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House offers case against Trump

WASHINGTON — The House released an impeachment report Tuesday outlining evidence of what it calls President Donald Trump’s wrongdoing toward Ukraine, findings that will serve as the foundation for debate over whether the 45th president should be removed from office.

The 300-page report from Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee makes the case that Trump misused the power of his office and, in the course of their investigation, obstructed Congress by stonewalling the proceedings. Based on two months of investigation, the report contains evidence and testimony from current and former U.S. officials.

“The impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his re-election,” said Chairman Adam Schiff in the report’s preface.

In doing so, “the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security,” the report said.

The report does not render a judgment on whether Trump’s actions stemming from a July 25 phone call with Ukraine president rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” warranting impeachment, leaving that to Congress to decide.

Instead, “The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment inquiry Report” provides a detailed account of a shadow diplomacy run by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, resulting in layers of allegations, which can be distilled into specific acts like bribery, extortion or obstruction, and the more amorphous allegation that Trump abused his power by putting his interests above the nation.

The House intelligence panel voted along party lines later Tuesday to send the document to the Judiciary Committee ahead of a landmark impeachment hearing today.

“With the release of our report, the American people can review for themselves the evidence detailing President Trump’s betrayal of the public trust,” Schiff said in a joint statement with the chairmen of the Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committee, who drafted the report.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump.” She said the report “reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing.”

Ahead of the release, Republicans defended the president in a rebuttal claiming Trump never intended to pressure Ukraine when he asked for a “favor” — investigations of Democrats and Joe Biden. They say the military aid the White House was withholding was not being used as leverage, as Democrats claim, and besides the $400 million was ultimately released, although only after a congressional outcry.

Trump at the opening of a NATO leaders’ meeting in London on Tuesday criticized the impeachment push as “unpatriotic” and “a bad thing for our country.”

The report will lay the foundation for the House Judiciary Committee to assess potential articles of impeachment starting today, presenting a history-making test of political judgment with a case that is dividing Congress and the country.

Trump said he will not watch the judiciary panel’s hearing, saying it’s “all nonsense, they’re just wasting their time.”

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