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

Fashion Notes Melania Trump Is Runway Ready in Valentino Cape for Visit with the Queen		AP  Getty Images John Binder3 Dec 2019

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee voted Tuesday to adopt a draft report accusing President Donald Trump of abusing the power of his office to benefit his 2020 presidential reelection campaign.

The heart of the impeachment probe is whether Trump misused the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election.

"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 USA presidential election process, and endangered US national security", the report declared.

The report did not render a judgment on whether Trump's actions stemming from a July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president rose to the constitutional level of "high crimes and misdemeanours" warranting impeachment.

Members of USA congress are weighing up findings that President Donald Trump misused the power of his office for personal political gain and then obstructed an investigation as possible grounds for impeachment. 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 say the military aid the White House was withholding was not being used as leverage, as Democrats claim - and besides, the $400 million was ultimately released, although only after a congressional outcry.

Why the switch? Because Dems cannot afford to prove that Trump committed a crime, even after three years of investigating Mueller, followed by Schiff's television show.

Trump, who's in London for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, slammed the impeachment inquiry and Schiff earlier in the day.

What does the report say?

Based on two months of investigation sparked by a still-anonymous government whistleblower's complaint, the report relies heavily on testimony from current and former USA officials who defied White House orders not to appear. Working with two business associates and a trio of US officials, Giuliani tried to force Trump's demands for investigations on Ukrainian officials.

"There remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue", according to the 300-page report drafted by staff of the Democrat-led House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs Committees.

In an interview with the US cable network Fox News Tuesday, Nunes said he did not specifically recall talking with Parnas, but acknowledged he may have.


"I think he grew up with a complex for lots of reasons that are obvious", the U.S. president said.

Parnas, who was indicted along with Belarus-born Igor Fruman, another Guiliani associate, is seeking immunity to testify to the House Intelligence Committee.

To compel Zelensky to do this, Trump allegedly "conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical US military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary", Schiff wrote.

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 almost $400 million in military assistance and a White House meeting for Ukraine's president.

The "Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report" provides a detailed, stunning, account of a shadow diplomacy run by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, resulting in layers of allegations that can be distilled into specific acts, like bribery or obstruction, and the more amorphous allegation that Trump abused his power by putting his interests above the nation.

"You can have a report that goes through twenty articles that were investigated, but only one or two are brought to a vote", said a second aide to a House Judiciary Committee Democrat, who described the proposal as having a "one-page summary" of articles of impeachment serving as the cover to a more comprehensive report.

House investigators have noted the Mr Trump administration's refusal to hand over telephone records.

The president and other administration officials have criticised the timing as Trump attends the summit overseas, although former Democratic President Bill Clinton also faced impeachment during a 1998 trip to Israel.

"These officials not only served their nation honorably, but they fulfilled their oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States", the report stated.

The Intelligence panel makes no recommendation on possible articles of impeachment against the president, but the report suggests that Trump's obstruction goes well beyond that of his predecessors who were investigated by Congress.

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