House committee votes to adopt impeachment report

Lula Sharp
December 4, 2019

"President Trump's scheme subverted USA foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign", Schiff wrote.

The impeachment inquiry, initiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in late September, has found that Trump, "personally and acting through agents within and outside of the US government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection", the report claimed.

The report also accuses Mr Trump of obstruction, becoming the "first and only" president in USA history to "openly and indiscriminately" defy the house's constitutional authority to conduct the impeachment proceedings by instructing officials not to comply with subpoenas for documents and testimony.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, in a television interview on Monday night, said the panel was finalising its report for a public release on Tuesday, with panel members expected to vote on it Tuesday night.

The report cited dozens of records of contact between Mr Giuliani, his associates, Mr Nunes, and the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

The report says Trump demanded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, to publicly announce investigations into political rival Biden.

"The President's misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president", the report argues. But "the president was the author of his own impeachment inquiry by repeatedly seeking foreign help in his election campaigns".

It called the evidence of Trump's misconduct and obstruction "overwhelming".

"Donald Trump is the first President in the history of the United States to seek to completely obstruct an impeachment inquiry undertaken by the House of Representatives", the report said.

Starting on December 4, the Judiciary Committee will begin examining evidence contained in the report and decide whether to draft articles of impeachment, or formal charges against the president.

The committee is likely to hold additional hearings, though none have been scheduled yet.

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The evidence amassed so far makes a strong argument that in his actions toward Ukraine - which extended far beyond an incriminating telephone call - Trump has committed exactly the sort of "high crimes and misdemeanors" that justify his impeachment, and the advancement of the case to a trial in the Senate.

In London for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, Trump again accused the Democrats of playing a political game with impeachment.

Schiff declined to say explicitly if he thinks Trump should be impeached.

The first investigation Mr Trump wanted from Ukraine was into one of his main Democratic challengers, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.

The phone call led an unidentified member of the intelligence community to file a whistleblower complaint that Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election".

And the committee also found Giuliani in contact on August 8 with numbers associated with the White House, and European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland also in contact with White House and OMB phone numbers on August 9 as negotiations with Ukrainian officials about announcing investigations were ongoing.

"We expect to discuss the constitutional framework through which the House may analyze the evidence gathered in the present inquiry", the Committee's Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a letter to Trump last week. Lawmakers are also examining whether the Republican tied a White House meeting or aid for Ukraine to those investigations.

They and other senior administration officials had "knowledge of, in some cases facilitated and furthered the president's scheme, and withheld information about the scheme from the Congress and the American public", the report states.

The report was written by the staff of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs Committees.

Over two weeks of public hearings last month, a number of the 12 witnesses who testified confirmed and elaborated on the efforts allegedly made by Trump, his associates and administration officials to get Ukraine to announce investigations into those two issues, and why they believed delayed US aid to Ukraine would only be released once that nation followed through on those demands. The 12 career diplomats, civil servants and political appointees who testified also detailed the back-channel diplomacy led Giuliani, which undermined long-held USA foreign policy objectives, the report states.

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