Congressional Republican lawmakers produced a 123-page report defending President Donald Trump against allegations made against him within the impeachment inquiry of the past two months — with little mention of depositions given by former and current administration officials that cast him in a negative light.
“The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat [sic] allegations and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” the GOP report suggested.
(It should be noted that Republicans used the term “Democrat” in an erroneous way, when the term “Democratic,” an adjective, should have been used.)
The statement from Republicans ignores testimony given by key witnesses, according to reporting from CNN, who had raised questions about the conduct of Trump with regards to interactions between himself and his officials, with the government of Ukraine. Though Republicans described those witnesses as belonging to Democrats, several of the witnesses had worked under GOP administrations, and some, like EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, were directly appointed by Trump.
The GOP report also alleges that concerns by Trump over Ukraine corruption, with regards to Joe and Hunter Biden, were legitimate, even though Ukraine itself said such concerns were not legitimate, and several media outlets also debunked such suppositions, NBC News reported.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 2, 2019
Republicans suggested that Trump’s “initial hesitation to meet with President [Volodymyr] Zelensky or to provide U.S. taxpayer-funded security assistance to Ukraine without thoughtful review [was] entirely prudent” due to the belief by the administration that corruption was rampant in Kyiv at the time. However, according to the Pentagon (which had made the determination before the hold on military aid to Ukraine was made), Ukraine’s new president had already taken the requisite steps necessary to root out such corruption to qualify for the aid
Indeed, a key argument from within GOP circles that Trump released the aid to Ukraine without that nation initiating the investigations he required, is questionable, given that Trump only released the aid after a whistleblower complaint alleging wrongdoing on his part was made aware to him, CNBC reported.
It’s unclear how serious the GOP report will be taken this week as the House Judiciary Committee moves forward with questions of impeachment. To be impeached, a president must be found to have committed an act of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” — a term that implies an abuse of office has occurred rather than a literal criminal violation.