Monday, December 16, 2019
“WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee formally presented its case for impeaching President Trump in a 658-page report published online early Monday morning, arguing just days before a final vote in the House that he “betrayed the nation by abusing his high office.”
The report, which echoes similar documents produced after the committee’s approval of impeachment articles for Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton, contains no new allegations or evidence against Mr. Trump.
But it offers a detailed road map for the two articles of impeachment the committee approved, charging that Mr. Trump abused the power of the presidency to enlist Ukraine in tarnishing his political rivals and obstructing Congress by blocking witnesses from testifying and refusing to provide documents.
The House is expected to vote on Wednesday on whether to impeach the sitting president for only the third time in the nation’s history, setting in motion a trial in the Senate early next year that could lead to Mr. Trump’s removal from office.
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“President Trump has placed his personal, political interests above our national security, our free and fair elections, and our system of checks and balances,” the report states. “He has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that will continue if left unchecked. Accordingly, President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.”
The report argues that the House should charge Mr. Trump with abuse of power for holding up nearly $400 million worth of security aid and the promise of a White House meeting until Ukraine agreed to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and 2016 election interference.
“When the president demands that a foreign government announce investigations targeting his domestic political rival, he corrupts our elections,” the report states. “To the founders, this kind of corruption was especially pernicious, and plainly merited impeachment. American elections should be for Americans only.”
It also urges the House to approve an article of impeachment charging the president with obstruction of Congress, saying that “President Trump’s obstruction of Congress does not befit the leader of a democratic society. It calls to mind the very claims of royal privilege against which our founders rebelled.”
The report includes a scathing 20-page dissent from Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who accuses Democrats on the panel of conducting an unfair process in a partisan attempt to drive Mr. Trump from office because of their dislike of him and his policies.
“The case is not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments,” he writes. “The record put forth by the majority is based on inferences built upon presumptions and hearsay. In short, the majority has failed to make a credible, factually-based allegation against this president that merits impeachment.”
Mr. Collins concludes: “Before the House are two articles of impeachment against the president of the United States, Donald John Trump. To these articles, the minority dissents.”
The report by the Democratic-controlled committee rejects the criticism that the impeachment inquiry was unfair to Mr. Trump and Republicans, arguing that the president had many opportunities to have his lawyer present evidence or cross-examine witnesses during the inquiry.
“The president’s decision to reject these opportunities to participate affirms that his principal objective was to obstruct the House’s inquiry rather than assist in its full consideration of all relevant evidence,” the report states.”