Democrats huddle to draft impeachment charges against Donald Trump

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The findings from the House Judiciary Committee do not spell out the formal charges against the president, which are being drafted ahead of votes, possibly as soon as next week.

In September, House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry based on a whistleblower complaint, which alleged that during a 25 July telephone conversation Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate allegations of the Bidens' involvement in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor general who had been probing a gas firm in which Hunter Biden sat on the board.

Nadler also said the White House has turned down an invitation for Trump to testify and for his lawyers cross-examine witnesses at House hearings.

White House counsel sent a letter to Nadler on Friday night declining an invitation to participate in the proceedings. "You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings".

The Texas Republican told the press he thinks the country should just have an election to see if Trump will get another term in the White House.

He also rejected claims made by the president and his Republican allies that there is no direct proof that Trump held up almost $400 million in military aid to coerce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky launch an investigation into a 2020 political rival. His committee is responsible for drafting articles of impeachment and would have to approve them before sending them to the full House for a vote.

The release of the report comes after the House heard from a panel of four legal scholars to provide their understanding of what they think are impeachable offenses and how to apply it to the facts. The Republicans who control the Senate have shown little sign of supporting Trump's removal.

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Democrats say Trump abused his power in the July 25 phone call when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favor in investigating Democrats and engaged in bribery by withholding almost $400 million in military aide that Ukraine depends on to counter Russian aggression.

The scope of these articles has been the centre of significant debate in the Democratic party, with a number of centrists elected in swing districts keen to keep the focus on Ukraine rather than broader evidence included in the Mueller report into Russian election meddling in 2016, which documented evidence of attempted obstruction of justice by the president.

The Judiciary report determines that the "Framers principally intended impeachment for three overlapping forms of Presidential wrongdoing: (1) abuse of power, (2) betrayal of the nation through foreign entanglements, and (3) corruption of office and elections".

That would put it on a fast track to a trial in early 2020 before the Republican-controlled Senate, where Trump is expected to prevail.

Impeachment - all you need to know What is Mr Trump accused of? "If the President has no good response to the allegations, then he would not want to appear before the committee".

"Having declined this opportunity, he can not claim that the process is unfair", he said.

The senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins, announced a list of witnesses his camp wishes to subpoena, including Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and his business partner Devon Archer.

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