Wednesday morning news: December 11, 2019

Democrats unveil articles of impeachment » House Democrats made it official on Tuesday—presenting articles of impeachment against the president. 

NADLER: The House Committee on the Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment against the president of the United States Donald J. Trump with committing high crimes and misdemeanors. 

Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, heard there. Democrats charge that the president abused his power and obstructed Congress. 

Several party leaders joined Nadler at a Tuesday press conference, including House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, who said the president left them no choice. 

SCHIFF: To do nothing would make ourselves complicit in the president’s abuse of his high office, the public trust, and our national security. 

Republicans again fired back, saying it is Democrats who are abusing their power. And GOP Congressman Doug Collins said the case against Trump is unprecedented in its weakness. 

COLLINS: Political impeachments are partisan when they are based on not-facts. The Clinton and Nixon impeachments actually had real crimes. Clinton actually committed a crime. Nixon actually committed a crime. The president has not committed a crime. 

Attorney General William Barr pushed back on the charge that the president obstructed Congress. He argued that a branch of government—his words—“asserting a legal privilege” that it “has under the law” does not constitute obstruction. 

The Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the articles of impeachment in a matter of days. The full House will likely vote before Christmas.

Pelosi announces agreement USMCA trade deal » The same day Democrats announced impeachment charges against the president—a rare display of unity in the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a deal to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade. 

PELOSI: It’s a victory for America’s workers. It’s one that we take great pride—great pride in advancing. 

Texas GOP Congressman Kevin Brady agreed. 

BRADY: This agreement means more jobs, more customers for made-in-America goods, and a stronger economy for the United States. 

This agreement would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, handing a big win to President Trump. He panned NAFTA for years, calling it a terrible deal. 

Pelosi said the USMCA is unquestionably better than NAFTA—though, she credited Democratic negotiators for winning stronger provisions. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will begin hearings on the agreement after impeachment proceedings come to a close. 

Russian foriegn minister visits White House » Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday. It was his first visit to Washington since 2017. 

Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with his Russian counterpart. He said they talked about a range of issues. 

POMPEO: We touched on counterterrorism, counternarcotics. Our intelligence, law enforcement professionals cooperate in these areas on a daily basis and will keep doing so. And we’ll aim to make that cooperation even more refined and better. 

He said they discussed North Korea and agreed on the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. 

He also, once again, warned against Russian interference in U.S. elections. And Lavrov again denied that Moscow has ever interfered. 

Death toll rises from volcanic eruption in New Zealand » At least six people are now confirmed dead after tourists got caught in a volcanic eruption in New Zealand Monday. A sixth person died at a hospital in Auckland yesterday.   

Officials believe another eight people died on the island, but it’s still too dangerous to recover their remains. 

Many more were injured, burned by the scalding steam. And New Zealand Health Ministry spokesman Pete Watson said some of the injured are clinging to life. 

WATSON: We’re doing all we can, and we’re really confident of the expertise we have. It is possible that not all of the patients will survive, but at this stage, everybody is receiving the care that they require.

It’s unclear why tourists were still allowed to visit the island after seismic monitoring experts raised the volcano’s alert level last month. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “These questions must be asked and they must be answered.” 

At least six dead after gunman opens fire in Czech hospital » A gunman killed six patients at a Czech hospital on Tuesday. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, a 42-year-old man walked into a hospital waiting room and began shooting people at close range with an illegally obtained gun. The shooter then fatally shot himself in his car as police closed in. 

The Czech government said the suspect had been treated in the hospital, but didn’t offer details. And right now, authorities have no idea why he opened fire in the waiting room. Police say he did have a criminal record and that he acted alone.

Six other people suffered bullet wounds. All of the victims were adult patients awaiting treatment. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Copy of the Articles of Impeachment, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 in Washington.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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