Trump impeachment evidence ‘overwhelming’ says panel
Inquiry moves to next phase as House intelligence committee votes to adopt report
The case for impeaching Donald Trump for misconduct in office is “overwhelming”, according to the panel leading the impeachment inquiry.
In a key report to House lawmakers, the panel says the president placed personal political interests “above the national interests of the United States” by trying to “solicit foreign interference” from Ukraine to help his 2020 re-election bid.
The 300-page report from the House Intelligence Committee “sets the stage for the impeachment of a US president for just the third time in history”, CNN says.
The inquiry’s report, described as “damning” by The Guardian, says the panel “uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election”.
“President Trump's scheme subverted US foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favour of two politically-motivated investigations that would help his presidential re-election campaign,” it continues.
It then argues that “the president demanded that the newly-elected Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce investigations into a political rival that he apparently feared the most, former Vice-President Joe Biden, and into a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election”.
Evidence of misconduct is overwhelming “and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress”, the report concludes.
The US House intelligence committee voted last night to adopt the 300-page impeachment report, moving the inquiry into Donald Trump into its next phase.
Republicans now have two days to submit “minority views” before the intelligence committee chairman, Adam Schiff, forwards the report and its appendices to the House judiciary committee.
Trump has already denied any wrongdoing, and has described the inquiry as a witch-hunt.
Yesterday, the president raged to reporters: “The Democrats have gone crazy and you know what? They have to be careful because when the shoe is on the other foot, and some day, hopefully in the very long distant future, you’ll have a Democrat president, you’ll have a Republican House and they’ll do the same thing because somebody picked an orange out of a refrigerator and you don’t like it so let’s go and impeach them.”
He then launched an attack on House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, saying: “I think he’s a maniac. I think Adam Schiff is a deranged human being. I think he grew up with a complex for lots of reasons that are obvious. I think he’s a very sick man.”
The judiciary committee will conduct its own hearings, starting today. Congress could debate the articles and vote on them by 20 December, before they break up for Christmas.
Democrats hold a firm majority in the House, so they should be able to pass the articles even if lawmakers vote strictly along party lines. The matter would then pass to the Senate.
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