But all you really need to read is this one sentence from the report, which encapsulates all of its major findings: “[T]he 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 reelection.”
That’s it and that’s all.
The committee spent weeks hearing public testimony from 12 witnesses and conducting 17 closed-door depositions, all to understand if Trump purposely withheld about $400 million in military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in order to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into Democrats and Joe Biden’s family. Those interviews formed the backbone of the House Democrat-led impeachment inquiry that the House Judiciary Committee takes over this week.
And what they found is simple and damning: Trump and people around him — including his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as well as top officials such as US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland — worked to put pressure on Kyiv to announce it was opening those new investigations as a way to hurt Biden ahead of the 2020 election.
The intelligence panel stopped short of recommending Trump’s impeachment, leaving that decision to the House Judiciary Committee. But as a document it’s quite compelling, and leaves almost no wiggle room for Democrats to absolve Trump’s conduct. Republicans surely will defend the president regardless, using defenses from the White House as a guide.
But whenever anyone says the president did nothing wrong, remember that one sentence from the report. It’s really all you need to know — and it’s arguably the most important sentence in the impeachment saga so far.