House Democrats released their 300-page impeachment report yesterday, claiming that Trump misused his power to bribe a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 election and that he obstructed impeachment hearings.
“President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. 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, according to Fox News.
Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who led the Intelligence Committee in the hearings, tweeted shortly after the report was released: “The impeachment inquiry uncovered overwhelming and uncontested evidence that President Trump abused the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference in our election for his own personal, political gain. No one is above the law.”
The report accused the president of ignoring democracy for political gain and endangering the country. It also shed light on new details of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s frequent phone calls to the White House and implicated other high-level leaders, such as Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; energy secretary Rick Perry; and, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, in either knowing or being involved with bribing Ukraine, as reported by the New York Times.
“[The phone call] was a dramatic crescendo within a months-long campaign driven by President Trump in which senior U.S. officials … were either knowledgeable or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President,” the report claimed.
More than 90 pages are dedicated to the president’s alleged obstruction to the inquiry in “a brazen effort to publicly attack and intimidate” witnesses and his refusal to adhere to the Constitution. The report highlighted that even President Richard Nixon, who was charged with contempt of Congress during his impeachment, produced records and allowed aids to testify.
“The damage to our system of checks and balances, and to the balance of power within our three branches of government, will be long-lasting and potentially irrevocable if the president’s ability to stonewall Congress goes unchecked,” the report said. “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.”
In light of the report, House Democrats will seek advice from the Judiciary Committee, and constitutional scholars will discuss historical precedent from previous impeachment hearings. The next step is for the House, which is Democrat-led, to vote on impeachment.
Though Schiff and other Democrats have worked to speed along the process and encouraged the House to vote on impeachment before Christmas, a senior member of Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team shared their doubts.
“I just don’t see it,” the source said to Fox News. “It’s too big.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s administration has pushed back against the allegations, claiming that Trump did nothing wrong and his phone call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect.”
“At the end of a one-sided sham process, Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said. “This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations. Chairman Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing.”
Trump also chimed in, accusing the Democrats of the same charge of political gain brought against him.
“They’re going to see whether or not they can do something in 2020 because otherwise, they’re going to lose,” he said.
Ukrainian president Zelensky Volodymyr has denied any quid pro quo between the leaders but did criticize the president’s decision to delay aid.
As the House nears a vote, the Senate is preparing for a potential trial. Republican majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has reached out to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, to work on a bipartisan agreement for trial procedures. In order to oust Trump from office, two-thirds of the Republican-led Senate would need to vote to convict.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Spencer Platt/Staff
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine. She blogs at mikaelamathews.com.