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House Democrats Considered 10 Impeachment Articles Before Narrowing Their Case Against Trump

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee staff initially drew up 10 articles of impeachment against President Trump last year, alleging a wide range of high crimes and misdemeanors before the case was whittled down to his interactions with Ukraine, according to a book to be published next week.

The staff members, working for Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the committee chairman, drafted a sweeping indictment of Mr. Trump charging him with, among other things, obstructing the Russia investigation, authorizing hush money for women to cover up sexual affairs, illegally diverting money to his border wall and profiting personally from his office.

In the end, House Democratic leaders privately rejected prosecuting the president for those other actions, according to the book, calculating that such an expansive set of accusations would cost them votes even among Democrats by seeming to go too far and thus potentially sink the whole impeachment effort. The internal debate came down to whether to include a third article claiming obstruction of the special counsel investigation but Speaker Nancy Pelosi vetoed it.

The decision to pursue a narrower case has long posed one of the most perplexing what-if counterfactuals of the entire impeachment and trial of Mr. Trump: What would have happened if House Democrats had thrown everything they had against the president rather than stick to just his campaign to pressure Ukraine to incriminate his Democratic rivals? Would a broader case have been more compelling as some Democrats argued or be viewed as overreach as the leaders of the impeachment drive concluded?

The new book by Norman L. Eisen, a former White House official and ambassador who served as a lawyer for Mr. Nadler, is the first inside account to emerge from only the third impeachment of a president in American history. Nearly six months after the Senate acquitted Mr. Trump, Mr. Eisen in effect is trying to appeal the verdict to the higher court of public opinion as the election approaches and therefore titled his book, “A Case for the American People.”

Read entire article at The New York Times