The House Judiciary Committee continued to debate articles of impeachment on Thursday. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) chided Democrats on the committee for failing to meet the historical standard when it comes to impeaching a sitting president.
"Article Two, Section Four of the Constitution is what gives us the standard for impeaching the president," Johnson began. "You got to have treason. You got to have bribery or a high crime and misdemeanor. You guys have defaulted to this amorphous abuse of power allegation. It's not a criminal act. It's not a crime -- certainly not a high crime."
House Democrats have introduced two articles of impeachment against President Trump, one on abuse of power and another on obstruction of Congress. The president, like previous presidents, has asserted executive privilege to question congressional subpoenas issued to various White House officials, which the Democrats are now calling obstruction of Congress. Both articles of impeachment against President Trump do not reference a specific crime.
"To summarize this," Johnson continued, "if you're getting lost in the arguments at home -- here's what it comes down to. In the 243 year history of this country, there are only two previous presidents that have been impeached by a vote of the house. They are of course Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. In both of those, and in the lengthy Nixon impeachment investigation, evidence clearly established that specific criminal acts were committed. Evidence clearly established that specific criminal acts were committed. These guys don't have that here. They know it. You know it. It's not on paper in the resolution in article one or article two. It's in nothing that has been said here in the last two hours. These facts don't change. This is a completely unprecedented, single-party impeachment charade and everybody at home can see that clearly."
Rep. Mike Johnson sparred with Chairman Jerry Nadler earlier this week after Democratic counsel Barry Berke made an opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee where he called into question the president's loyalty to his country and impugned the president's motives during his July 25 phone call to the president of Ukraine. Rep. Johnson raised a point of order to have Berke's words stricken from the record, but Nadler dismissed the point of order, arguing the relevant rule only applies to members of Congress and not witnesses. Nadler's dismissal of Johnson's point of order prompted Doug Collins to denounce Democrats for destroying House rules in their rush to impeach the president.
If you’re getting lost in the arguments at home, here’s the bottom line:— Rep. Mike Johnson (@RepMikeJohnson) December 12, 2019
Only two previous presidents have been impeached by the House. In both of those cases (and Nixon’s), evidence CLEARLY established that SPECIFIC crimes were committed.
House Dems don’t have that here. pic.twitter.com/wKmmTvngzL