Donald Trump “personally and acting through agents within and outside of the US government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection”, the House Intelligence committee’s hotly-anticipated impeachment report reads.
The tome – which spans an “impressive” 300 pages – lays out the case for impeaching Trump based on the sordid Ukraine scandal which, in essence, was a buffoonish attempt to bribe a foreign government with $391 million in congressionally-approved military aid.
It might have worked, until you consider that the people at the center of the scheme were, in order of importance, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Gordon Sondland, Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, Mick Mulvaney, Kurt Volker and Rick Perry.
Only one of those people has a claim on being any semblance of competent. We’ll let readers decide which one it is.
The table of contents for the report pretty much tells the story:
SECTION I. THE PRESIDENT’S MISCONDUCT….37
1. The President Forced Out the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine….38
2. The President Put Giuliani and the Three Amigos in Charge of Ukraine Issues….51
3. The President Froze Military Assistance to Ukraine….67
4. The President’s Meeting with the Ukrainian President Was Conditioned on An Announcement of Investigations….83
5. The President Asked the Ukrainian President to Interfere in the 2020 U.S. Election by Investigating the Bidens and 2016 Election Interference….98
6. The President Wanted Ukraine to Announce the Investigations Publicly….114
7. The President’s Conditioning of Military Assistance and a White House Meeting on Announcement of Investigations Raised Alarm….126
8. The President’s Scheme Was Exposed….140
And then there’s the obstruction:
THE PRESIDENT’S OBSTRUCTION OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES’ IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY…. 202
1. Constitutional Authority for Congressional Oversight and Impeachment…. 203
2. The President’s Categorical Refusal to Comply …. 208
3. The President’s Refusal to Produce Any and All Subpoenaed Documents….217
4. The President’s Refusal to Allow Top Aides to Testify….231
5. The President’s Unsuccessful Attempts to Block Key Witnesses…..245
6. The President’s Intimidation of Witnesses….257
Frankly, anyone who’s been paying attention over the past two months (where “paying attention” means you read the transcripts of the closed-door witness testimony and watched those same witnesses testify on live television) knows what Trump tried to do. He leveraged hundreds of millions in foreign aid to try and secure investigations into his political rivals. That simply isn’t debatable. Some witnesses – including Sondland – said it verbatim.
What is (marginally) debatable is whether he should be impeached for it, and, in the same vein, removed from office. Here are a handful of excerpts from the report’s preface:
The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage. 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.
At the center of this investigation is the memorandum prepared following President Trump’s July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukraine’s President, which the White House declassified and released under significant public pressure. The call record alone is stark evidence of misconduct; a demonstration of the President’s prioritization of his personal political benefit over the national interest. In response to President Zelensky’s appreciation for vital U.S. military assistance, which President Trump froze without explanation, President Trump asked for “a favor though”: two specific investigations designed to assist his reelection efforts.
Our investigation determined that this telephone call was neither the start nor the end of President Trump’s efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy for his personal gain. Rather, it was a dramatic crescendo within a months-long campaign driven by President Trump in which senior U.S. officials, including the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Acting Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Energy, 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 investigation revealed the nature and extent of the President’s misconduct, notwithstanding an unprecedented campaign of obstruction by the President and his Administration to prevent the Committees from obtaining documentary evidence and testimony. A dozen witnesses followed President Trump’s orders, defying voluntary requests and lawful subpoenas, and refusing to testify. The White House, Department of State, Department of Defense, Office of Management and Budget, and Department of Energy refused to produce a single document in response to our subpoenas.
This sweeping effort to stonewall the House of Representatives’ “sole Power of Impeachment” under the Constitution failed because witnesses courageously came forward and testified in response to lawful process. The report that follows was only possible because of their sense of duty and devotion to their country and its Constitution.
The House Judiciary committee will hold its first hearing this week, and Trump has refused to participate – for now.
Ultimately, the outcome is preordained. Trump will be impeached, but he’ll be promptly acquitted by the Senate and will thus live (politically speaking) to commit more crimes on other days.
Those interested can read the full report below or review our exhaustive coverage in the archive here.