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U.S. President Trump abused office, obstructed inquiry: impeachment report

The 300 page Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report is seen after being released by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee in Washington, U.S., on December 3, 2019.

The 300 page Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report is seen after being released by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee in Washington, U.S., on December 3, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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It says the ‘evidence is clear that President Trump used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations into his political rival, former Vice-President Joe Biden, and a debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia that interfered in the 2016 election’

United States President Donald Trump used his office for personal political gain and obstructed a Congressional inquiry into his conduct, a 300-page scathing report released by House Democrats on Tuesday concluded.

“The evidence is clear that President Trump used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations into his political rival, former Vice-President Joe Biden, and a debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia that interfered in the 2016 election” the chairpersons of the three committees that conducted the impeachment inquiry said in a statement. “These investigations were designed to benefit his 2020 presidential re-election campaign.”

The report concludes that Mr. Trump made a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and military assistance of $391 million to Ukraine conditional on Ukraine announcing the investigations.

Importantly, the investigation also concludes that the President made an “unprecedented effort” to obstruct the impeachment inquiry by instructing agencies and witnesses to ignore Congressional subpoenas.

“Even President Richard Nixon — who obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over key evidence — accepted the authority of Congress to conduct an impeachment inquiry and permitted his aides and advisers to produce documents and testify to Congressional committees,” the report said.

‘Overwhelming evidence’

Despite Mr. Trump’s efforts, the House had collected “overwhelming” evidence of his misconduct, the inquiry has found, due to the evidence provided by “courageous individuals” whom the President had engaged in a “brazen effort to publicly attack and intimidate,” as per the report.

The inquiry concluded that the July 25 phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelenksy, which served as the basis of the whistle-blower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry, was neither the start nor the end of Mr. Trump’s efforts to “bend” U.S. foreign policy for personal gain.

Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretaries of State (Mike Pompeo) and Energy (Rick Perry), as well as White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and others “were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President”, the inquiry found.

“…The Founding Fathers [of the United States] prescribed a remedy for a chief executive who places his personal interests above those of the country: impeachment,” the introduction to the report said.

Nevertheless, the actual decision of whether or not to proceed with the impeachment, has been left to another committee. It is almost certain that the House will proceed with drafting and voting on impeachment articles against Mr Trump.

Inquiry a hoax: Trump

Mr. Trump, in London, said the inquiry was a “hoax”, “unpatriotic” and done for political gain. The White House also dismissed the findings of the report.

“At the end of a one-sided sham process, Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump,” Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations. Chairman Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing.”

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for drafting any articles of impeachment, will hear from constitutional experts on whether the evidence collected against Mr. Trump thus far meets the “high crimes and misdemeanours” constitutional standard of impeachment.

House Republicans had released a pre-emptive 123-page draft rebuttal on Monday which said Mr. Trump had “genuine” concerns about corruption in Ukraine and had a known scepticism for foreign aid. If impeached by the House, Mr. Trump will be tried by the Republican controlled Senate, where a super majority of two thirds of members present is required to convict and remove the President from office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 5:34:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/donald-trump-abused-power-of-his-office-house-intel-committees-impeachment-report/article30153889.ece

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