Trump abused power of presidency, Dems conclude in impeachment report

Source: Politico | December 3, 2019 | Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio

The House Intelligence Committee’s report on Trump’s Ukraine dealings is a roadmap for lawmakers drafting articles of impeachment.

President Donald Trump abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, House Democrats concluded in a highly anticipated report released Tuesday.

The 300-page House Intelligence Committee report, which is expected to form the basis for articles of impeachment, also accuses Trump of engaging in an extensive effort to obstruct the House’s impeachment inquiry and deprive investigators of key witnesses and documents.

The report describes a president eager to use his leverage over Ukraine — a country at war with Russia — to extract political benefits ahead of the 2020 election. Trump allegedly conditioned military aid and a coveted White House meeting for Zelensky on his willingness to launch Trump’s desired investigations, including one targeting former Vice President Joe Biden.

“[T]he president placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security,” the report concludes.

The Intelligence Committee formally adopted the report later Tuesday on a party-line vote, ahead of the first impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Republicans offered seven amendments to the report ahead of the vote, according to people familiar with the matter, but all were defeated.

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Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said his report uncovered “overwhelming” evidence that should be presented to the Judiciary Committee immediately for consideration.

And while there remains substantial investigative work which may point to a broader and longer-running pressure campaign than previously understood, Schiff said his panel had gathered enough evidence to present a persuasive case, and that it would be a mistake to wait for “every last fact.”

“I think what we have produced in remarkably short order is so overwhelming that it ought to be presented to the Judiciary Committee now,” Schiff said, leaving open the possibility of filing supplemental reports if more information emerges.

The report does not specifically recommend articles of impeachment against the president. But it provides the Judiciary Committee with a roadmap as it prepares to consider the evidence and draft articles in the coming weeks — and it outlines a historical precedent for the impeachment process.

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