Takeaways from House report on Trump impeachment inquiry

Rep. Jerry Nadler

Rep. Jerry Nadler

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.

The report also accuses Trump of becoming the "first and only" president in USA history to "openly and indiscriminately" defy House's constitutional authority to conduct the impeachment proceedings by instructing officials not to comply with subpoenas for documents and testimony. "We were promised high crimes and misdemeanors and Juan is talking about a call log".

In reply to Trump and the Republicans' insistence that the investigation has gathered no evidence of wrongdoing, the 300-page report brandishes 100 hours of testimony from 17 witnesses and 30 hours of public hearings.

"The summary shows no indication of conditionality, pressure, or coercion", the staff wrote. "Both President Trump and President Zelensky have denied the existence of any pressure".

The Democratic report is based largely on the 17 witness interviews that were conducted over the past several months, including 12 at two weeks of public hearings, with testimony that detailed a lengthy effort spearheaded by the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to oust the USA ambassador to Ukraine and then push Kiev to announce investigations into the President's political rivals.

The report cited two instances of improper conduct: obstruction of the House inquiry and withholding the aid from Ukraine on the condition of investigating a Trump political rival.

"This whole thing is built on what Nancy Pelosi said two weeks ago Sunday, when she called the president of the United States an 'imposter.' They have never accepted the fact that 63 million Americans voted for Donald Trump on November 8, 2016 and made him president".

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The report was expected to focus on the findings by the Intelligence Committee in the Ukraine case - whether Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden as well as a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 presidential election as the USA dangled taxpayer funding to Ukraine and a White House meeting for its leader in exchange.

"Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began", the report says.

"Democrats have posited a false choice: that influence in the 2016 election is binary - it could have been conducted by Russian Federation or by Ukraine, but not both".

Publicly, Pelosi has repeatedly insisted no decisions have been made about whether to draft articles of impeachment against Trump or what the articles, if drafted, would even cover. The men, along with Giuliani, were put in charge of Ukraine policy by Trump. He said their investigation is focused on the president's conduct.

In London, Trump repeated his defence that his calls with Zelenskiy were "perfect" and that the impeachment inquiry was "a hoax", accusing Democrats of a three-year effort to undo his 2016 election victory as he seeks re-election next November.

The GOP report accurately noted that Schiff only created a "misleading public narrative" based on "hearsay, presumption and emotion": Not one witness testified to the clear "quid pro quo" that Democrats advertised would be exposed, nor to the "bribery" they later talked of.

Another telling omission: Democrats note that Trump canceled a trip to Warsaw, where he'd have met Zelensky for the first time, but don't mention that he sent Vice President Mike Pence instead - because hurricanes were causing havoc on the East Coast.

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