The 300-page House Intelligence Committee report laying the foundation for Donald Trump‘s impeachment focuses on his explicit efforts to tilt the upcoming 2020 election in his favor and makes the case that the inherent threat Trump’s scheme poses to U.S. democracy required immediate action.
“Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts,” reads the executive summary. “The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began.”
Presidential misconduct and obstruction of the House impeachment inquiry form the two central pillars of Democrats’ case against Trump. But the report devotes far more time and space to teasing out Trump‘s misconduct, specifically charging that Trump conditioned both a White House meeting and military aid to Ukraine on “a public announcement of investigations beneficial to his reelection campaign.”
The executive summary starts by detailing the now-infamous July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, including preparation for the call; those listening in; diplomatic efforts predating the call; the unusual way in which Trump deviated from the script; his repeated references to the Bidens and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the false allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections; and, finally, the immediate fallout after the call and the eventual release of the call’s contents.
“The record of the call would help explain for those involved in Ukraine policy in the U.S. government, the Congress, and the public why President Trump, his personal attorney, Mr. Giuliani, his hand-picked appointees in charge of Ukraine issues, and various senior Administration officials would go to great lengths to withhold a coveted White House meeting and critical military aid from Ukraine at a time when it served as a bulwark against Russian aggression in Europe,” the report reads, concluding, “The answer was as simple as it was inimical to our national security and election integrity: the President was withholding officials acts while soliciting something of value to his reelection campaign—an investigation into his political rival.”