Trump impeachment report shows ‘uncontested evidence’ of abuse of power, Schiff says

04 Décembre, 2019, 10:18 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Trump impeachment report shows ‘uncontested evidence’ of abuse of power, Schiff says

House Democrats on Tuesday asserted President Donald Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election, releasing an impeachment report that found that the president "placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States". He also continued to seek assistance from foreign governments to probe a 2020 political rival, it said.

"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.

If they draft Articles of Impeachment, the House only needs a simple majority to impeach Trump.

"The impeachment inquiry has found that President 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" next year, the report said.

The White House dismissed the report.

Schiff indicated as much Monday when he said that the Republican report "ignores voluminous evidence that the president used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rival by withholding military aid and a White House meeting the president of Ukraine desperately sought".

At the heart of the impeachment inquiry was the president's attempt during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to leverage the promise of White House meeting and the release of almost $400 million USA aid to get Ukraine to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden created 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.

The Justice Department filed a brief before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, seeking to block impeachment investigators from gaining access to secret grand jury evidence gathered by Robert Mueller, the special counsel who investigated Russia's 2016 election interference and the Trump campaign.

The findings are set to be handed over to the House Judiciary Committee, which is taking over the next phase of the impeachment inquiry.

The Judiciary Committee, led by longtime Trump nemesis Jerry Nadler, will open hearings on Wednesday with four legal experts expected to discuss whether the Democrats' impeachment process and the charges against the president adhere to the US Constitution. But with the Judiciary Committee scheduling only one hearing for this week, Democrats were facing a calendar squeeze that could make it hard for them to complete the intricate impeachment process before year's end.

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Democrats are keen to hold a vote on impeaching Donald Trump before the end of the year, setting up the potential of a trial in the Senate perhaps as early as January, our correspondent says.

But the president's Republican allies will be present.

"I think he's a maniac", Trump said.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, which has spearheaded the impeachment probe, said Trump had used U.S. military aid and the prospect of a White House visit to compel his Ukrainian counterpart to "do his political bidding".

Sondland would later testify that there was a "quid pro quo" of an announcement of investigations in return for a White House meeting with Trump.

Rather, it was Trump's "deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine due to its history of pervasive corruption" and his "long-held skepticism of USA foreign assistance".

The Intelligence panel's findings are the culmination of an investigation that began in conjunction with the Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs committees in late September. At the heart of these allegation is a July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, which led the launch of the impeach inquiry.

The whistle-blower reported that some officials raised concerns that Trump may have broken the law by raising the prospect of a Biden investigation.

The report provided some new details of frequent calls to the White House by the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

The House Intelligence Committee has held public and private hearings investigating the president for the past three months. They also held seven public hearings with 12 witnesses.

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