Factbox: Abuse of power, obstruction - the charges against Trump explained
(Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump on charges that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress in its investigation of his dealings with Ukraine. The following defines the two charges, or 'articles of impeachment,' based on historical background
(Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump on charges that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress in its investigation of his dealings with Ukraine.
The following defines the two charges, or "articles of impeachment," based on historical background.
ABUSE OF POWER
In the impeachment context, abuse of power is generallydefined as using the vast powers of the presidency for personalbenefit.
Abuse of power is not specifically referred to as animpeachable offense in the U.S. Constitution, which states thata president can be removed from office for "Treason, Bribery, orother high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
But the founders of the United States intended the phrase"other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" to broadly encompass abusesof power, legal scholars said.
Alexander Hamilton, a famed American statesman, wrote in1788 that impeachment proceedings were for "those offenses whichproceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words,from the abuse or violation of some public trust."
Louis Michael Seidman, a professor at Georgetown Law, saidthe core allegation against Trump - that he withheldsecurity aid to Ukraine to pressure it to announceinvestigations that would benefit him politically - was the sortof conduct the founders considered impeachable.
"The U.S. has a national security interest in Ukraine, and it does appear that what the president was doing was putting that national security interest at risk in exchange for political benefits," said Seidman. "If that is what happened, that is the core of what impeachment is about."
Abuse of power was one of the articles of impeachmentadvanced against President Richard Nixon, who resigned before afull House vote on the charges. In approving the charge of abuseof power against Nixon, a House committee accused of him ofauthorizing tax audits of political opponents on his "enemieslist."
Abuse of power was advanced as an article of impeachmentagainst then-President Bill Clinton relating to his affair with a White House intern, but a majority of House members voted against including that charge. Clinton was eventually impeached on two other charges - perjury and obstruction of justice - but was not convicted by the Senate.
OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS
Democrats have also charged Trump with obstruction ofCongress based on his stonewalling of the House's impeachmentinquiry. The White House has refused to provide documents tocongressional investigators and has instructed top advisers andgovernment officials to defy subpoenas and refuse to testify.
A similar charge, contempt of Congress, was one of thearticles of impeachment against Nixon, who had defied subpoenasfor incriminating tape recordings.
Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor crime under U.S. law,which defines the offense as willfully failing to providetestimony or documents to Congress. A different crime,obstruction of justice, more broadly prohibits "interferencewith the orderly administration of law and justice."
The White House has argued that the Constitution does notrequire senior presidential advisers to appear for compelledtestimony before Congress. A judge rejected that argument onNov. 25 in a dispute over a subpoena issued to former WhiteHouse counsel Don McGahn.
Trump's lawyers have also argued his refusal to cooperatewith the impeachment investigation is justified because theprocess has been unfair to him.
(Reporting by Jan Wolfe, editing by Ross Colvin and Jonathan Oatis)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.