Top House Democrat wants Mueller findings in impeachment articles against Trump

US President Donald Trump listens as France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks during their meeting at Winfield House in central London

The report contends that Trump "abused the power of his office for personal and political gain, at the expense of [US] national security".

In reply to Trump and the Republicans' insistence that the investigation has gathered no evidence of wrongdoing, the 300-page report brandishes 100 hours of testimony from 17 witnesses and 30 hours of public hearings. Former White House counsel Donald McGahn would then be freed to testify about the president's alleged obstruction of justice in the Russian Federation investigation, offering a firsthand account of Trump's efforts to thwart the FBI and, subsequently, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III by, among other things (it's hard to remember, I know), firing FBI Director James B. Comey, ordering McGahn to fire Mueller (and then to lie about the order), and telling former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to instruct then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the investigation.

"The evidence of the president's misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress". And many administration officials who refused to testify cited the White House directives, though several "courageous individuals" came forward to "tell the truth", according to the report.

The report also accuses Trump of becoming the "first and only" president in US history to "openly and indiscriminately" defy House's constitutional authority to conduct the impeachment proceedings by instructing officials not to comply with subpoenas for documents and testimony.

Before the Thanksgiving break, one senior House Democratic aide insisted leaders had not ruled out the possibility of including Mueller findings in impeachment articles. There could be further articles.

"The president engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation's upcoming presidential election to his advantage", the report says.

"Democrats can not and should not impeach President Trump for declining to submit himself to an abusive and unfair process", the GOP staff argue.

The vote on the Intelligence Committee report signals a shift in the impeachment process from that committee to the Judiciary Committee.

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Yes, Rep. Adam Schiff, who helmed the hearings, says otherwise.

Over two weeks of public hearings last month, a number of the 12 witnesses who testified confirmed and elaborated on the efforts allegedly made by Trump, his associates and administration officials to get Ukraine to announce investigations into those two issues, and why they believed delayed US aid to Ukraine would only be released once that nation followed through on those demands. It was a ideal conversation with a very nice gentleman, the president of Ukraine. "How can a democracy survive without acceptance of a common set of experiences?"

While the report doesn't make much ado about the fact that Sondland's message to Zelensky was based on a presumption, Republicans hammered the point home when Sondland testified.

"We have a very hard decision ahead of us to make, " said Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in releasing the findings. But "senior USA officials, including the vice-resident, the secretary of state, the acting chief of staff, the secretary of energy, and others were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the president".

"There remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue, even as we transmit our report to the judiciary committee", the report says.

In an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal said Kyiv was aware the U.S. aid had been withheld in July, in what the newspaper said was the first public acknowledgment by Ukraine that its top officials knew about the delay in the midst of Trump's pressure campaign.

"We aren't here to talk about impeachment of the president of the United States", Pelosi said in response to a question.

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