300-page impeachment files push Donald Trump to precipice

US House set to release Trump impeachment probe report

The Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee released a report Tuesday containing a summary of the evidence it has collected in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The report said many of Trump's "closest subordinates and advisors", including White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry aided Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine and withheld information from Congress.

The inquiry found that Trump "solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection", Schiff wrote in the report's preface.

"The president placed his personal political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered USA national security", the report reads.

Republicans defended the president in a 123-page rebuttal claiming Trump never meant to pressure Ukraine when he asked for a "favour" - investigations of Democrats and Joe Biden.

Democrats say Mr Trump dangled two bargaining chips - $400m (£309m) of military aid to Ukraine that had already been allocated by Congress, and a White House meeting with Ukraine's new leader.

Trump had withheld $391 million of military aid to Ukraine ahead of the call and during the discussion prodded Zelenskiy to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter, among other requested concessions.

Fiona Hill, former National Security Council Russia expert, arrives to testify during the House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on November 21, 2019.

Nadler extended an invitation to Trump and his counsel to participate in Wednesday's hearing, but the White House said Sunday that they declined the offer. That was when a whistle-blower's report brought to light a July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Zelenskiy.

Based on two months of investigation sparked by an anonymous government whistleblower's complaint, the report relies heavily on testimony from current and former U.S. officials who defied White House orders not to appear. Working with two business associates and a trio of USA officials, Giuliani tried to force Trump's demands for investigations on Ukrainian officials.

Republican Trump, who will stand for re-election in November 2020, denies any wrongdoing and calls the inquiry a hoax.

Mr Schiff added that "the president was the author of his own impeachment inquiry by repeatedly seeking foreign help in his election campaigns".

In an interview with the USA cable network Fox News Tuesday, Nunes said he did not specifically recall talking with Parnas, but acknowledged he may have.

To compel Zelensky to do this, Trump allegedly "conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations: a coveted White House visit and critical US military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary", Schiff wrote.

Democrats argue that Mr Trump acted improperly when he pressed Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation of former USA vice president Joe Biden and his son's dealings in the eastern European nation.

In the report, Democrats detail accusations that Trump obstructed their investigation, including refusing to provide documents and testimony from his top advisers, unsuccessful attempts to block career government officials from testifying and intimidation of witnesses.

"This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations".

"At the end of a one-sided sham process, Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump", Grisham said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Their disagreements with President Trump's policies and their discomfort with President Trump's actions set in motion the anonymous, secondhand whistle-blower complaint".

The president and other administration officials have criticised the timing as Trump attends the summit overseas, although former Democratic President Bill Clinton also faced impeachment during a 1998 trip to Israel.

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

The House Judiciary Committee will now discuss whether to vote to impeach Trump. If the House does so, it would be only the third time in history that a president faced such charges.

"A case for impeachment could be made, but it cannot be made on this record", he added.

The political risks are high for all parties as the House presses only the fourth presidential impeachment inquiry in US history.

On Monday, three Republican lawmakers released a report of their own in support of the president.

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