President Donald Trump put his personal interests over U.S. foreign policy and national security by pushing Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee concluded in a report released Tuesday.
The detailed, 300-page report was sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which is leading the next phase of the impeachment investigation starting with a hearing Wednesday.
The conclusions in the report were not a surprise. Democrats on the Intelligence panel argued during public hearings last month that Trump abused his power by withholding a White House meeting and military aid from Ukraine in exchange for a probe into alleged corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
House Republicans from several committees released their own report Monday in which they drew the opposite conclusion, finding there was not enough evidence to prove that Trump acted improperly
Here are highlights from the Democrats’ report:
- Trump sought foreign interference in the U.S. presidential election. The report found that Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate Biden — a leading Democratic presidential contender in 2020 — represented soliciting “the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.”
- Trump put personal politics over public policy. “The President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.
- The president blocked military aid to Ukraine. The report found that Trump “ordered” a hold on nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine at least two weeks before his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “By July 12, President Trump had placed a hold on all military support funding for Ukraine.”
- Ukraine inquired about the hold on military assistance. Ukrainian officials asked U.S. officials on numerous occasions about the hold on military aid, the report found. Senior U.S. officials also pushed unsuccessfully to convince Trump to release the aid as early as mid-August.
- Trump “demanded” an investigation in return for a White House meeting. The report found that Trump, through senior officials, “demanded” Ukraine publicly announce an investigation into the Bidens in return for a White House meeting with Zelensky.
- Trump put personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and “Three Amigos” aides in charge of Ukraine. The president tasked Giuliani, his personal attorney, and three officials dubbed the “Three Amigos” — EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, then-Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry — with pursuing his Ukraine agenda. Bill Taylor, the current acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified that the group conducted an “irregular channel” of shadow diplomacy with Ukraine, an allegation Sondland and Volker denied.
- Giuliani made previously undisclosed calls to White House. In one piece of new information, the report included phone records showing Giuliani spoke several times by phone with the White House on April 24, hours before then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was ordered to return to Washington and ousted from her post. Yovanovitch’s ouster was the result of a “ruthless smear campaign,” the report said. House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff declined to say how the committee obtained the phone records.
- Democrats skeptical Trump and Sondland held “no quid pro quo” call. Sondland testified that in a phone call around Sept. 9 — just days before the White House released the military aid to Ukraine — Trump told him that he did not want any “quid pro quo” with Ukraine. Trump has pointed to Sondland’s testimony as proof he did nothing wrong. But the report said Sondland gave conflicting testimony about the date of the call, and ultimately found there was little evidence that the call took place in the way Sondland described it. The call “is at odds with the weight of the evidence and not backed up by any records the White House was willing to provide Ambassador Sondland.”
- Trump obstructed the investigation. White House efforts to withhold documents and block witnesses from testifying constituted an obstruction of the House impeachment investigation, Democrats found. “No other President has flouted the Constitution and power of Congress to conduct oversight to this extent,” the report wrote of Trump. Democrats also argued that Trump went further than President Richard Nixon’s efforts to obstruct justice during the Watergate scandal. “Even President Richard Nixon—who obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over key evidence— accepted the authority of Congress to conduct an impeachment inquiry.”
- The president intimidated witnesses. Trump publicly intimidated witnesses who testified before House investigators, Democrats said. “He issued threats, openly discussed possible retaliation, made insinuations about their character and patriotism, and subjected them to mockery and derision.”