House Democrats unveil articles of impeachment against Donald Trump

In 1974, Richard Nixon faced three articles of impeachment; in 1998, Bill Clinton faced four; and in 2019, Donald Trump faces two.

House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump about two and a half months after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., first announced a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., announced that his committee will consider two articles of impeachment -- one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of Congress -- charging Trump "with committing high crimes and misdemeanors."Nadler said the articles of impeachment were being filed in response to Trump allegedly soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election, compromising national security, threatening the integrity of the upcoming election and concealing evidence from Congress and the American people. Trump, he said, violated his oath of office.

The process is likely to move quite quickly now that the articles have been drafted and presented. The Judiciary Committee will move in the coming days toward the "markup" phase -- a process in which members debate and vote on committee measures -- and we may see the articles of impeachment clear the committee later this week.

The issue would then head to the House floor, with the prospect of final votes on Trump's impeachment as early as next week. A simple majority is all that's needed to pass the articles, and given the size of the Democratic majority in the chamber, the odds of the president being impeached are good.

The matter would then head to the Republican-led Senate for an impeachment trial in which a two-thirds majority -- 67 votes -- would be necessary to remove Trump from office.

But before the process advances, it's worth pausing to note what the current articles of impeachment don't include.

In recent months, there's been considerable debate in Democratic circles about the scope of Trump's impeachment, with some of the conference's more moderate members arguing against a more expansive approach. Of particular interest was the Mueller Report, which documented evidence of presidential obstruction of justice, and which could have been included in the newly unveiled articles.

House Democratic leaders, for good or ill, chose a narrow course.

As for the likely Senate trial, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) appeared on MSNBC last week and raised a few eyebrows when he said he's spoken to a "handful" of Senate Republicans who'd consider voting to convict Trump. "It's a small list on one hand," the Connecticut Democrat added.

Obviously, we'll learn soon enough whether and how many GOP senators are prepared to take the charges seriously, but I find myself thinking about a piece Slate's Dahlia Lithwick published a couple of weeks ago. The headline read, "Stop Assuming Republican Senators Will Do the Right Thing."