President Donald Trump abused his office by soliciting Ukraine’s government to deliver a political favour, then undertook an effort to obscure his conduct and obstruct a congressional investigation, the House Intelligence Committee concluded.
The report by the panel’s Democratic-majority on its months-long investigation said Trump compromised national security and embarked on a campaign to block and intimidate potential and actual witnesses to his Ukraine-related conduct. He also continued to seek assistance from foreign governments to probe a political rival, it said.
“This continued solicitation of foreign interference in a U.S. election presents a clear and present danger that the president will continue to use the power of his office for his personal political gain,” the report, released Tuesday, said.
The Democrats’ report makes no recommendation on possible articles of impeachment against the president, but lays out justification for the next stage of the inquiry and for the House to vote on impeaching Trump.
“It will be up to the Congress to determine whether these acts rise to the level of an impeachable offense, whether the president shall be held to account, and whether we as a nation are committed to the rule of law–or, instead, whether a president who uses the power of his office to coerce foreign interference in a U.S. election is something that Americans must simply ‘get over,’” Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel wrote in a joint statement.
Read the Democratic House Intelligence Committee report
At the heart of the impeachment inquiry was the president’s leveraging the promise of White House meeting and the release of nearly $400 million U.S. aid to force the Ukraine’s president to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden designed to benefit Trump politically.
“The president’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president,” the report said. “Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a president who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the president welcomed and utilized.”
The findings are set to be handed over to the House Judiciary Committee, which is taking over the next phase of the impeachment inquiry.
That panel, under chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York, will begin formal impeachment hearings on Wednesday with has the task of actually deciding whether to bring any articles against Trump to the House floor for a vote. Democrats have so far scheduled just the one hearing, but have been driving to complete any impeachment action by Christmas.
A dissenting “minority report” from committee Republicans released Monday disputes that any of the Democrats’ allegations have been proven and that “none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor.”
Rather, the Republican report states that, “The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry paints a picture of unelected bureaucrats within the foreign policy and national security apparatus who fundamentally disagreed with President Trump’s style, world view, and decisions.”
“Their disagreements with President Trump’s policies and their discomfort with President Trump’s actions set in motion the anonymous, secondhand whistle-blower complaint. Democrats seized on the whistle-blower complaint to fulfill their years-old obsession with removing President Trump from office,” the Republican report says.