House committee’s impeachment report accuses Trump of abusing power

Nellie Chapman
December 4, 2019

The report will lay the foundation for the Judiciary Committee to assess potential articles of impeachment, presenting a history-making test of political judgment with a case that is dividing Congress and the country. In doing so, the president "sought to undermine the integrity of the USA presidential election process, and endangered US national security", the report said.

Whether to restrict impeachment articles to the current Capitol Hill inquiry or bring in elements of the Mueller report, released in April, has been a source of some disagreement among House Democrats that has yet to be resolved. The House Intelligence Committee will vote to approve the report Tuesday evening, and will then send it to the Judiciary Committee, which plans to hold hearings and would draft articles of impeachment against Trump.

On the debate between a wide and narrow impeachment, I have generally come down on the side of a Ukraine-centric impeachment, if for no other reason than the basis for impeachment can be succinctly stated.

"Ambassador Sondland had relayed a message to President Zelensky six days earlier that "assurances to run a fully transparent investigation" and "turn over every stone" were necessary in his call with President Trump", the report states. (Trump abused his office and endangered national security by withholding a White House meeting and military aid in an effort to extort an ally into assisting him in his reelection bid.) However, the ruling last week, followed by a denial of a request for stay, from the district court rebuffing the president's claim of absolute immunity should change the House's calculus.

Nadler extended an invitation to Trump and his counsel to participate in Wednesday's hearing, but the White House said Sunday that they declined the offer.

Democrats also accused Trump of an unprecedented effort to obstruct an impeachment inquiry that included categorical refusals to provide documents and testimony from his top advisers, unsuccessful attempts to block career government officials from testifying and the intimidation of witnesses.

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In a statement, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said, "Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump".

"This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations".

"The Democrats' impeachment inquiry, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, is merely the outgrowth of their obsession with re-litigating the results of the 2016 presidential election", the Republicans said in their report. They see two items of misconduct there, separately, the idea that the president used his power for political gain, to get an investigation that helped him politically.

Then it delivers distinct warnings about what Trump might do next if he is not impeached - and what future presidents might do if Trump is not challenged on his obstruction of Congress.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday that the report "outlines in considerable detail a scheme that began actually well before the recall of Ambassador (Marie) Yovanovitch, and was created to further two political objectives of the President, which is an investigation into Joe Biden and an investigation into this debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine that interfered in the last election, not Russian Federation - notwithstanding all of our intelligence agencies concluding it was Russian Federation, notwithstanding the fact that it's actually Putin's narrative that Ukraine did it, not us".

"There remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue, even as we transmit our report to the judiciary committee", the report says. Jerry Nadler of NY, is holding its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday with legal experts.

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