The next phase in the Democrats’ plan to impeach US President Donald Trump begins at 9am Monday morning Washington DC when the House judiciary committee meets to consider a report from the intelligence committee – and hear academic argument on the way forward.
The judiciary committee is expected to draft at least three articles of impeachment against Trump which the whole House of Representatives is expected to vote on before Christmas. Those articles could include abuse of power through bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.
Over the weekend the Intelligence Committee released a report of its own deliberations. Not surprisingly, it found major fault and recommended Trump be impeached on several major grounds:
- The 45th President of the United States, acting personally and through his agents within and outside of the US government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 US presidential election.
- Directly and acting through his agents within and outside the US government he sought to pressure and induce Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zalinski, to publicly announce unfounded investigations that would benefit Trump’s personal political interests and reflection effort. To advance his personal political objectives, Trump encouraged the President of Ukraine to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
- As part of this scheme, Trump, acting in his official capacity and using his position of public trust, personally and directly requested from the President of Ukraine that the government of Ukraine publicly announce investigations into (1) the President’s political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden, and (2) a baseless theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine—rather than Russia—interfered in the 2016 US presidential election
- Ordered the suspension of $US391 million in vital military assistance urgently needed by Ukraine, a strategic partner, to resist Russian aggression. Because the aid was appropriated by Congress, on a bipartisan basis, and signed into law by the President, its expenditure was required by law.
- He used the power of the Office of the President and exercised his authority over the Executive Branch, including his control of the instruments of the federal government, to apply increasing pressure on the President of Ukraine and the Ukrainian government to announce the politically motivated investigations which Trump desired.
- In directing and orchestrating this scheme to advance his personal political interests, Trump did not implement, promote, or advance US anti-corruption policies.
- By withholding vital military assistance and diplomatic support from a strategic foreign partner government engaged in an ongoing military conflict illegally instigated by Russia,Trump compromised national security to advance his personal political interests.
- Faced with the revelation of his actions, Trump publicly and repeatedly persisted in urging foreign governments, including Ukraine and China, to investigate his political opponent. This continued solicitation of foreign interference in a US election presents a clear and present danger that the President will continue to use the power of his office for his personal political gain.
- Using the power of the Office of the President, and exercising his authority over the Executive Branch, Trump ordered and implemented a campaign to conceal his conduct from the public and frustrate and obstruct the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry by:
* refusing to produce to the impeachment inquiry’s investigating Committees information and records in the possession of the White House, in defiance of a lawful subpoena;
* directing Executive Branch agencies to defy lawful subpoenas and withhold the production of all documents and records from the investigating Committees;
* directing current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees, including in defiance of lawful subpoenas for testimony; and
* intimidating, threatening, and tampering with prospective and actual witnesses in the impeachment inquiry in an effort to prevent, delay, or influence the testimony of those witnesses.
* In so doing, and despite the fact that the Constitution vests in the House of Representatives the “sole Power of Impeachment,” the President sought to arrogate to himself the right to determine the propriety, scope, and nature of an impeachment inquiry into his own misconduct, and the right to deny any and all information to the Congress in the conduct of its constitutional responsibilities
All up it looks like a busy week in the run up to Christmas. The Democrats have told representatives to be on hand until at least December 21.
Trump on Friday indicated through his counsel he would not take up an invitation to join the process.
Now Rudy Giuliani has returned from a visit to Ukraine with a tv crew and says he will “report to Congress” on what he found. Newspaper images show him with at least one discredited former Ukraine official.
None of this deters the President. Buoyed by continuing strong economic growth and record low employment, he tweeted “Not only have the Democrats not advanced key pieces of legislation that would help the economy, but the polls, especially in early states, are showing that voters are tuning out. They don’t want our greatest of all presidents impeached!”