Democrats zero in on ‘abuse of power’ in impeachment inquiry

Approved – NV


WASHINGTON — House Democrats are zeroing in on a framework for their impeachment case against President Donald Trump that will center on a simple “abuse of power” narrative involving the president’s actions regarding Ukraine, according to multiple people familiar with the deliberations.

As Democrats continue closed-door depositions with critical witnesses and prepare to move to the next phase of public hearings, they are wrestling over which elements and evidence to bring in, which to leave out. The goal is to explain to the public the reasoning and relevance of any eventual impeachment charges.

Democratic House committee chairs and leaders are still debating the need for additional articles or charges that extend beyond the president’s dealings with Ukraine, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been adamant that the case against Trump must be targeted and easy to communicate in order to build public support, according to those familiar with discussions.

That’s especially true since Democrats are hoping to win the votes of at least some moderate House Republicans who will be asked to vote against a president who has demonstrated a willingness to unleash his vast campaign resources on party dissenters.

Neal Katyal, a former acting U.S. solicitor general and NBC News contributor, said that legally and politically, a sweeping impeachment article charging “abuse of power” with regard to Ukraine was “exactly correct.”

“The phrase captures the central evils of what Trump did in Ukraine,” Katyal said, “and keeps the story focused there, and not on distracting sideshows.”

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