Report from the press conference
Shortly after 9am on Tuesday, Nancy Pelosi filed into a conference room with gold-trimmed mirrors and wood paneling. She was trailed by the six House chairmen who have led the investigations into Trump since the party took control of Congress nearly one year ago. Each wore a solemn look, as if to emphasize that the gravity of the moment.
Pelosi began by thanking the chairman for their work over the last year, as the party has navigated special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference and then, later, impeachment.
Then Pelosi stepped away from the podium to welcome Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
“Today in service to our duty to the constitution and to our country the House Committee on the Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment, charging the President of the United States, Donald J Trump, with committing high crimes and misdemeanors,” Nadler said.
He outlined the two articles, which have been brought against a president only three other times in US history: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“A president who declares himself above accountability, above the American people and above Congress’ power of impeachment, which is meant to protect against threats to our democratic institutions is a president who sees himself as above the law,” Nadler said. “We must be clear. No one, not even the president, is above the law.”
Then House Intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff, who led the initial phase of the inquiry and oversaw two weeks of public hearings, stepped forward to offer the evidence underlying Democrats’ charges against the president.
Schiff called impeachment an “extraordinary remedy” against presidential wrongdoing, and something he had been reluctant to support. “The actions of President Trump gave Congress no alternative.”
“We stand here today because the president’s continuing abuse of his power has left us no choice,” he said. “To do nothing would make us ourselves complicit in the president’s abuse of his high office, the public trust and our national security.”
When Schiff finished speaking, the Democratic leaders filed out of the room in the same way they entered it, solemnly and without answering questions.
Less than an hour later, Pelosi is set to appear at a second press conference to announce that the US, Mexico and Canada have reached an agreement over a new trade deal (USMCA) – a top priority of the president that will give the president a major legislative victory as he runs for re-election next year.