Democrats are zeroing in on Trump's key high crime in the impeachment inquiry

Democrats are zeroing in on Trump's key high crime in the impeachment inquiry
CNN screenshot

House Democrats are homing in on a single sweeping abuse of power charge related to Donald Trump's handling of Ukraine in their impeachment inquiry, according to NBC News.

House investigators are presently weeding through the evidence in order to figure out what's relevant to making their impeachment case against Trump versus what might simply muddle the narrative. Naturally, there's an embarrassment of riches to work with, and House Democrats' main goal is to make the case they are building under the rubric of abuse of power as easy to comprehend as possible. Once they narrow down the right elements, the impeachment inquiry will enter into the public hearings phase.

Democrats are also debating whether to include other articles of impeachment, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly favors keeping the impeachment focused and easy to explain.

“What made it abusive is it was done in a way that betrayed the country and our national security interests and helped his own interests politically,” a person familiar with ongoing discussions told NBC.

Separately, Democrats are also considering adding a contempt of Congress or obstruction article due to the administration's total refusal to cooperate with any elements of the inquiry.

Democrats have been buoyed by polling showing a consistent rise in support for Trump's impeachment, and the House messaging team took note in particular of a battleground poll showing that "54% of respondents said it is either very or totally convincing that Trump is 'abusing his authority' and that lawmakers need to 'uphold the rule of law.'"

Still, nothing is written in stone. Aside from general agreement around the abuse of power article, investigators are still considering obstruction charges related to Robert Mueller’s investigation of Team Trump’s coordination with Russia in 2016. Additionally, other committees have investigated potentially impeachable offenses related to the emoluments clause in the Constitution. In fact, presenting multiple articles could give Democrats in moderate districts an opportunity to vote for certain articles while rejecting others, depending on feedback from their own constituents. But more than anything, Democrats hope to avoid the trap of the Mueller probe, which proved to be so sprawling and intricate that it was almost impossible for most Americans to digest.

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