Democrat releases report on Trump impeachment
Washington, Dec. 8 (IANS): The US Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee released a report explaining the constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
The report released on Saturday, written by the panel’s majority staff, detailed the history, purpose and meaning of the US Constitution’s Impeachment Clause. It also addressed legal questions about the impeachment process and rebutted false claims about impeachment, Xinhua news agency reported.
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler tweeted the accusation that Trump “abused his power, betrayed our national security and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain.”
Trump, speaking to reporters outside the White House before leaving for a trip to Florida Saturday afternoon, called the impeachment proceeding “a total hoax” and a continuation of the Russia probe, which he has consistently labelled as “witch hunt.”
In addition, the president claimed “nothing came out” of his July phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, an episode standing at the centre of the impeachment proceeding initiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in late September.
“We had a perfect conversation. It was only a conversation. Nothing came out of the conversation, except for the relationship with Ukraine,” Trump said.
House Democrats are looking into whether Trump abused his office by pressuring Zelensky into launching investigations that could benefit him politically.
Lawmakers are also examining whether the Republican president conditioned a White House meeting or a military aid to Ukraine on those probes.
Pelosi announced on Thursday she was asking Nadler’s panel to write articles of impeachment against Trump, which could be released and voted on as soon as this coming week.
The White House has warned Democrats in the House of their likely adoption of articles of impeachment.
“Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Nadler on Friday. The move “would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history,” Cipollone argued.
According to the nation’s constitution, the House shall have the sole “Power of Impeachment,” while the Senate shall have the sole “Power to try all impeachments.”
Trump will be impeached if the House approves any of the articles of impeachment the House Judiciary Committee has recommended by a simple majority vote.
But conviction can only happen in the Senate and requires at least two-thirds of its members, or 67 senators, to vote in favour. Currently, the Senate has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents.
Trump warns Kim has ‘everything’ to lose through hostility
Washington, Dec. 8 (AFP): President Donald Trump warned Sunday that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un had “everything” to lose through hostility towards the United States, after Pyongyang said it had carried out a major new weapons test.
“Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” Trump tweeted in response to the unspecified test at the Sohae space launch center.
The announcement of Saturday’s test came just hours after Trump said he would be “surprised” by any hostile action from the North, emphasizing his “very good relationship” with Kim.
Trump and Kim engaged in months of mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.
The pair have met three times since June 2018 but with little progress towards denuclearisation.
Pyongyang has set Washington a December 31 deadline to make new concessions to kickstart stalled talks.
“North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearise as promised,” Trump tweeted.
“NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!” Writing that Kim had “signed a strong Denuclearisation Agreement” at their June 2018 summit in Singapore,” Trump warned: “He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the US Presidential Election in November.”
A spokesman for North Korea’s Academy of the National Defense Science said Saturday’s “very important test” would have an “important effect” on changing the “strategic position” of North Korea, in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
The statement did not provide further details on the test.
A senior US administration official earlier said Washington had seen reports of a test and was “coordinating closely with allies and partners.”
Trump indicated that military action was still possible when he was asked about Pyongyang on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Britain this week.
North Korea fired back that if the United States used military force it would take “prompt corresponding actions at any level.”
UN diplomats fear that North Korea will resume long-range nuclear or ballistic tests if no progress is made soon in talks with the United States.
Sohae, on North Korea’s northwest coast, is ostensibly a facility designed for putting satellites into orbit.
But Pyongyang has carried out several rocket launches there that were condemned by the US and others as disguised long-range ballistic missile tests.
Following the Singapore summit, Trump said Kim had agreed to destroy “a major missile engine testing site” without naming the facility.
Kim then agreed to shutter the Sohae site during a summit last year with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang as part of trust-building measures.