La. congressmen react to the release of Articles of Impeachment against Trump

Impeachment Articles Local Reaction
Articles of Impeachment were released Tuesday (Dec. 10) at the U.S. Capitol
Articles of Impeachment were released Tuesday (Dec. 10) at the U.S. Capitol (Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - On Capitol Hill, Democrats unveiled their charges against Republican President Donald Trump in the form of two Articles of Impeachment and members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation reacted to the move that will change Trump’s legacy.

Article I accuses Trump of abusing his presidential powers by asking Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in announcing the release of the documents.

"President Trump solicited a foreign nation, Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into his opponents,” Schiff said.

GOP House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana attacked that allegation and pointed the finger at House Democratic leaders.

"Speaker Pelosi, Adam Schiff and her counterparts have been abusing the power of impeachment because they’re afraid Donald Trump will get reelected on his own. The American people should be the ones that decide who the president is,” Scalise said.

Professor Stephen Griffin, a Tulane University constitutional law expert, weighed in on the pair of Articles of Impeachment made public by the Democrats.

"I think it's generally agreed from the Nixon impeachment onward that abuse of power is an example of an impeachable offense, the problem, however, is how to define it. Implicitly, Democrats are defining it but that is something Republicans will focus on, have they defined it successfully,” said Griffin.

The second Article accuses Trump of obstruction of Congress. Democrats wrote that “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.”

Griffin reacted to allegations that Trump tried to impede the Democrats’ investigation into his actions.

"Here I think there's no doubt that Trump did not react to this impeachment in the same way as other presidents, in terms of urging cooperation,” Griffin said.

A Senate trial would follow a House vote to impeach Trump.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, said the trial would begin January 2 or January 6th. Kennedy does not believe Democrats have built a case for impeachment.

"I worry that Speaker Pelosi with her decision to do this is normalizing impeachment as a political weapon,” said Kennedy during a video conference with Louisiana journalists after the Articles of Impeachment were released.

Kennedy doubts Democrats will persuade enough Republicans in the Senate to convict and remove Trump from office.

"I don't see how anybody can draw a reasonable conclusion based on the proceedings in the House,” Kennedy said.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, also a Republican from Louisiana, issued a statement saying, “House Democratic leadership turned impeachment into a series of partisan hearings searching for a crime that changed by the day. The Senate will offer President Trump a fair process, and I look forward to fairly judging the facts.”

Griffin noted that the Articles of Impeachment also contain language disqualifying Trump from holding office.

"It does jump out at you, they’re not just asking that he be removed, they’re asking that he be disqualified from ever holding office again, meaning that if that was approved he could not run for reelection,” Griffin said.

Still, the written allegations take up only nine pages and do not include a lot of legalese and Professor Griffin thinks that is intentional.

"I think they’re trying to put out their best case in the belief that some people may not have paid much attention, they may actually be persuadable and I think it is pretty, pretty readable,” he said.

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