US House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff addresses reporters ahead of a committee vote on its findings in the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, the US, December 3 2019. Picture: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST
US House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff addresses reporters ahead of a committee vote on its findings in the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, the US, December 3 2019. Picture: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST

Washington  — Democrats on Tuesday accused US President Donald Trump of abusing power to win re-election in 2020, saying in a report that will form the basis of any formal impeachment charges that he solicited foreign interference, undermined national security, and ordered an unprecedented campaign to obstruct Congress.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, which has spearheaded the impeachment probe, said Trump had used US military aid and the prospect of a White House visit to compel his Ukrainian counterpart to “do his political bidding”.

“President Trump’s scheme subverted US foreign policy towards Ukraine and undermined our national security in favour of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential re-election campaign,” the report said.

Democrats also accused Trump of an unprecedented effort to obstruct an impeachment inquiry that included categorical refusals to provide documents and testimony from his top advisers, unsuccessful attempts to block career government officials from testifying and the intimidation of witnesses.

“Donald Trump is the first president in the history of the US to seek to completely obstruct an impeachment inquiry undertaken by the House of Representatives,” the report said.

The White House on Tuesday dismissed the impeachment report, saying it had “failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing” by Trump.

“This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations. Chair Adam Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing,” said White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused Democrats of using the impeachment process to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election. Opinion polls show Americans are bitterly divided over whether to impeach Trump.

The House Intelligence Committee will vote on the findings and then the matter will go to the House Judiciary Committee, which will open its proceedings on Wednesday.

If the full House votes to approve formal impeachment charges, a trial would be held in the Republican-led US Senate, where a two-thirds majority of those present would be required to convict Trump and remove him from office.

At issue is whether Trump misused the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election.

 Reuters