Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

What's next for the Trump impeachment inquiry?

What's next for the Trump impeachment inquiry?

"The evidence is also clear that President Trump conditioned official acts on the public announcement of these investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical USA military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary", the statement adds.

"The president placed his personal political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the USA presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security", said the final report on the Intelligence Committee's investigation. He also continued to seek assistance from foreign governments to probe a 2020 political rival, it said.

Lawmakers are formally accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of misconduct and obstruction, based on a months-long effort by him "to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election".

The intelligence committee voted 13-9, along party lines, to adopt the report and send it to the House judiciary committee where there will be a partisan debate on whether to draft articles of impeachment against Trump.

In the 300-page report, Democrats leading the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee leveled allegations of sweeping abuse of power by Trump, saying he used us military aid and the prospect of a White House visit to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to undertake investigations that would benefit Trump politically.

The report cited dozens of records of contact between Mr Giuliani, his associates, Mr Nunes, and the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

The preface to the report was authored by Adam Schiff, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The report did not deliver a judgment on whether the United States leader'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 - that will be for the full house to decide.

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 new Ukrainian leader was seeking both as a show of legitimacy and support as his country battles Russian aggression.

"The President's misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president", the report argues. "Rather, it was a dramatic crescendo within a months-long campaign driven by President Trump in which senior USA officials, including the Vice President (Mike Pence), the Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo), the Acting Chief of Staff (Mick Mulvaney), the Secretary of Energy (Rick Perry), and others were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President". He calls Trump's call with Ukraine "anything but 'perfect", as the president claims.

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The president will be impeached if the House approves any of the articles of impeachment the House Judiciary Committee has recommended by a simple majority vote.

The committee is likely to hold additional hearings, though none have been scheduled yet.

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

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

The report puts the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, at the center of an effort to force out the USA ambassador to Ukraine and pressure Ukraine's government on Trump's behalf to investigate Biden and his son, as well as a conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election and aided Democrats.

"President Trump and his senior officials may see nothing wrong with using the power of the office of the president to pressure a foreign country to help the president's reelection campaign", it said.

And the committee also found Giuliani in contact on August 8 with numbers associated with the White House, and European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland also in contact with White House and OMB phone numbers on August 9 as negotiations with Ukrainian officials about announcing investigations were ongoing.

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.

He then took aim at Schiff, calling him a "liar".

"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.

What does the report say?

They also held seven public hearings with 12 witnesses.

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