Democrats shift impeachment focus to Russia

Impeachment Where We’re at Now

Impeachment Where We’re at Now

On Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would start drafting articles of impeachment against Trump.

Republican lawmakers from the US House Judiciary Committee asked in a letter on Friday for subpoenas for Hunter Biden - the son of former US Vice President Joe Biden, US Congressman Adam Schiff and the whistleblower behind the ongoing impeachment against Trump and whose complaint alleges that the US president pushed his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on 25 July to investigate allegations of the Bidens and their business dealings in Ukraine - a move that could derail one of Trump's political opponents ahead of the presidential election next year.

If Mr Trump does not take part the House could vote on the articles of impeachment before Christmas.

"House Democrats have wasted enough of America's time with this charade", Cipollone said, urging, "You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings".

"As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness", Cipollone said.

Adopting articles of impeachment, Cipollone wrote on Friday, would be "a reckless abuse of power" and would "constitute the most unjust, highly partisan and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our nation's history".

House Democrats are looking into whether Trump abused his office by pressuring Ukraine into launching investigations that could benefit him politically. "The President ordered them not to show and continues to block key evidence from Congress", Nadler said in response on Friday. Trump denies any wrongdoing but has refused to cooperate with the inquiry, citing his privilege as president to prevent top aides from testifying. Senate Republicans have given little indication they would support Trump's removal.

The probe is focusing on a July 25 telephone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter and into a discredited theory promoted by Trump and his allies that Ukraine, not Russian Federation, meddled in the 2016 USA election. Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian energy company when his father was President Obama's deputy.

What is Mr Trump accused of?

Democrats point out that the rules for the current proceedings mostly mirror those used in past impeachments and say expeditious action is important because Trump's alleged efforts to undermine the 2020 election are ongoing.

Democrats also have accused Trump of abusing his power by withholding $391 million United States in congressionally approved security aid to Ukraine - a vulnerable USA ally facing Russian aggression - and holding back a coveted White House meeting with Zelensky as leverage to pressure Kyiv into investigating the Bidens.

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