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Takeaways from House report on Trump impeachment inquiry

04 December 2019

The Democrats' impeachment report is expected to be presented before the House Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to begin the first day of its own public impeachment hearings on December 4.

Whether to restrict impeachment articles to the current Capitol Hill inquiry or bring in elements of the Mueller report, released in April, has been a source of some disagreement among House Democrats that has yet to be resolved.

During his first press conference in London, President Trump addressed impeachment and repeated numerous same notes he makes on Twitter and during White House lawn press sprays, calling the whole thing a hoax, noting a unified Republican party and, of course, blasting the Democrats for doing a great disservice to the country.

So far, analysts doubt Trump's fellow Republicans would convict and remove him from power, although some politicians have raised the idea of a censure in recent days as a way to rebuke the president's actions without the risk of removal from office.

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"It will be up to the Congress to determine whether these acts rise to the level of an impeachable offense, whether the President shall be held to account, and whether we as a nation are committed to the rule of law - or, instead, whether a president who uses the power of his office to coerce foreign interference in a USA election is something that Americans must simply 'get over, '" Schiff, Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel of NY and Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney of NY said in a joint statement.

Lacking direct evidence to substantiate that Trump withheld security assistance and the prospect of a White House meeting in order to pressure Ukraine, the Democrats instead repeatedly rely on Sondland's presumption to make their case.

The "Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report" provides a detailed, stunning, account of a shadow diplomacy run by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, resulting in layers of allegations that can be distilled into specific acts, like bribery or obstruction, and the more amorphous allegation that Trump abused his power by putting his interests above the nation.

Possible grounds for impeachment are focused on whether Trump abused his office as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open investigations into Trump's political rivals. Republicans frequently mentioned it in the hearings as evidence of Ukraine attempting to influence the outcome of the election, as well as other public criticisms Ukranian officials made against Trump. "This is what you're going to impeach the president of the United States on?" Republicans were allowed to read the Democrats' report the night before, but could only read it in the Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, and could only do so in the presence of a Democrat "minder" who would ensure Republicans would not leak or distribute its contents. "The evidence does not establish any impeachable offense", they wrote. My liberal mother is not talking about Ukraine.

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Trump's campaign is spending robustly to run ads against front-line freshmen lawmakers, many from districts Trump won in 2016 but that flipped in 2018 to give Democrats the House majority.

Cooked into the report are multiple rebuttals to arguments Republicans have made against the impeachment process. Then it moves to the Senate for a trial in 2020. Not a single document was produced by the White House or government agencies despite 71 demands or requests for documents, the report says.

Trump had previously suggested he might be willing to offer written testimony under certain conditions, though aides suggested they did not anticipate Democrats would ever agree to them.

Republicans on the committee, led by Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, plan to use procedural moves to stall the process and portray the inquiry as unfair to the president.

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Takeaways from House report on Trump impeachment inquiry