‘Overwhelming’ evidence to impeach Trump
The evidence for impeaching President Donald Trump for misconduct in office and obstruction is "overwhelming," the final report on the House investigation into the US leader said Tuesday.
"The evidence of the President's misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress," said the Democrats report, meant to support formal charges against Trump.
"The impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the US government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his re-election."
The Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee released the scathing report on the findings from its impeachment inquiry, accusing Mr Trump of misusing his office to seek foreign help in the 2020 presidential race, Fox News reports.
The report comes hours before the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin taking up the case with its first formal impeachment hearing Wednesday morning.
"President Trump's scheme subverted US foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign," the report said.
It said the inquiry "uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election."
The Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Adam Schiff, conducted extensive interviews with witnesses connected to the Trump administration's relationship with Ukraine, after an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint alleging that during a July 25 phone call, Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic activities in 2016 as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Mr Schiff's committee held closed-door sessions before opening up the inquiry to public hearings, which featured testimony from witnesses including National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
The Intelligence Committee's inquiry specifically looked into whether Mr Trump withheld nearly $US400 million in military aid from Ukraine and used a White House visit with Zelensky as leverage to get Ukraine to participate in the investigations.
Mr Trump has denied wrongdoing, and said his call with Mr Zelensky was "perfect." Mr Zelensky has also denied there was any pressure put on him or any talk of a quid pro quo between the two leaders, but he did criticise the decision to delay the aid.
Republicans drafted a report of their own, which rejected the Democratic majority's claims.
"The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats' witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor," the GOP report said.
With the Intelligence Committee's report in their hands, the Judiciary Committee is next going to call constitutional law experts to testify regarding the relevant legal principles involved in impeachment, before determining whether or not to approve articles of impeachment, which would then go to the full House for a vote.