"Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election”, 2020, Biden, Checks and Balances, corruption, Crimea, Donbas, Engel, impeachment, Javelins, Mueller, Mulvaney, Nadler, Obstruction, Perry, Pompeo, precedent, Putin, Rule of law, Russia, Schiff, Trump, Ukraine, Ukraine security assistance, Ukraine Security Assistance blocked, Ukraine Security Assistance hold, US Congress, US House Intelligence Committee, US military assistance, USA, White House, Zelensky
Trump’s obstruction of Congress has been evident for years to those who have read the news releases from Elijah Cummings’ House Oversight Committee, which were mostly reproduced on this blog. From the beginning of the Ukraine scandal, it has been clear that this was a shake-down of a foreign President in exchange for desperately needed aid. This is obviously bribery of a foreign President, and it is embarrassing for the United States, and put Ukraine in an unacceptable predicament. They should add Trump’s treatment of the Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces, as well.
This is about separation of powers and rule of law, and should be nonpartisan. Americans still have the liberty to withhold electoral support from both major parties, until, and if, they ever again represent the basic needs and will of the American people.
This Trump impeachment process appears something akin to a trial by jury of someone who committed murder in broad daylight with many witnesses. It is needed only because of the right to trial by jury. Everyone has to say “alleged murderer” until the trial is over and verdict in, but everyone knows that the culprit is guilty.
Washington, DC – Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the draft report – “The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report” – to all Members and the public. The Committee will vote tonight to issue the report, before the Chairman of the Committee transmits it and any accompanying materials to the House Judiciary Committee consistent with H.Res. 660.
The draft report was written by the staff of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs Committees.
After releasing the report to all Members and the public, Chairman Adam Schiff, Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney and Chairman Eliot Engel stated:
“We want to thank the Members and staff of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs Committees for their hard work in conducting this investigation over the last three months and preparing this report.
“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. These investigations were designed to benefit his 2020 presidential reelection campaign.
“The evidence is also clear that President Trump conditioned official acts on the public announcement of these investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical U.S. military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary.
“Finally, the evidence is clear that after his scheme to secure foreign help in his reelection was uncovered, President Trump engaged in categorical and unprecedented obstruction in order to cover-up his misconduct.
“These matters are not seriously contested. To the contrary, they make it plain that President Trump abused the power of his office for personal and political gain, at the expense of our national security.
“The President’s actions have damaged our national security, undermined the integrity of the next election, and violated his oath of office. They have also challenged the very core of our Constitutional system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and rule of law.
“It will be up to the Congress to determine whether these acts rise to the level of an impeachable offense, whether the President shall be held to account, and whether we as a nation are committed to the rule of law—or, instead, whether a president who uses the power of his office to coerce foreign interference in a U.S. election is something that Americans must simply ‘get over.’
“With the release of our report, the American people can review for themselves the evidence detailing President Trump’s betrayal of the public trust.”
As stated in the Executive Summary to the draft report, the Committees concluded that:
The impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, 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.
As described in this executive summary and the report that follows, President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign. The President demanded that the newly-elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce investigations into a political rival that he apparently feared the most, former Vice President Joe Biden, and into a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election. To compel the Ukrainian President to do his political bidding, President Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical U.S. military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary.
During a July 25, 2019, call between President Trump and President Zelensky, President Zelensky expressed gratitude for U.S. military assistance. President Trump immediately responded by asking President Zelensky to “do us a favor though” and openly pressed for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Biden and the 2016 conspiracy theory. In turn, President Zelensky assured President Trump that he would pursue the investigation and reiterated his interest in the White House meeting.
Although President Trump’s scheme intentionally bypassed many career personnel, it was undertaken with the knowledge and approval of senior Administration officials, including the President’s Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. In fact, at a press conference weeks after public revelations about the scheme, Mr. Mulvaney publicly acknowledged that the President directly tied the hold on military aid to his desire to get Ukraine to conduct a political investigation, telling Americans to “get over it.”
President Trump and his senior officials may see nothing wrong with using the power of the Office of the President to pressure a foreign country to help the President’s reelection campaign. Indeed, President Trump continues to encourage Ukraine and other foreign countries to engage in the same kind of election interference today.
However, the Founding Fathers prescribed a remedy for a chief executive who places his personal interests above those of the country: impeachment. Accordingly, as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in coordination with the Committees on Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs, were compelled to undertake a serious, sober, and expeditious investigation into whether the President’s misconduct warrants that remedy.
In response, President Trump engaged in an unprecedented campaign of obstruction of this impeachment inquiry. Nevertheless, due in large measure to patriotic and courageous public servants who provided the Committees with direct evidence of the President’s actions, the Committees uncovered significant misconduct on the part of the President of the United States. As required under House Resolution 660, the Intelligence Committee, in consultation with the Committees on Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs, has prepared this report to detail the evidence uncovered to date, which will now be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee for its consideration. Based on witness testimony and evidence collected during the impeachment inquiry, the Committees released the following findings:
I. Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States—acting personally and through his agents within and outside of the U.S. government—solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage. In so doing, the President placed his personal 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.
II. In furtherance of this scheme, President Trump—directly and acting through his agents within and outside the U.S. government—sought to pressure and induce Ukraine’s newly-elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to publicly announce unfounded investigations that would benefit President Trump’s personal political interests and reelection effort. To advance his personal political objectives, President Trump encouraged the President of Ukraine to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
III. As part of this scheme, President 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 U.S. election. These investigations were intended to harm a potential political opponent of President Trump and benefit the President’s domestic political standing.
IV. President Trump ordered the suspension of $391 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.
Acting directly and through his subordinates within the U.S. government, the President withheld from Ukraine this military assistance without any legitimate foreign policy, national security, or anti-corruption justification. The President did so despite the longstanding bipartisan support of Congress, uniform support across federal departments and agencies for the provision to Ukraine of the military assistance, and his obligations under the Impoundment Control Act.
V. President Trump 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 desired by President Trump. Specifically, to advance and promote his scheme, the President withheld official acts of value to Ukraine and conditioned their fulfillment on actions by Ukraine that would benefit his personal political interests:
1. President Trump—acting through agents within and outside the U.S. government—conditioned a head of state meeting at the White House, which the President of Ukraine desperately sought to demonstrate continued United States support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, on Ukraine publicly announcing the investigations that President Trump believed would aid his reelection campaign.
2. To increase leverage over the President of Ukraine, President Trump, acting through his agents and subordinates, conditioned release of the vital military assistance he had suspended to Ukraine on the President of Ukraine’s public announcement of the investigations that President Trump sought.
3. President Trump’s closest subordinates and advisors within the Executive Branch, including Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Energy J. Richard Perry, and other senior White House and Executive Branch officials had knowledge of, in some cases facilitated and furthered the President’s scheme, and withheld information about the scheme from the Congress and the American public.
VI. In directing and orchestrating this scheme to advance his personal political interests, President Trump did not implement, promote, or advance U.S. anti-corruption policies. In fact, the President sought to pressure and induce the government of Ukraine to announce politically-motivated investigations lacking legitimate predication that the U.S. government otherwise discourages and opposes as a matter of policy in that country and around the world. In so doing, the President undermined U.S. policy supporting anti-corruption reform and the rule of law in Ukraine, and undermined U.S. national security.
VII. By withholding vital military assistance and diplomatic support from a strategic foreign partner government engaged in an ongoing military conflict illegally instigated by Russia, President Trump compromised national security to advance his personal political interests.
VIII. Faced with the revelation of his actions, President 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 U.S. election presents a clear and present danger that the President will continue to use the power of his office for his personal political gain.
IX. Using the power of the Office of the President, and exercising his authority over the Executive Branch, President Trump ordered and implemented a campaign to conceal his conduct from the public and frustrate and obstruct the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry by:
1. 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;
2. directing Executive Branch agencies to defy lawful subpoenas and withhold the production of all documents and records from the investigating Committees;
3. directing current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees, including in defiance of lawful subpoenas for testimony; and
4. 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.”
“There’s a huge loophole in the GOP’s claim that Trump’s sale of Javelin missiles to Ukraine shows his support for the country” By John Haltiwanger Nov 22, 2019, 9:34 AM
Excerpt: “But Republicans have left out that the Ukrainians cannot actually use the anti-tank missiles in the conflict against pro-Russian separatists based on the terms of the sale… Under the rules of the sale, the Javelin missiles have to be stored in western Ukraine, which is far from the frontlines of the ongoing conflict in the eastern part of the country (the Donbas region) against pro-Russia separatists.” https://www.businessinsider.com/republicans-leaving-out-key-detail-trump-javelin-sale-to-ukraine-2019-11 The article discusses that Obama’s nonlethal aid (aka tech and training for self-defense) was more useful.