- The House Intelligence Committee released a draft report on Tuesday of key findings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
- The report’s main conclusion was that the president “conditioned a White House meeting and military aid to Ukraine on a public announcement of investigations beneficial to his reelection campaign.”
- The Democratic-led committee also found that Trump “obstructed the impeachment inquiry by instructing witnesses and agencies to ignore subpoenas for documents and testimony.”
- The report revealed that GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the intelligence committee, was in contact with several key figures implicated in the impeachment inquiry so far.
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The House Intelligence Committee released its report on Tuesday of its key findings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
The report’s main conclusions were:
- “The President Conditioned a White House Meeting and Military Aid to Ukraine on a Public Announcement of Investigations Beneficial to his Reelection Campaign.”
- “The President Obstructed the Impeachment Inquiry by Instructing Witnesses and Agencies to Ignore Subpoenas for Documents and Testimony.”
- Trump “removed anti-corruption champion Ambassador [Marie] Yovanovitch.”
- The president’s “hand-picked agents” began the “scheme” to strongarm Ukraine into acceding to his political demands.
The report dropped after several weeks of public and private hearings during which career national security and foreign service officers testified about Trump’s efforts to force Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations.
Specifically, the president wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly commit to investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over the latter’s involvement with the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings.
Trump also wanted Zelensky to look into a bogus conspiracy theory suggesting it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
The US president raised both these issues during a July 25 phone call with Zelensky. That call was at the centre of a whistleblower’s complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
But witness testimony in the months since revealed that the phone call was just one data point in a months-long campaign to pressure Ukraine to give in to Trump’s demands while withholding military aid and a White House meeting that Zelensky desperately sought.
Nunes in the hot seat
The intelligence committee’s report also found that Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the ranking member on the panel, was in touch with several key figures implicated in the impeachment inquiry.
The report said that in April, “phone records show contacts” between Nunes, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Ukrainian businessman Lev Parnas, and the investigative reporter John Solomon.
Solomon has written several articles for The Hill peddling conspiracy theories about Ukrainian election interference, and Giuliani is Trump’s personal lawyer. Giuliani has largely emerged as Trump’s point-man in the Ukrainian pressure campaign.
He and Parnas were also instrumental in engineering the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, the US’s ambassador in Ukraine. Yovanovitch was recalled from her position shortly after Nunes’ conversations with Giuliani and Parnas.
On April 1, Solomon published a piece in The Hill titled, “Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian Nightmare.”
From April 1 to April 7, the report said, Parnas spoke with Giuliani about 16 times and Solomon about 10 times. On April 7, Solomon published an op-ed attacking Yovanovitch.
On April 10, Giuliani and Nunes had three phone calls “in rapid succession, followed by a text message, and ending with a nearly three minute call,” the report said.
It continued, “Later that same day, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Solomon had a four minute, 29 second call.”
On April 12, Nunes and Parnas had a phone call that lasted about 8.5 minutes, according to the report.
Parnas and his associate, Igor Fruman, were indicted earlier this year for campaign finance violations. Both men helped Giuliani in his efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine that would be politically beneficial for Trump in the run-up to the 2020 election.
Parnas and Fruman have been charged with conspiracy, false statements, and falsification of records in connection with their alleged schemes to violate US election laws. Prosecutors indicated earlier this week that they could still face more charges.
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