Published: Wed, December 04, 2019

House Democrats' impeachment report accuses Trump of abusing power

House Democrats' impeachment report accuses Trump of abusing power

"This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations", said White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.

Evidence of misconduct was overwhelming "and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress", it adds.

Telephone records showed that the Intelligence Committee's ranking Republican, Devin Nunes, had multiple contacts with Mr Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate arrested in October on charges of illegally funnelling money to a pro-Trump election committee and other politicians.

The report suggested wrongdoing within the executive branch extended beyond 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 USA 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.

Making their case to move forward with impeachment, the report said that "any future President will feel empowered to resist an investigation into their own wrongdoing, malfeasance, or corruption, and the result will be a nation at far greater risk of all three". "A case for impeachment could be made, but it cannot be made on this record", he says.

The New York Democrat also said they will discuss whether Trump's alleged actions "warrant the House's exercising its authority to adopt articles of impeachment".

The inquiry found that Trump "solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection", Schiff wrote in the report's preface.

As the report put it, "the president placed his personal political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the US presidential election process, and endangered USA national security".

The report argued that the president's reluctance to meet with Ukraine's newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky and allow the almost $400 million in security aid to to go through was not meant to coerce Ukraine to investigate Trump's political rivals, as had been alleged by Democrats.

The Judiciary panel, which begins meeting on Wednesday, has set no formal timeframe.

For now, the White House counsel has refused to participate - at least in the first hearing.

Republicans firmly control the Senate and few in the chamber have given any hint they would break ranks and vote to convict Trump based on the current evidence.

Grisham, 43, ripped Rep. Adam Schiff, who is the chairman of the committee, in a statement released shortly after the report was made public. Democrats, they argue, just want to undo the 2016 election.

"None of the Democrats' witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanours", it argues, in reference to the constitutional clause that permits the removal of a president.

As the report notes, among the articles of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee in its investigation of President Nixon was one concluding that he had obstructed justice by withholding evidence. "I think this really needs to be a decision that we all make as a body, so I'm going to continue reserve judgment", he told reporters in Washington on December 3.

What is Trump accused of?

At the time, Trump was withholding $400 million in military aid, jeopardizing key support as Ukraine faces an aggressive Russian Federation at its border. They think this political pressure on a vulnerable United States ally amounts to an abuse of power.

At issue is whether Trump misused the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election.

US President Donald Trump has called the impeachment investigation a "hoax". This theory has been widely debunked, and the U.S. intelligence agencies are unanimous in saying Moscow was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails in 2016.

There is no formal time frame for the impeachment process.

That panel, under chairman Jerrold Nadler of NY, will begin formal impeachment hearings on Wednesday with the task of actually deciding whether to bring any articles against Trump to the House floor for a vote.

Media captionWhat does it take to impeach a president? To remove Trump from office, two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote in favor.

Possible grounds for impeachment are focused on whether Trump abused his office as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open investigations into Trump's political rivals. He said, "They're concerned if they do not impeach this president they cant beat him in an election".

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