The US House of Representatives impeachment report on US President Donald Trump was to be unveiled yesterday behind closed doors for key lawmakers as US Democrats push ahead with the inquiry, despite the White House’s declaration it would not participate in the House’s first Judiciary Committee hearing.
The Democratic majority on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has said that the report, compiled after weeks of testimony, would speak for itself in laying out what US Representative and committee Chairman Adam Schiff called the evidence of “wrongdoing and misconduct” by Trump over his actions toward Ukraine.
The report 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.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone on Sunday denounced the “baseless and highly partisan inquiry.”
In a letter to US Representative and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Cipollone also declined the invitation for Trump’s counsel to appear before Nadler’s panel tomorrow.
As the impeachment inquiry intensifies, tomorrow’s hearing is to 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 soon expected to draw up.
Democrats are focused on whether Trump abused his office by withholding military aid approved by the US Congress and a White House meeting as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch investigations into Trump’s political rivals.
The report is also 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 that he did nothing wrong and as the House presses forward on an ambitious schedule toward an impeachment vote, Trump and his US Republican allies are aligned against the process.
House rules provide the president and his attorneys the right to cross-examine witnesses and review evidence before the committee, but little ability to bring forward witnesses of their own.
Republicans want Schiff to testify before the Judiciary Committee, although they have no power to compel him to do so, as they joined the White House effort to try to cast the Democratic-led inquiry as skewed against Trump.
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