One day before new hearings on the impeachment of Donald Trump are set to start, the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released its report on the ongoing process. The former Celebrity Apprentice host was unsurprisingly slammed and hit back.
“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 300-page Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report bluntly states.
The White House hit back fairly quickly today.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said from London, where Trump is attending the NATO summit. “This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations,” the sharp elbowed Grisham adds in an attack on California Rep. Adam Schiff and his Nancy Pelosi-led party.
“Chairman Schiff’s report reads likes the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing,” Grisham concludes.
After a press conference now underway led by Schiff, the committee will hold a vote later today on sending the report to the full House of Representatives.
Coming mere minutes after California Sen. Kamala Harris terminated her 2020 Presidential bid, the release of the report had cable news spinning – literally and figuratively. As CNN opined and MSNBC glowed digging into the details, Fox News Channel found itself in the rare position of being the most measured in its response — at least at first. As the likes of anchor Melissa Francis read parts of the report off her phone live on TV, it became clear that four potential articles of impeachment are now on the table.
“As this report details, the impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection,” the committee report asserted as Republicans dissented.
“In furtherance of this scheme, President Trump conditioned official acts on a public announcement by the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, of politically-motivated investigations, including one into President Trump’s domestic political opponent,” the report continued. “In pressuring President Zelensky to carry out his demand, President Trump withheld a White House meeting desperately sought by the Ukrainian President, and critical U.S. military assistance to fight Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.”
“Nevertheless, there remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue, even as we transmit our report to the Judiciary Committee,” it concluded. “Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts. The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his 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.”
MSNBC’s Ari Melber noted “some of the worst stuff we’ve seen” among the 500 references to ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the call logs contained in the dense report, while Fox News snapped back to its own party line as the report’s dust started to settle. “We all seem to know how this story ends,” The Daily Briefing host and ex-George W. Bush press secretary Dana Perino told viewers.
Whether it happens by Christmas or not, the impeachment will move in time from the Democrat-controlled House to the Republican-dominated Senate for trial, where Trump is expected to be found not guilty if everyone sticks to party lines.
Tuesday’s impeachment report release comes after several days of hearings last month that brought the U.S. Ambassador to the EU, the former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine, the current top envoy to Ukraine and staffers from the National Security Council and Vice President Mike Pence’s office. Covered ive by CNN, MSNBC, FNC, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and others, the often-procedural battle between loyal GOP members and Democrats was a big draw: On average, on the top cable newsers and the Big 3 broadcasters, the five days of hearings drew around 12 million viewers.
No doubt keeping an eye on those numbers, Trump rallied against the impeachment proceedings earlier today from the NATO summit. The fourth POTUS in U.S. history to be the subject of an impeachment inquiry and fundraising like crazy off the matter, Trump called the process “a total fix” and that the Democrats were “unpatriotic.”