UPDATE: Rep. Joe Neguse weighs in:
The facts are not contested.
The President abused the power of his office for personal and political gain, at the expense of our national security.
Congress must now uphold our solemn and urgent responsibility and #DefendOurDemocracy
— Rep. Joe Neguse (@RepJoeNeguse) December 4, 2019
The Hill reports, it’s all out in the open now:
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a lengthy report on Tuesday outlining their weeks of evidence-gathering as part of the impeachment inquiry, laying out in granular detail their allegations that President Trump abused the power of his office.
The 300-page report does not recommend specific articles of impeachment — a task under the charge of the Judiciary Committee — but it paints a damning portrait of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and hints strongly that those actions merit his removal from office…
“The evidence is clear that President Trump used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and a debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election,” three House Democrat chairs said in a statement.
“These investigations were designed to benefit his 2020 presidential reelection campaign.”
Rep. Joe Neguse, Colorado’s Democratic point man in the impeachment process on the Judiciary Committee, is in Madrid for the United Nations climate change conference, but we expect to hear from him as soon as it’s appropriate. We’re settling into our easy chairs with the full 300 page report, but the executive summary’s first paragraph makes it clear that Democrats don’t consider this to be a close case:
The impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election. As described in this executive summary and the report that follows, President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign. 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. 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.
With Republicans already out with their pre-buttal of this report’s conclusions, the lines are clearly drawn for the next step, which is to draft articles of impeachment to be voted on by the full House. Democrats got everything they hoped to and more from November’s public hearings, validating the substance of their allegations and more broadly making a compelling case that what happened here indeed was a high crime worthy of nation’s highest political penalty.
Whether or not the Republican Senate has the will to acknowledge, let alone act on these findings is less important now to Democrats than ensuring every swingable voter in America knows the score before elections now less than a year away. The better Democrats prove their case now, the worse it will be for Republicans politically when they vote to protect Trump as we all expect them to do.
And this is where we note perforce that some unexpected turnabout could always be lurking.