The chairman of the US congressional committee that is leading the inquiry into President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine said on Monday the impeachment process would move to the next step shortly after lawmakers return to Washington next week from a break.
The ruling could also give fresh life to the stalled impeachment case in the Judiciary Committee, which has tried to develop charges against Trump for obstructing the Russian collusion investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Add Impeachment Inquiry as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Impeachment Inquiry news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Monday in a memo to House colleagues that his committee expects to transmit a report on its impeachment investigation of Trump to the Judiciary Committee soon after this week's Thanksgiving recess. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) attends a news conference, April 9, 2019, in Washington, D.C.
"What is left to us now is to decide whether [Trump's] behavior is compatible with the office of the presidency", he wrote in the letter, "and whether the Constitutional process of impeachment is warranted".
If Democrats stay on schedule, the hearing could come as the committee introduces articles of impeachment and then holds a vote, a process that could take several days. "I hope that he chooses to participate in the inquiry, directly or through counsel, as other Presidents have done before him", Nadler said. "Our polling shows Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove of impeachment, while over 8 in 10 approve of the job Trump is doing as president. The law needs to apply to the evidence and facts that have been derived", a Judiciary Committee aide said on a phone call with reporters.
The final two transcripts from closed-door depositions also still need to be publicly released - from Philip Reeker of the State Department and Mark Sandy of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
However, Schiff asserted in his letter, "As the evidence conclusively shows, President Trump conditioned official acts-a White House meeting desperately desired by the new Ukrainian president and critical US military assistance-on Ukraine announcing sham, politically motivated investigations that would help President Trump's 2020 re-election campaign". After that, two weeks of public hearings in front of the Intelligence Committee took place on how Trump handled the foreign policy in Ukraine.
The president's defenders reject the metaphor of "attempted bribery" or "extortion" and argue that Democrats' impeachment case is driven entirely by partisan animus - not substance.
Democrats believe they have a strong case showing the president abused his power by withholding security assistance to pressure a foreign government to help gather damaging information on domestic USA political rivals.