The House Intel Report: The Essentials
On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, the House Intelligence Committee released its 300 page Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry report, outlining the findings of the public impeachment hearings into Donald Trump.
In November, career civil servants publicly testified as part of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, outlining key pieces of evidence of the Ukraine bribery scheme.
In their subsequent report, the committee laid out witness testimony and distilled the enormous body of evidence incriminating Donald Trump. It’s absolutely devastating for the White House — and outlines step-by-step how Trump personally engineered a massive bribery plot to subvert America’s foreign policy for his own personal political gain.
“The 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.” — House Intelligence Committee Report
What’s in the Report?
The report contains witness testimony, text messages, public statements and even new phone records that had never been seen before — all of which corroborate the findings that Trump demanded Ukraine interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf before he’d give them either critical military aid or a White House meeting.
Here are the top takeaways:
1. Trump abused his powers, subverting U.S. Foreign Policy and undermining national security.
“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.”
2. The July 25th call between Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine is clear evidence of misconduct.
The call is 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.” On top of that, the Ukrainians already knew the aid was being withheld by the time the call took place, directly contradicting GOP talking points.
3. A White House meeting and military aid were conditioned on launching investigations beneficial to Donald Trump.
“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.”
4. Vice President Pence is implicated in the Ukraine scandal.
Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, one of the Intelligence Committee’s witnesses, testified that he told Vice President Pence he was alarmed that the aid was linked to investigating the Bidens: “Vice President Pence nodded in response, apparently expressing neither surprise nor dismay at the linkage between the two.”
5. Trump only released the military aid only after the plot was exposed.
The White House unfroze the aid once the effort to extort Ukraine came under congressional and public scrutiny, and has retroactively attempted to come up with legitimate reasons for the freeze. What’s more, the Department of Defense “was unable to spend approximately 14 percent of the funds appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2019. Congress had to pass a new law to extend the funding in order to ensure the full amount could be used by Ukraine to defend itself.”
6. The White House has obstructed the impeachment inquiry at every turn.
“Donald Trump is the first President in the history of the United States to seek to completely obstruct an impeachment inquiry undertaken by the House of Representatives under Article I of the Constitution, which vests the House with the ‘sole Power of Impeachment.’ He has publicly and repeatedly rejected the authority of Congress to conduct oversight of his actions and has directly challenged the authority of the House to conduct an impeachment inquiry into his actions regarding Ukraine.”
HOW DOES THIS REPORT AFFECT THE SENATE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL?
The report details an unprecedented amount of evidence that clearly points to impeachable conduct by Donald Trump. It served as a key source of information for the House Judiciary’s articles of impeachment that charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The towering body of criminal evidence contained in the report will serve as a guide for Democrats during the Senate impeachment trial.