Wednesday, 11 December, 2019

House Intelligence Committee lays out case against Trump

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House in London on Dec. 3 2019 President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House in London on Dec. 3 2019
Deanna Wagner | 04 December, 2019, 11:00

But Clyburn's admission Tuesday that he has a preferred outcome for this process shows that private conversations are now beginning to spill out into the open - hours after the House Intelligence Committee released a 300-page report cataloging Trump's alleged misconduct and on the eve of the House Judiciary Committee's scheduled public hearing with impeachment scholars.

"Oh lord, yes, things have changed a whole lot since these testimonies", Clyburn said, referring to the Intelligence Committee depositions and hearings, acknowledging he had told reporters two weeks ago he was still unsure about whether impeaching Trump was in the offing.

Meanwhile, rather than doing the work to keep the country safe, the Intelligence Committee has "become the Impeachment Committee", said McCarthy, and its chairman, Adam Schiff, "has a hard time with the truth".

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 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 USA national security".

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.

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.

Republicans cite a summary of a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as "the best evidence" that no such pressure campaign occurred.

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"The president engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation's upcoming presidential election to his advantage", the report says.

Democrats charged that the White House's obstruction of their impeachment investigation was an "unprecedented campaign", detailing the numerous subpoenas that were defied over the two-month investigation. That testimony is unlikely to sway Republicans who refuse to be swayed, but it should remind Democrats and independents of the lengths that Trump will go to abuse his office.

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. Congressional Republicans on Monday released their report ahead of the Democrats, a document that fully defended the President's actions on Ukraine and accused Democrats of rushing to impeach the President without any evidence that Trump did anything wrong. "Chairman Schiff's report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing".

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

"Obstruction of justice, I think, is too clear not to include" in impeachment articles, Clyburn said.

The report was expected to focus on the findings by the Intelligence Committee in the Ukraine case - whether Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden as well as a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 presidential election as the US dangled taxpayer funding to Ukraine and a White House meeting for its leader in exchange.

Cooked into the report are multiple rebuttals to arguments Republicans have made against the impeachment process.