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US House Democrats unveil Trump impeachment charges

Chairman of House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) (4th L) speaks as (L-R) Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and other top Democrats listen during a news conference at the US Capitol on December 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The long-anticipated formal impeachment against US President Donald Trump has been announced by the Democrat-led House of Representatives.

House Democrats unveiled the two articles of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday, accusing the Republican president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The Democrats believe Trump had tried to put himself above the law by abusing his power and obstructing the Congress.

“We must be clear: No one, not even the president, is above the law,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D N.Y.) at a news conference where he was flanked by House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other House leaders.

The House, which will likely vote later this week in favor of impeaching Trump, will then submit the case for an impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate.

The Senate trial will possibly take place early next year.

However, experts say the chances for Trump’s removal from office by the Republicans are slim.

The heart of the issue is whether Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival seeking the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election, and then obstructed Congress' investigation into the scandal.

Trump denies having done anything wrong and has called the impeachment probe a hoax.

Impeachment begins in the House. If the lower chamber of Congress approves articles of impeachment, a vote is then held in the Senate. A two-thirds majority vote would be needed in the Senate to remove the president from office.

Trump’s conviction is considered unlikely in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Trump wants Senate trial 'sooner rather than later'

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said shortly after the formal Democrat-led impeachment was launched against Trump that the president will be  “fully exonerated” when the motion reaches the Republican-led Senate.

“The President will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong,” Grisham told The Washington Post.

He claimed that Trump was innocent and the charges raised in the impeachment would not stick, adding that the move would only hurt the people.

“The announcement of two baseless articles of impeachment does not hurt the President, it hurts the American people.”

Only two American presidents have been impeached by the House, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Neither Johnson nor Clinton was convicted by the Senate.

In 1974, then US President Richard Nixon resigned during his second term after it became certain he would be impeached and removed from office over the Watergate scandal.

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