Rep. Tom Barrett, D-Wis., holds a draft copy of the Articles of Impeachment against President Clinton in December 1998. Image: Mario Tama/AFP via Getty Images
Democrats believe they have made a compelling and simple case with their two articles of impeachment — that:
1. The president abused his power by soliciting foreign interference by pressuring an ally — Ukraine — to announce an investigation into a political rival — former Vice President Joe Biden, while withholding military aid and dangling a head-of-state meeting, thereby corrupting the integrity of U.S. elections. Free and fair elections are the linchpin that holds together a democracy, as Democrats have argued; and
2. That he has obstructed Congress, a coequal branch of government, by withholding documents and preventing witnesses from testifying, thereby impeding Congress’ investigatory power.
Nixon:Article III, similar to Article II against Trump, dealt with obstruction of Congress. The language is strikingly similar in parts.
“In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or at the same excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas.”
“In his conduct of the office of President of the United States and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed—Donald J. Trump has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its ‘sole Power of Impeachment’.”