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Evidence against Donald Trump is 'overwhelming', final House impeachment report finds

04 December 2019

The report also accuses Trump of obstruction, becoming the "first and only" president in USA history to "openly and indiscriminately" defy the House's constitutional authority to conduct the impeachment proceedings by instructing officials not to comply with subpoenas for documents and testimony.

The House intelligence committee will vote later Tuesday to advance its findings, based on the closed-door and public hearings it held over the past weeks, to to the House judiciary committee to determine the article of impeachment.

The matter will then go to the House Judiciary Committee, which will launch its proceedings on Wednesday.

Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill argues, "If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning".

If the full House ultimately votes the same way, formal impeachment charges and a trial would be held in the Republican-led US Senate, where a two-thirds majority would be required to convict Trump, thus removing him from office.

None of that will come as a surprise to Mr Trump or members of his Republican party - but it will infuriate the president, our correspondent adds. "You don't censure somebody when they did nothing wrong".

Over two weeks of public hearings last month, a number of the 12 witnesses who testified confirmed and elaborated on the efforts allegedly made by Trump, his associates and administration officials to get Ukraine to announce investigations into those two issues, and why they believed delayed US aid to Ukraine would only be released once that nation followed through on those demands.

Republicans defended the president in a 123-page rebuttal claiming Trump never meant to pressure Ukraine when he asked for a "favour" - investigations of Democrats and Joe Biden.

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Opinion polls show Americans are bitterly divided over whether to impeach Trump.

The report was approved by the intelligence panel on a partisan vote on Tuesday evening.

"We feel a sense of urgency", Schiff told MSNBC late Monday.

Rather, the Republican report stated that, "The Democrats' impeachment inquiry paints a picture of unelected bureaucrats within the foreign policy and national security apparatus who fundamentally disagreed with President Trump's style, world view, and decisions".

Trump also pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a "conspiracy theory" that it was Ukraine, and not Russian Federation, that interfered in the 2016 United States election, to benefit the Democrats.

In the first instance, it alleged, Trump conditioned military aid and a face-to-face meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky on Kiev opening several politically-motivated investigations, including into former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 election race.

In an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal said Kyiv was aware the USA aid had been withheld in July, in what the newspaper said was the first public acknowledgment by Ukraine that its top officials knew about the delay in the midst of Trump's pressure campaign.

House leaders announced they would remain in session until December 20, more than a week longer than initially planned, leaving open the possibility of a vote to impeach Trump days before Christmas.

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What happens if the president is impeached?

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused Democrats of using the impeachment process to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election. He also continued to seek assistance from foreign governments to probe a 2020 political rival, it said.

He also raised questions about his rivals' patriotism, particularly as he travelled overseas and sought to negotiate on a range of issues, although he said he did not think it weakened his position while at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

"I think it's very unpatriotic for the Democrats to put on a performance where they do that. I do".

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.

"Does it cast a cloud?"

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who controls the chamber and is leading Democrats' impeachment push, declined to discuss impeachment during her visit to Madrid for a climate summit this week, saying it was inappropriate to talk about such a domestic matter while overseas.

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Evidence against Donald Trump is 'overwhelming', final House impeachment report finds