House Democrats charged on Tuesday that Donald Trump abused the powers of his office for his own political gain, laying out a case against the president in a 300-page impeachment report.
In a report released following two months of private and public testimony, the House Intelligence Committee said Trump had pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “do his political bidding” by announcing investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and into allegations that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
“President Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical U.S. military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary,” the report said. In addition, the report said Trump engaged in “an unprecedented campaign of obstruction of this impeachment inquiry.”
The Intelligence Committee is expected to vote late Tuesday to adopt the report, setting the stage for a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, in which legal scholars are slated to testify. The judiciary panel is later expected to begin drafting articles of impeachment.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters that a decision to impeach Trump is up to Congress as a body. But he said he is “gravely concerned” about Trump’s actions being accepted.
“I am keenly aware of the significance of the precedent we set,” said Schiff, a California Democrat.
Trump has denied wrongdoing in his dealings with Ukraine, saying as recently as Tuesday that legal scholars had told him he was correct to use the word “perfect” in describing his telephone calls with Zelensky.
Republicans on Monday released their own report claiming Trump didn’t intend to pressure Ukraine, disputing that he was laying out a “quid pro quo” with the country when he asked Zelensky to investigate Democrats.
In a response to the committee report, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said it was a failure. “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. 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,” Grisham said in a statement.
Trump is in London on Tuesday for a NATO leaders’ summit.
U.S. stocks have largely shrugged off the president’s potential impeachment but were reeling Tuesday from Trump’s trade rhetoric. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
was off more than 420 points at its intraday lows after Trump said a China trade deal may be best pursued after the 2020 election.
A vote by the full House on impeachment is possible by Christmas, which would set up a likely trial in the Republican-controlled Senate in January.