Democrats release Trump impeachment report

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2:58 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

House Democrats say "evidence of the President's misconduct is overwhelming"

Democrats allege in their report that evidence of President Trump’s misconduct in regards to Ukraine is “overwhelming,” as is the indications of obstruction of Congress.

“Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began," the report said.

1:52 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

The report is out

The House Intelligence Committee has released the Ukraine report.

We're going through it now. You can read the full report here.

1:44 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

The House Intelligence Committee is about to release the Ukraine report

Democrats are set to soon release the House Intelligence Committee's report on Ukraine, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry.

1:40 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Rep. Jim Jordan contends that Republicans aren’t conflating Ukraine with Russia meddling

Rep. Jim Jordan questions Fiona Hill, the National Security Council’s former senior director for Europe and Russia and David Holmes, an official from the American embassy in Ukraine, during an impeachment hearing held by the House Intelligence Committee.
Rep. Jim Jordan questions Fiona Hill, the National Security Council’s former senior director for Europe and Russia and David Holmes, an official from the American embassy in Ukraine, during an impeachment hearing held by the House Intelligence Committee. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said that there’s a distinction between what Russia did and what Ukraine did, claiming they are different because Russia “interfered” in the elections while some Ukrainian officials tried to “influence” elections.

He said he’s not helping the Kremlin by making this case, arguing it’s a clear distinction.

Remember: In 2016, the Russian government and military, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, launched an unprecedented attack on the US election. They spent millions of rubles on hackers and trolls who systematically tried to weaken Hillary Clinton and boost Donald Trump. It's impossible to know if their efforts tipped the scales, but Trump won by a razor-thin margin.

These are the conclusions of the top US intelligence agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. Russia's role was also confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee and the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller, who brought criminal charges against Russian hackers and trolls.   

There is no evidence to support claims that the Ukrainian government meddled in the election. Ukrainian leaders may have hoped that Trump would lose in 2016, but there was no government operation to influence the US election.

   

1:14 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Sen. Lindsey Graham: "Ukraine had nothing to do" with hacking into the DNC

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, spoke to reporters this afternoon on Capitol Hill about Russian election interference and Ukraine's role.

Asked if he believed that Ukraine meddled in 2016 election, here's what he said:

“I don’t know. I do believe — I’ve got no doubt that it was the Russians who stole the DNC emails. It wasn’t the Ukraine. Russia was behind the stolen DNC emails and [John] Podesta and all that good stuff. There are articles about Ukrainian officials talking to Democratic officials — I don’t know if that’s true or not, I’ve had nobody in the intelligence community verify that. I’m hoping somebody’s looking at that. I just want to know, did it happen. You’ve got Politico article and a few others that suggest Democratic operatives met with Ukrainian officials. I don’t know if it’s true or not. But let somebody look, but when it comes to hacking into the DNC, that was all Russia. The Ukraine had nothing to do with it. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think that Manafort had some enemies in the Ukraine. So as to the Ukraine, they had zero to do with the hacking of the DNC and the stealing of the emails. Whether or not people from the Ukraine met with DNC operatives, I don’t know. All I’ve seen is press reports that no one has validated.”

More on this: The theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election has been continuously debunked. Dr. Fiona Hill, the White House's former Russia adviser, called the idea that Ukraine — and not Russia — meddled a "fictional narrative" in her impeachment inquiry testimony.

1:17 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Republicans decry Democrats' "obsession with impeaching the President" in letter

Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee have sent a letter to Chair Jerry Nadler ahead of tomorrow’s impeachment inquiry hearing, criticizing the Democrats’ "obsession with impeaching the President and undoing the 2016 election."

GOP members wrote that as the committee begins “consideration of the so-called 'impeachment inquiry' against President Donald J. Trump, we write to remind you of our recent letters demanding that this Committee provide the due process the Intelligence Committee, and Chairman Adam Schiff, did not.” 

The letter goes on to say that under Nadler’s leadership, “bipartisan solutions to real problems affecting real Americans have been sacrificed in favor of Committee Democrats’ obsession with impeaching the President and undoing the 2016 election.”

1:10 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

There will be an update on the State Department's Ukraine-related documents next week

The Justice Department — which is handling a public records court case for the State Department — told a court today that it will give an update next week about some Ukraine-related Freedom of Information Act searches for documents.

The update, which will come on Monday, will include when the State Department did document searches, which could shed light on why the administration hasn’t made public any readouts of the July 25 Ukraine call from Secretary Mike Pompeo’s files.

This question — why State hasn’t made summaries of the call public following a court’s order — came up in a court hearing today about a public records case from the transparency group American Oversight.

The group has already gotten some documents from the State Department through its lawsuit. But the group still hasn’t gotten any formal readouts or summaries of the Trump-Zelensky call, which a federal judge had ordered they should have.

What the group wants: American Oversight is still seeking in its lawsuit access to informal notes of the July call and answers about the department’s searches for the records it has requested.

The group is also awaiting answers about the State Department’s searches for records of Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker communications about Rudy Giuliani, and records of a Giuliani-Pompeo contact in August. Some of the State Department records searches may have happened in early August, before that supposed Giuliani communication took place.

“Please ask the department to address the search for readouts” of the July 25 call in its Monday update, Judge Casey Cooper told the Justice Department in court today. He noted it would be unusual if no records of the call existed in the State Department. 
12:29 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Democratic congressman on Trump: "There’s a risk of us pretending that he didn't do something wrong"

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Denny Heck, a member of House Intelligence Committee, was asked if there’s a risk of the scope of the articles of impeachment going broader than Ukraine to include episodes detailed in former special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

“I tell you what, there's a risk of: there's a risk of us not respecting our Constitution, there's a risk of us pretending that he didn't do something wrong, there's a risk in us, continuing to propagate these debunked conspiracy theories about Ukraine involvement in the 2016 election. That's the risk," Heck told reporters.

What we know: The House Intelligence Committee is expected to release its impeachment report publicly this evening. It will serve as the backbone of the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings against the President. The committee will vote to approve the report this evening and to send it to the House Judiciary Committee, where it is expected to serve as the basis of articles of impeachment that would be drafted by that panel in the coming days.

12:12 p.m. ET, December 3, 2019

Democrats' report on Ukraine to lay precedent for impeaching a president

The Democratic report on the Ukraine investigation will detail how President Trump sought political gain through his dealings with Ukraine, while laying out the historical precedent for impeaching a president, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

The report from the House Intelligence Committee makes Democrats’ case for impeachment, weaving a narrative about Trump’s handling of Ukraine, including with exhibits and phone logs, the sources said. The report will also compare Trump’s lack of cooperation with Congress with the cooperation in past administrations to argue that this President has engaged in unprecedented stonewalling.

The committee’s report, which is expected to be released publicly this evening, will serve as the backbone of the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings against the President. The committee will vote to approve the report this evening and to send it to the House Judiciary Committee, where it is expected to serve as the basis of articles of impeachment that would be drafted by that panel in the coming days.

Republicans on Monday released their report ahead of the Democrats that fully defended the President’s actions on Ukraine, accusing Democrats of rushing to impeach the President without any evidence that Trump did anything wrong.

The Democratic report is based largely on the 17 witness interviews that were conducted over the past several months, including 12 at two weeks of public hearings, with testimony that detailed a lengthy effort spearheaded by the President’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to oust the US ambassador to Ukraine and then push Kiev to announce investigations into the President’s political rivals.

The report’s findings on both Ukraine and obstruction of Congress are expected to be included in the articles of impeachment.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Monday that the report “outlines in considerable detail a scheme that began actually well before the recall of Ambassador (Marie) Yovanovitch, and was designed to further two political objectives of the President which is an investigation into Joe Biden and an investigation into this debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine that interfered in the last election, not Russia — notwithstanding all of our intelligence agencies concluding it was Russia, notwithstanding the fact that it's actually Putin's narrative that Ukraine did it, not us.”

Schiff added: “The President believed obviously this would help his reelection campaign, and he was willing to use the full force of his office to leverage Ukraine to do these sham investigations.”

The vote on the intelligence committee's report signals a shift in the impeachment process from that committee to the House Judiciary Committee. The judiciary panel, chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, is holding its first impeachment hearing tomorrow with legal experts.