In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to members of the House impeachment inquiry, Rep. Adam Schiff, who oversaw both public and closed-door depositions from various witnesses, laid out the case for consideration to remove President Donald Trump from office.
“Over the course of our inquiry, we have uncovered a months-long effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest,” Schiff wrote in the letter. “As the evidence conclusively shows, President Trump conditioned official acts — a White House meeting desperately desired by the new Ukrainian president and critical U.S. military assistance — on Ukraine announcing sham, politically-motivated investigations that would help President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.”
In addition to these findings, Schiff pointed out that “the Administration undertook an unprecedented campaign of obstruction in an effort to prevent the Committees from obtaining documentary evidence and testimony.”
While a number of Trump administration officials, past and present, did speak to the committees involved in the inquiry, a dozen did not. The White House has “provided no documents in response to subpoenas” to explain why those individuals were not to speak to the inquiry. In spite of resistance to the inquiry’s requests, “this effort to stonewall failed in the face of repeated witness testimony that provided the Committees with direct evidence of the President’s actions,” Schiff said.
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More evidence of wrongdoing in the committees’ eyes continues to come out as each day passes, Schiff noted, but added that “we will not allow the President or others to drag this out for months on end in the courts.”
The issues facing the impeachment inquiry were too important to delay any longer.
“The President has accepted or enlisted foreign nations to interfere in our upcoming elections, including the next one; this is an urgent matter that cannot wait if we are to protect the nation’s security and the integrity of our elections,” Schiff said.
The next step was to prepare a report to hand over to the Judiciary Committee, which could then determine whether articles of impeachment should be drafted. In addition to the charges of wrongdoing that investigators uncovered, the Judiciary Committee will be able to see the “instances of non-compliance” that came about from administration not complying with subpoenas, Schiff wrote, and determine whether to include those instances in its final draft of impeachment charges against Trump, if it decides to go that route.
“What is left to us now is to decide whether this behavior is compatible with the office of the presidency, and whether the Constitutional process of impeachment is warranted,” Schiff wrote.
He added that it wasn’t too late for Republicans to change their minds and stop defending the president’s actions.
“It has been our hope all along that our Republican colleagues would seek the facts and give due consideration to the weighty constitutional decision before us, placing country above party…but we cannot relinquish our constitutional responsibilities because others may choose to do so,” he said.
The draft report from the inquiry will be sent to Judiciary sometime soon after Thanksgiving.