House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump on Tuesday released a report making their case against the president, saying he abused the powers of his office for political gain.
Based on 100 hours of deposition testimony from 17 witnesses, the report concluded that Trump sought interference from a foreign power into the 2020 election when he tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into opening politically-motivated investigations.
Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the evidence was indisputable: SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) REP ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: “It involves a scheme in which Donald Trump withheld official acts, a White House meeting, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military assistance, in order to compel that power to deliver two investigations that he believed would assist in his re-election campaign." Those investigations were into Joe Biden and the unfounded theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S.election.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: “These people are deranged.” Ahead of the report’s release Trump, at a NATO summit in London, blasted the Democrats.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: “I think the Democrats should be ashamed of themselves…I think Adam Schiff is a deranged human being….and some day, hopefully in the very long distant future, you'll have a Democrat president.
You'll have a Republican House.
And they’ll do the same thing.
Because somebody picked an orange out of a refrigerator and you don’t like it, so let’s go and impeach him.” Democrats also concluded in the report that Trump obstructed the impeachment inquiry by instructing witnesses and government agencies to ignore subpoenas, and publicly attacked and intimidated witnesses who testified about his misconduct.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) REP ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "If the Congress allows a president to so fully and blanketly obstruct the work Congress even involving an impeachment investigation into the president’s own misconduct, then we are begging for more of the same.
We are signaling to any future president they can engage in whatever corruption, malfeasance or negligence they are beyond accountability….This is not about Ukraine…this is about our democracy, this is about our national security.
This is about whether the American people have a right to expect that the President of the United States is going to act in their interests, with their security in mind, and not for some illicit personal and political reason.” In an advance of the Democrats’ findings , Republicans argued in their own report that Democrats had not established that Trump had committed an impeachable offense, even arguing that the president was right to try to chase down the debunked conspiracy theory the Ukraine interfered in the 2016 race.
The inquiry now moves to the House Judiciary Committee, which will launch its proceedings on Wednesday.
That panel will hear public testimony from four legal scholars on what constitutional basis a U.S. president can be removed from office.