WASHINGTON — The United States (US) House Intelligence Committee voted Tuesday to adopt a draft report accusing President Donald Trump of abusing the power of his office to benefit his 2020 presidential reelection campaign, Anadolu Agency reported.
Passed by a 13-9 margin, the report is now making its way to the House Judiciary Committee, which will hold its first hearing in the impeachment probe into the president on Wednesday.
The approval of the 300-page report is the next phase for the Judiciary Committee to draft specific articles of impeachment against Trump.
The report, released earlier in the day, found that to compel Ukraine’s president to do his political bidding, Trump conditioned two official acts on Ukraine’s public announcement of investigations into the 2016 US presidential elections and former Vice President Joe Biden: a “coveted White House visit and critical US 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,” it added.
The report was written by the staff of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs Committees.
The impeachment investigation is centered on Trump’s repeated requests to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open criminal investigations into Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, as well as claims that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who meddled in the 2016 election.
Also at issue is the holdup of US$400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine and whether Trump conditioned the release of that assistance and a possible Oval Office meeting with Zelensky on the Ukrainian president publicly announcing the investigations.
Trump has repeatedly lashed out at the impeachment probe as a “witch hunt” and denied wrongdoing, ordering his top officials not to participate in the proceedings.
Roughly a dozen witnesses have offered sworn public testimony before the Intelligence Committee.