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That same group of moderates wanted the articles kept as narrow as possible, and they got their wish. On Friday, the Democratic-controlled Judiciary Committee approved two articles. One charges that Mr. Trump abused his power by withholding military assistance to Ukraine to pressure the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to examine an already debunked theory of Russian origin about alleged Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election, and to at least announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, who served on the board of Ukraine’s largest natural gas company. The second article holds Mr. Trump in contempt of Congress for his absolute refusal to cooperate in the impeachment investigation.

According to members of the Judiciary Committee, a number of committee Democrats wanted a more expansive set of articles. Some wanted to add an article taking Mr. Trump to task for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Some argued for a far more expansive indictment of Mr. Trump for abuse of power. A few wanted articles to reflect the president’s alleged violations of campaign finance laws by concealing hush money payments to two women with whom he’d had sexual relations after his marriage to Melania. (Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is in prison for abetting those payments.) And several Democrats wanted to add some of the evidence gathered by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, that Mr. Trump might have obstructed justice by trying to shut down Mueller’s investigation.

But Ms. Pelosi and her close ally, Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee and a fellow Californian, didn’t want to re-raise the matter of Russia’s role in the 2016 election. They argued that they should stick with matters on which the facts were clear and that pertained to national security.

This left the more liberal Judiciary Committee members — the majority — less than happy. One committee Democrat had told me that if the liberals didn’t win additional charges, they could bring them up later. But barring something extraordinary happening, it seems highly unlikely that the Democrats would undergo another impeachment exercise in 2020.

I asked Mr. Schiff during the Judiciary Committee’s deliberations about the concern of many Democrats that by limiting the articles of impeachment to Ukraine, the Democrats were by implication saying that other Trump misdeeds were acceptable.

“I think that that’s very much a legitimate concern,” he replied. “The president has engaged in other misconduct, but I felt that the most egregious misconduct was in pressuring an ally.” The charges in the two articles was “the case that we can prove today.”

He added that work on other matters relating to Mr. Trump’s ethical conduct “will continue.” The last thing he wants to happen, he said, is to allow Mr. Trump to invite foreign intervention in another election.



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