by Nicole Lafond · December 7, 2019
As has been precedent in previous impeachment investigations, the House Judiciary Committee released a report on the Constitutional grounds for impeachment on Saturday, outlining what offenses reach the “high crimes and misdemeanors” threshold.
The 52-page report was written by the panel’s majority staff and was written for the committee’s use as it continues its portion of the ongoing impeachment inquiry, set to intensify with a second House Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday morning. The report also comes on the heels of a directive from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who told House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) to proceed in drafting articles of impeachment.
The report outlines the purpose of impeachment and what could be deemed an impeachable offense. Democratic staff also explain what they believe qualifies as “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Abuse of power, betrayal involving foreign governments and corruption are identified as offenses that meet that threshold.
During the impeachment proceedings for former Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon in 1998 and 1974 respectively, committee staff wrote similar reports outlining the grounds for impeachment. In the opening section of the report, Nadler said he felt his committee should produce its own version that reflects “the best available learning on questions relating to presidential impeachment.”
“Further, they do not address several issues of constitutional law with particular relevance to the ongoing impeachment inquiry respecting President Donald J. Trump,” Nadler said about the Clinton and Nixon reports.
In a statement on Saturday, Nadler called this “moment” — President Trump’s overt efforts to pressure a foreign government to investigate his political rival — the “Framers worst nightmare.”
“President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain,” he said. “The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment. 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.”