UPDATE: The White House has issued a response through Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.
"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. This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations. Chairman Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has released a report summarizing two weeks of impeachment inquiry hearings and months of investigation into President Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"This report reflects the evidence gathered thus far by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in coordination with the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States," Schiff released in a statement attached to the report.
"The decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry is not one we took lightly. Under the best of circumstances, impeachment is a wrenching process for the nation. I resisted calls to undertake an impeachment investigation for many months on that basis, notwithstanding the existence of presidential misconduct that I believed to be deeply unethical and damaging to our democracy. The alarming events and actions detailed in this report, however, left us with no choice but to proceed," he said.
Schiff calls the report "evidence," but hours of testimony about "presumed," "I heard," "I felt," etc. don't hold up to that claim. The report is essentially 72 hours of testimony repackaged by Schiff and his staff to justify impeachment.
"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. 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," Schiff 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."
As a reminder, Volodymyr has repeatedly stated he felt no pressure from President Trump to launch any kind of investigation into anyone, including the Bidens.
Schiff has promised to continue his own investigations, despite handing the report over to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler.
"There remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue, even as we transmit our report to the Judiciary Committee. 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," Schiff said. "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."
Schiff's language about obstruction indicate the Judiciary Committee will draw up articles of impeachment on that issue.
Republican lawmakers on the Committee released their own report late yesterday. It strongly disputes Schiff's claims of fairness and wrongdoing by President Trump.
The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system. The Democrats are trying to impeach a duly elected President based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump’s policy initiatives and processes. They are trying to impeach President Trump because some unelected bureaucrats were discomforted by an elected President’s telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. They are trying to impeach President Trump because some unelected bureaucrats chafed at an elected President’s “outside the beltway” approach to diplomacy.
The sum and substance of the Democrats’ case for impeachment is that President Trump abused his authority to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, President Trump’s potential political rival, for President Trump’s benefit in the 2020 election. Democrats say this pressure campaign encompassed leveraging a White House meeting and the release of U.S. security assistance to force the Ukrainian President to succumb to President Trump’s political wishes. Democrats say that Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the President’s personal attorney, and a “shadow” group of U.S. officials conspired to benefit the President politically.
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.