Trump news: Formal charges of impeachment revealed with president accused of ‘simple and terrible’ abuse of power

Joe Sommerlad, Alex Woodward
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, flanked by House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler, announces articles of impeachment against US president Donald Trump during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on 10 December 2019: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump on a historic day on Capitol Hill, accusing the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress ahead of a full House vote on his misconduct later this week.

"He endangers our democracy, he endangers our national security," said House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, announcing the charges before a portrait of George Washington. "Our next election is at risk... That is why we must act now."

Mr Trump began the day pleading on Twitter that his impeachment would be "sheer Political Madness!"

His Attorney General William Barr, however, had accused the Obama Administration of being the "greatest danger to our free system" by using the "apparatus of the state ... both to spy on political opponents but also to use them in a way that could affect the outcome of an election."

Those theories were debunked in the Justice Department's recently released watchdog report but they've been repeated by Republicans in defence of the president as he face impeachment.

But nearly as soon as Democrats announced impeachment articles, they supported the Trump administration's USMCA trade agreement, a revised Nafta plan that the White House called the "biggest and best trade agreement in the history of the world". The White House will "push hard" to enact the deal before the end of 2019, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already indicated the Senate won't be taking it up until the president's impeachment trial is through, which could be January.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House, where Mr Pompeo and Mr Lavrov clashed during a post-meeting press conference over the perception of reports of interference in US elections.

Mr Lavrov said that reports of interference are "baseless" and that "there are no facts that would support that" though he admitted he read the Mueller report, which he said is not "proof of collusion".

The president ends a historic day on Capitol Hill with his supporters in Pennsylvania, where he's holding an ego-boosting Keep America Great rally.

Follow along as it happened.

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