Trump blasts Dems as House panel prepares impeachment report vote

Donald Trump

That controversial strategic position, laid out by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., in a brief interview with McClatchy on Tuesday evening, is the strongest and most decisive statement yet by a member of the House Democratic leadership team.

It also comes amid a hushed internal debate over how best to proceed. "Nancy Pelosi is a disaster, ok?"

"The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats' witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor", the report stated, adding, "The evidence shows that President Trump holds a deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism of the us foreign aid and the need for European allies to shoulder more of the financial burden for regional defense".

The president, at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in London, called the impeachment effort by rival Democrats "unpatriotic", and said he wouldn't be watching Wednesday's hearing.

Republicans said there was no evidence that Trump improperly withheld $391 million in military aid to Ukraine or pressured President Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden to help benefit his 2020 re-election campaign, arguing that much of Trump's action regarding Ukraine actually stems from his "longstanding" skepticism of the country due to "its history of pervasive corruption".

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters as the House Intelligence Committee holds a vote before formally passing the impeachment inquiry to the House Judiciary.

The report also accuses Trump of becoming the "first and only" president in US history to "openly and indiscriminately" defy House's constitutional authority to conduct the impeachment proceedings by instructing officials not to comply with subpoenas for documents and testimony.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, 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 created 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 Russian Federation - notwithstanding all of our intelligence agencies concluding it was Russian Federation, notwithstanding the fact that it's actually Putin's narrative that Ukraine did it, not us".

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Then it delivers distinct warnings about what Trump might do next if he is not impeached - and what future presidents might do if Trump is not challenged on his obstruction of Congress.

Based on two months of investigation sparked by a still-anonymous government whistleblower's complaint, the report relies heavily on testimony from current and former US officials who defied White House orders not to appear.

The sections seem easily adaptable to two articles of impeachment against Trump, one for abuse of power and one for obstruction of justice. The matter will then go to the House Judiciary Committee, which will launch its proceedings on Wednesday.

The president and other administration officials have criticised the timing as Trump attends the summit overseas, although former Democratic President Bill Clinton also faced impeachment during a 1998 trip to Israel.

Some Democrats worry that including Mueller's findings in impeachment articles would be divisive for the caucus - particularly among vulnerable moderates who are already wary of the political consequences of an impeachment vote. "We were promised high crimes and misdemeanors and Juan is talking about a call log".

This could satisfy lawmakers like Clyburn, who made clear on Tuesday he was only expressing his own opinion on what should come next.

"I did nothing wrong", Trump said in London. "I've not talked about it".

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