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FOR THE WEEK OF SEP. 30, 2019

Historic drama: U.S. House starts presidential impeachment process

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Possible votes in Congress on impeaching (removing) President Trump have moved beyond months of talk. Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker who had resisted Democratic colleagues' push for hearings, last week announced an "official impeachment inquiry" by the House Intelligence Committee -- a drastic step allowed under the Constitution. She said "no one is above the law" and acted after signs that Trump pressured the president of Ukraine, an East European nation neighboring Russia, to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's son. The White House released a rough transcript of a July 25 call in which Trump asks the Ukrainian leader several times for the investigation as "a favor" and offers to help his country look into past business deals by Hunter Biden. They also discuss U.S. aid to Ukraine.

"The president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically," said Pelosi said, who also used the phrase "betrayal of his oath of office." Equally dramatic news came a few days later when The Washington Post reported that Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about their country's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to three past federal officials. Aides blocked customarily wider internal access to a meeting summary memo in an attempt to keep the damaging comments from being disclosed, the paper's anonymous sources say.

There's no timetable or formal plan yet for how the House committee chaired by Rep. Adam Shiff, D-N.Y., plans to proceed. The months-long process (see video below) will involve televised hearings, a committee vote, then a full House vote and ultimately a U.S. Senate "trial" and vote on removal.

For his part, Trump digs in defiantly and uses the developments as an occasion to ask backers for fresh re-election campaign donations. "There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have," the president says in one of many daily tweets on the topic. "The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another President. Witch Hunt!" A Republican senator, Thom Tillis, tweets that the "call to impeach him is a total farce." At The Washington Post, columnist Jennifer Rubin has an opposite view: "There is no reason for the House not to immediately proceed to impeachment. Trump has been caught red-handed. . . . If he is not impeached and removed, we do not have a democracy in which the American people are the sole arbiters of our elections."

Trump tweets: "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!" – Sept. 24

Biden says: "The House must do its job and hold Donald Trump to account for his abuse of power." – Joe Biden, former vice president seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination

Republican senator tweets: "This is yet another pathetic attempt by Democrats to destroy President Trump with falsehoods to overturn the results of the 2016 election. It has not worked in the past, and it will not work now." – Sen Thom Tillis of North Carolina

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2019
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Front Page Talking Points Archive

President Trump defends policy reversal in northern Syria that brings chaos and criticism

Electronic device batteries: Nobel winners and new fire risk worries

Fewer birds in North America are a signal that causes concern

Historic drama: U.S. House starts presidential impeachment process

Auto workers’ strike against General Motors reflects a new era of labor activism

Apple launches the iPhone 11 with three lenses, 'slofies' and a price surprise

Amid privacy unease and a federal fine, Facebook changes how face recognition works

Hospital admissions and medical studies point to serious risk from Juul and other e-cigarettes

Science frontier: We'll hear more about quantum technology as U.S. and China make advances

Weeks of massive, violent protests in Hong Kong test its relationship with China

Complete archive

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