follow to be free to be as corrupt, malfeasant or incompetent, as they would like, with no prospect of discovery or accountability. Now some would argue: why don't you just wait? Why don't you just wait until you get these witnesses? The white house refuses to produce. Why don't you just wait until you get the documents the white house refuses to turn over and people should understand what that argument. Really means it has taken us eight months to get a lower court ruling that dawn mcgann has no absolute right to defy congress eight months for one court decision. If it takes usanother eight months to get a second court or maybe a supreme court decision, people need to understand that is not the end of the process. It comes back to us and we ask questions because he no longer has absolute immunity and then he claims something else that his answers are privileged and we have to go to back to court for another, eight or 16 months. 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? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time. That is what that argument amounts to the president's misconduct goesto the heart of whether we can conduct a free and fair election in 2020. It is bad enough for a candidate to invite for interference in our political process, but it is far more corrosive for a president to do so and to abuse his power to make it. So, despite everything we have uncovered, the president's misconduct continues to this day.

Unapologetically and right now, as we saw when he stood on the white house lawn and he was asked, what did you want in that july? 25Th call - and he said the answer was a simple one and not just a simple one on july 25th, but a simple one today and that is, he still wantsukraine to interfere in our election to help his campaign. Even this week, the president's lawyer was back in ukraine seeking to revive the same debunked conspiracy theory promoted at the president's behest, which gets to the final and most pernicious of the arguments that we have heard in the president's defense that the president can do whatever he Wants under article two, including get foreigners involved in our elections, and we should just to quote the president's chief of staff get over it. Ben franklin said: we have a republic if we can keep it the president and his men say you can't keep it and americans should just get over it. Americans don't get to decide american electionsanymore, not by themselves, not without foreign help for the members of congress. This is not a question of fact, because the facts are not seriously contested. It is rather a question of duty. The president's oath of office appears to mean very little to him, but the articles put forward today will give us a chance to show that we will defend the constitution and that our oath means something to us. I thank you, mr. chairman, so those are the chairmen of the relevant committees who have been conducting this impeachment inquiry on capitol hill house speaker nancy pelosi, announcing that two articles of impeachment will be sought against president trump, the first for abuse of power thesecond for obstruction Of congress, chairman nadler, the judiciary committee, saying that the evidence of obstruction was unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate and alluded to a clear pattern. According to chairman nadler of this kind of abuse of power at the office, the the chairman of the intelligence committee, adam schiff, they're, laying out the case and why it is that democrats feel they must go forward now, notably that they feel this election interference is still Going on and threatens the 2020 election itself, let me go to nbc's jeff bennett who covers capitol hill and let's just talk practical matters at the top here, jeff. First of all, it sounded like natalie. The judiciary chairman was saying that thehouse judiciary would consider these two articles of impeachment, which is essentially the charges against the president this week and vote on them as early as as this week.

Then it would go to a full house vote. Question is: does nancy pelosi have the votes to pass them? Well? She certainly has the democratic vote. It appears a savannah, but not the republican right. I mean we expect that this vote once it reaches the house. Floor will split along party lines, and that is not the ideal scenario that the house speaker had envisioned when she embraced this impeachment inquiry back in september. But but to your point, you did hear chairman jerry nadler, chairman of the judiciarycommittee, put the case for impeachment in stark in urgent terms. He said the president trump endanger the democracy. He said that he undercut national security with his ukraine dealings and that he threatens the integrity of the elections, and so these two articles of impeachment are connected directly to the democratic of the case that president trump, they say, abused his power when he pressured ukraine to Open investigations into his political rival that would be politically and personally beneficial for president trump himself and democrats further say that he obstructed congress by blocking democrats, access to key witnesses and evidence. So, yes, we do expect that the committee will will draft continue drafting these articles. Vote on thempotentially as early as thursday that kicks it over to the house next week to have essentially that the house move articles of impeachment off the floor to the senate by the end of the year, which had been their goal for some months now, all right! So that brings us to the white house and kristin walker, who is on duty there and we heard adam schiff the intelligence chairman kind of looked to rebut some of the arguments that had been put out there at one of which is that the the house democrats Are rushing this and should wait to see if they can get the testimony of other witnesses who of course have the white househas blocked from testifying they're saying they're not going to let the president run out the clock they're going forward. So it looks like we're headed toward a senate trial. What is the preparation that's going on at the white house? It looks that way savannah and i can tell you that that is the key focus here at the white house preparing for the senate trial preparing to participate.

As you know, the white house stonewalled and refused to allow officials to testify in the house proceedings that have been under way over the past several weeks. I can tell you, based on my conversations with administration officials, they have been monitoring the developments this morning quite closely. Sowe anticipate we'll get some type of reaction from president trump from the administration in short order, but the president, the administration, has been girding for this moment savannah. President trump has been tweeting throughout the weekend. Ninety nine tweets, including one today, let me read you he said to impeach a president who has proven through results, including producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country's history, to have one of the most successful presidencies ever and most importantly, who has done nothing wrong, is Sheer political madness, and so i think we can hear a lot more of a little bit later on today. One official telling me the president will have a full-throated response at his rallyin hershey pennsylvania later tonight: savannah all right, kristin walker at the white house and the news this morning. To recap, two articles of impeachment announced by house democrats to charges against the president once for abuse of power for asking a foreign government to interfere in our election by digging up dirt on one of the president's potential opponents at the threat of losing aid and a White house meeting the evidence of that according to house democratic intelligence chairman was overwhelming and uncontested and the second article of impeachment for obstruction of congress. For what the other chairman chairman of the judiciary, gerry natalie, called indiscriminate obstruction by blocking witnesses and testimony the first votes on these expectedlater this week, we're gon na have a lot more on nbc news, comm and msnbc. Of course, tonight on nbc nightly news. Most of you return now to more of the today show i'm savannah guthrie in new york. This has been an nbc news, special report, [ music ]. You.

Watch Next