- The House Judiciary Committee released its official report recommending President Donald Trump’s impeachment late Sunday.
- The 658-page document makes the case for impeachment by laying out an avalanche of evidence that House Democrats say shows the president abused his power and obstructed Congress while soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election.
- Scroll down to read the key takeaways from the House Judiciary Committee’s historic impeachment report.
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The 658-page document makes the case for impeachment by laying out an avalanche of evidence that House Democrats say shows the president abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
At the centre of the proceedings are Trump’s efforts to strongarm Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election by delivering political dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democrats. While Trump was engaged in this pressure campaign, he withheld nearly $US400 million in vital military aid and a White House meeting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately sought.
Last week, House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump; the first accused him of abusing his power and the second charged him with obstruction of Congress.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 23-17, along party lines, to pass both articles.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the committee’s official report:
- Trump committed “multiple federal crimes,” and while Trump’s “actions need not rise to the level of a criminal violation to justify impeachment, his conduct here was criminal.”
- “The Framers were not fools,” the report said. “They authorised impeachment for a reason, and that reason would have been gutted if impeachment were limited to crimes.”
- Trump’s actions meet the threshold the Framers set for abuse of power, the report said. In order for the president’s conduct to rise to that level, it must pose two specific risks: betrayal of the national interest and the corruption of elections.
- The report pointed to Trump’s “welcoming” of Russian interference in the 2016 election and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s trip to Ukraine last week as evidence that the president “will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”
- With respect to the president’s decision to freeze Ukraine’s military aid while demanding a public announcement of investigations into the Bidens and 2016, the report said Trump’s actions meet the legal definition of solicitation of bribery.
- Trump’s obstruction of Congress is unprecedented.“In the history of the Republic, no President has ever claimed the unilateral prerogative to categorically and indiscriminately defy a House impeachment inquiry,” the report said. “Nor has any President ever directed his administration to do so. On the contrary, every President to address the issue has acknowledged that Congress possesses a broad and penetrating power of inquiry when investigating grounds for impeachment.”
- The president’s pattern of obstruction – including his conduct during the FBI’s Russia investigation – is “relevant and striking,” the report said.
The House Rules Committee is formally considering the two articles of impeachment against Trump before Wednesday, when the articles will likely go to the full floor of the House for a final vote.
If the Democratic-controlled chamber votes to impeach the president by a simple majority vote, the impeachment proceedings will head to the Republican-controlled Senate, which is widely expected to acquit the president. If the House impeaches Trump, his Senate trial will likely begin early next year.