Oct 21, 2019 19:34 UTC
  • Democrats lay out case for Trump impeachment probe, more key witnesses set to appear

Democrats on Monday laid out their case for the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump and pressed Republicans to stop supporting Trump by releasing a fact sheet and video they said expose Trump's efforts to secure victory in the 2020 presidential election with the assistance of Ukraine.

The releases "encapsulate all the evidence uncovered to date about the president's months-long pressure campaign to undermine the 2020 election and the extent to which he abused his power by using the levers of government to advance the scheme," according to the office of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives.

They also showed how Democrats may approach the charges, or articles of impeachment, they are expected to draw up at the conclusion of the probe. The articles of impeachment, if approved by the House, would then be sent to Senate for a trial on whether to remove Trump from office.

The Senate is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans, who have shown little inclination toward removing him.

Democrats said their fact sheet and video show Trump "believes he is above the law" and that "House Republicans’ complicity and silence only serves to keep him there."

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has held hearings for the probe into whether Trump should be removed from office, mostly behind closed doors. Republicans have likened the process to a "star chamber," a secretive English judicial process used a hundred of years ago to target political enemies of the government.

The fact sheet, laid out in three parts and drawing from press reports and other publicly available information, alleges that Trump carried out a "shake down" of Ukraine, withholding aid while pushing for information on former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival in the 2020 election, and also enlisting senior officials to press Ukraine and cover up his actions.

Another round of crucial testimony in the probe is set for this week. The acting ambassador to Ukraine, who raised concerns that security aid was being withheld to apply improper political pressure, veteran State Department officer William Taylor and at least four other witnesses are the next to speak before congressional committees.

The fast-developing inquiry has cast a new cloud of legal troubles over Trump's presidency, contributing to unease among fellow Republicans at a time when some have already been critical of his abrupt decision to remove US troops from northeastern Syria.