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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Impeachment probe: Donald Trump acted to undermine US, House Committee’s report says

The report by the House Intelligence Committee was a sweeping indictment of the president’s behaviour, concluding he sought to undermine American democracy and endangered national security, then worked to conceal his actions from Congress.

By: New York Times | Washington | Updated: December 4, 2019 9:29:46 am
Impeachment probe: Donald Trump acted to undermine US, House Committee’s report says President Donald Trump waves as he walks towards Air Force One on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., for a trip to the NATO Summit in London. (AP Photo: Kevin Wolf)

Written by Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Fandos

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.”

The report by the House Intelligence Committee was a sweeping indictment of the president’s behavior, concluding he sought to undermine American democracy and endangered national security, then worked to conceal his actions from Congress.

Democrats left it to another committee to decide whether to recommend Trump’s impeachment, but their report presented what are all but certain to be the grounds on which the House votes to formally charge him.

The intelligence panel adopted it, strictly along partisan lines, hours after its release.

Both parties are poised for a raucous debate in the House Judiciary Committee over whether to charge the president with high crimes and misdemeanors, the Constitution’s threshold for removal, and a likely partisan vote by the House to do so before Christmas.

The report provided some new details of frequent calls to the White House by the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. But for the most part, it described the account that emerged over more than two months of sworn testimony from diplomats and other administration officials of how the president and his allies pressured Ukraine to announce investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats, while withholding nearly $400 million in military assistance and a White House meeting for Ukraine’s president.

And it detailed how officials at the highest levels of his administration — including Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Rick Perry, the energy secretary; and Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff — either knew of the president’s efforts or were deeply involved in carrying them out.

Traveling with Trump in London for a meeting of NATO leaders, Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, denounced the Democratic report moments after it was released. She called it the conclusion of a “one-sided sham process.”

The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin its debate Wednesday with a public hearing that features four constitutional scholars discussing the historical standards for impeachment.

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