House committee preparing report for next phase of Trump's impeachment


House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff says the committee still welcomes testimony from those who 'decide to obey their duty to the country over fealty to the President.'

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to congressional colleagues Monday outlining the next steps of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.

The House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs Committees "are now preparing a report summarizing the evidence we have found this far, which will be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee soon after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess," Schiff wrote.

The report follows months of investigations led by those three committees, which included document requests, subpoenas, 17 depositions and transcribed interviews, and two weeks of public hearings from 12 witnesses, 3 of whom testified at the request of House Republicans.

Schiff's letter outlined some of what congressional investigators learned.

"Over the course of our inquiry, we have uncovered a months-long effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest," Schiff wrote. "As the evidence conclusively shows, President Trump conditioned official acts — a White House meeting desperately desired by the new Ukrainian president and critical U.S. military assistance — on Ukraine announcing sham, politically-motivated investigations that would help President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign."

Schiff further noted that the "conduct directed by the President not only became more 'insidious' over time, but was known to the Vice President, the President's Chief of Staff, the Secretary of State, and others down the line."

He added that testimony and documents obtained thus far "reveal a fact pattern that is overwhelming, unchallenged, and damning."

Schiff wrote that the committees are still willing to hear from other administration officials who "seek to show the same patriotism and courage of their colleagues and deputies and decide to obey their duty to the country over fealty to the President."

However, Schiff noted the Trump administration "undertook an unprecedented campaign of obstruction" by preventing some witnesses from testifying" and made clear the committees "will not allow the President or others to drag this out for months on end in the courts."

Schiff warned that because Trump has "accepted or enlisted foreign nations to interfere in our upcoming elections," moving forward with the impeachment inquiry and report is "an urgent matter that cannot wait if we are to protect the nation's security and the integrity of our elections."

The Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), will take the information from the impeachment hearings and decide what, if any, articles of impeachment to recommend to the full House of Representatives.

If a majority of House members support one or more articles of impeachment, the Senate would then hold a trial to determine Trump's guilt and whether to remove him from office.

Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong and that the impeachment inquiry is a witch hunt and a hoax.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.