WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House released its impeachment report Tuesday outlining evidence of what it calls President Donald Trump’s wrongdoings toward Ukraine. These findings will serve as the foundation for debate over whether the 45th president should be removed from office.
The 300-page report from Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee makes the case that Trump misused the power of his office and, in the course of their investigation, obstructed Congress by stonewalling the proceedings. Based on two months of investigation, the report contains evidence and testimony from current and former U.S. officials.
“The impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection,” the report said.
The House Intelligence panel will vote, in what is expected to be a party-line tally, to send the document to the Judiciary Committee ahead of a landmark impeachment hearing Wednesday.
“It will be up to the Congress to determine whether these acts rise to the level of an impeachable offense,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement with the chairmen of the Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committee, who drafted the report.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said “Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump.” She said the report “reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing.”
Ahead of the release, Republicans defended the president’s call for investigations of Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. They say the military aid the White House was withholding was not being used as leverage, as Democrats claim, and the $400 million was ultimately released.
Trump at the opening of a NATO leaders’ meeting in London on Tuesday criticized the impeachment push as “unpatriotic” and “a bad thing for our country.”
The report lays the foundation for the House Judiciary Committee to assess potential articles of impeachment starting Wednesday, presenting a history-making test of political judgment with a case that is dividing Congress and the country.
Trump said he will not watch the judiciary panel’s hearing, saying it’s “all nonsense, they’re just wasting their time.”
Democrats once hoped to sway Republicans to consider Trump’s removal, but they are now facing the prospect of an ever-hardening partisan split over the swift-moving proceedings on impeaching the president.
The findings are expected to forcefully make the Democrats’ case that Trump engaged in what Schiff calls impeachable “wrongdoing and misconduct” in pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden and Democrats while withholding military aid to the ally.
Trump criticized the House for pushing forward with the proceedings while he was overseas, a breach of political decorum that traditionally leaves partisan differences at the water’s edge.
He predicted Republicans would actually benefit from the impeachment effort against him.
For the Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces a critical moment of her leadership as she steers the process ahead after resisting the impeachment inquiry through the summer, warning at the time that it was too divisive for the country and required bipartisan support.
Possible grounds for impeachment are focused on whether Trump abused his office during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25.
The next step comes when the Judiciary Committee gavels open its own hearing with legal experts to assess the findings and consider potential articles of impeachment ahead of a possible vote by the full House by Christmas. That would presumably send it to the Senate for a trial in January.
The Democratic majority on the Intelligence Committee says its report, compiled after weeks of testimony from current and former diplomats and administration officials, speaks for itself in laying out the president’s actions toward Ukraine.
Republicans preempted the report’s public release with their own 123-page rebuttal, claiming Democrats just want to undo the 2016 election.
“They are trying to impeach President Trump because some unelected bureaucrats chafed at an elected President’s ‘outside the beltway’ approach to diplomacy,” according to the report from Republican Reps. Devin Nunes of California, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Michael McCaul of Texas.
Democrats could begin drafting articles of impeachment against the president in a matter of days, with voting in the Judiciary Committee next week.
The White House declined an invitation to participate, with counsel Pat Cipollone denouncing the proceedings as a “baseless and highly partisan inquiry” in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
Trump had previously suggested that he might be willing to offer written testimony under certain conditions, though aides suggested they did not anticipate Democrats would ever agree to them.
Cipollone’s letter of nonparticipation applied only to the Wednesday hearing, and he demanded more information from Democrats on how they intended to conduct further hearings before Trump would decide whether to participate.