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House Democrats conclude in a draft report released Tuesday that President Trump abused the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations beneficial to his re-election campaign — and that he obstructed Congress' authority by ordering witnesses to defy subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry.
Why it matters: The report will serve as an outline for some, if not all, of the articles of impeachment that the House could vote on as early as mid-December.
Driving the news: The committee is expected to formally adopt the report during a closed-door meeting Tuesday night. It will then go, along with a minority report from the Republicans, to the House Judiciary Committee, which is ultimately responsible for drafting articles of impeachment.
Between the lines: Much of the information in the report isn't new, but it's being pulled together to lay out Democrats' case that Trump committed impeachable offenses.
- It includes interviews with over a dozen witnesses, as well as historical comparisons that Democrats believe prove Trump's stonewalling of Congress is "unprecedented."
- Revelations in the form of call records show communications between Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
- Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said at a news conference Tuesday the "phone records show that there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House."
- The call records also show that on April 24, the day that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was recalled, Giuliani had phone calls with numbers associated with the White House and the Office of Management and Budget.
Top line conclusions:
- Democrats say Trump pressured Ukraine for his own political benefit, and in doing so, he “sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.”
- They assert Trump withheld vital military assistance from Ukraine and a coveted White House meeting as leverage for announcing those investigations.
- They argue that Trump’s “closest subordinates and advisers,” including acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and others, had direct knowledge of the president’s "scheme."
- Democrats say Trump ”ordered and implemented a campaign to conceal his conduct from the public” and obstruct the congressional impeachment inquiry, including by blocking those subordinates and advisers from testifying.
What to watch: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the committee will continue its investigation even though the inquiry has formally been handed over to the Judiciary Committee.
What they're saying:
"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.”— White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham
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