The United States House of Representatives impeachment report on President Donald Trump was unveiled yesterday behind closed doors for key lawmakers as Democrats push ahead with the inquiry despite the White House’s declaration it will not participate in the first Judiciary Committee hearing.
The Democratic majority on the House Intelligence Committee said the report, compiled after weeks of testimony, will speak for itself in laying out what Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called the evidence of “wrongdoing and misconduct” by the Republican president over his actions toward Ukraine.
It was being made available for committee members to review ahead of a vote today to send it to the Judiciary Committee for tomorrow’s landmark hearing. The White House has said Trump and his lawyers will not attend an impeachment hearing tomorrow, citing a lack of “fairness”.
Late Sunday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone denounced the “baseless and highly partisan inquiry.” In a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., he also declined the invitation for the president’s counsel to appear before his panel tomorrow.
Cipollone, in continuing the West Wing’s attack on the House process, said the proceeding “violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness.” Trump himself was scheduled to attend a summit with NATO allies outside London tomorrow.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday it’s “very unfortunate” the Judiciary Committee is holding its hearing at the same time that Trump is representing the U.S. at the NATO summit.
“I regret that they’ve chosen to hold these hearings at the same time that the president and our entire national security team will be traveling to Europe, to London, to work on these important matters,” Pompeo said.
As the impeachment inquiry intensifies, tomorrow’s hearing will be a milestone. It is expected to convene legal experts whose testimony, alongside the report from the Intelligence Committee, could lay the groundwork for possible articles of impeachment, which the panel is expected to soon draw up.
Democrats are focused on whether Trump abused his office by withholding military aid approved by Congress and a White House meeting as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch investigations into Trump’s political rivals. The report also is expected to include evidence of possible obstruction of Congress by Trump’s instructions that officials in his administration defy subpoenas for documents or testimony.
Trump maintains he did nothing wrong, and as the House presses forward on an ambitious schedule toward an impeachment vote, the president and his Republican allies are aligned against the process.