Democrats release impeachment report, accusing Trump of abuse of power
WASHINGTON (CBS News) — House Democrats released a report with their findings from the impeachment investigation into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, accusing the president of placing “his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States” and endangering national security by soliciting assistance from a foreign government to boost his reelection prospects.
The report is based on more than 130 hours of public and private testimony by 17 witnesses before three committees over the past two months. Democrats’ case against the president centers on a delay in military aid to Ukraine and Mr. Trump’s request that the Ukrainian president investigate a political rival and unfounded allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, as well as efforts to obstruct the impeachment investigation.
The document runs 300 pages and was written by Democratic staffers on the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees. Members of the Intelligence Committee will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. to vote on adopting the report before sending it to the Judiciary Committee, along with a separate report prepared by Republican members.
The report lays out nine key findings of the investigation, including:
- The president “solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 U.S. presidential election” and “sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process.”
- Mr. Trump “sought to pressure and induce Ukraine’s newly-elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to publicly announce unfounded investigations” to benefit the president politically.
- “President Trump ordered the suspension of $391 million in vital military assistance” to Ukraine “without any legitimate foreign policy, national security, or anti-corruption justification.”
- “Faced with the revelation of his actions, President Trump publicly and repeatedly persisted in urging foreign governments, including Ukraine and China, to investigate his political opponent.”
- “President Trump ordered and implemented a campaign to conceal his conduct from the public and frustrate and obstruct the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff wrote in the preface of the report that the president had not only compromised American national security by withholding aid to Ukraine, but also obstructed justice in his opposition to the inquiry.
“The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began,” Schiff wrote, adding that “the damage to our 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.”
Read the full impeachment report here
Schiff also condemned Mr. Trump for attempting to involve Ukraine in domestic politics, given he was elected in 2016 “with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized.” The U.S. intelligence community concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the hopes of boosting Mr. Trump’s campaign.
“With this backdrop, the solicitation of new foreign intervention was the act of a president unbound, not one chastened by experience. It was the act of a president who viewed himself as unaccountable and determined to use his vast official powers to secure his reelection,” Schiff wrote.
The report includes some new information, including records of phone calls between Rudy Giuliani and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes. The calls occurred in April, around the time Democrats say a smear campaign against then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch began to flourish.
Phone records also showed contacts between Giuliani and numbers associated with the White House and the Office of Management and Budget, as well as between Giuliani and his associate Lev Parnas, who is under indictment on federal campaign finance charges. The records don’t specify the content of these calls, noting only the dates and durations.
The White House shrugged off the report, saying it read like the “ramblings of a basement blogger.”
“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 in a statement. “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.”
In their companion report released Monday, House Republicans defended the president’s dealings with Ukraine and accused Democrats of trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election. The 110-page report written by Republican staffers argued that the evidence collected does not support the allegations at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
“The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system,” it said. “The Democrats are trying to impeach a duly elected President based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump’s policy initiatives and processes.”
Both the Democratic and Republican reports were published ahead of the Judiciary Committee’s first public hearing with legal experts, which will take place on Wednesday. Lawmakers will hear from four constitutional law experts about the history of impeachment and what constitutes an “impeachable offense.” Republicans on the Judiciary Committee demanded the addition of other witnesses to showcase a “wider array of perspectives regarding impeachment.”