TLDRUpFront: I’ve been looking for a good TLDR summary of where we stand with the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump. I haven’t found one so I’m writing this up covering both charges and summary of key evidence supporting the filing of those charges. By nature, the “evidence summary” are a few line TLDR’s summarizing what is now in excess of 5,000 pages of official documents, transcripts of testimonies, and other evidence.
FullContext in the Back:
Two things to keep in mind. First, the purpose of an impeachment inquiry in the House is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a charge against the President. In function similar to a grand jury inquiry. Once charges are filed, the venue switches to the trial which will be in the Senate. Charges by the House does not mean that evidence has met the threshold to support a conviction of guilt, simply enough to move to trial. Second, impeachment proceedings are political in nature and do not follow the same rules as a criminal legal case. That being said where appropriate I reference Federal criminal law as useful proxies for understanding these charges.
The four charges I believe there is available evidence on-hand to file are:
- Bribery in both failing to perform official duties (freezing military aid) and offering to perform official duties (hosting WH visit) in exchange for personal favors (investigation of political opponent.) See: 18 U.S. Code § 201 (b)
- High Crimes & Misdemeanors for violation of Election Law in soliciting a foreign government to provide a “thing of value” in excess of $25,000 to his campaign (investigation of Bidens.) See: 52 U.S. Code § 30121(a)(1)(2)
- Obstruction of Justice to Congress in ordering White House, OMB, and Department of State personnel not to cooperate with Congressional subpoenas and refusing to provide any materials whatsoever. See: 18 U.S. Code § 1505
- Interference with a Witness in both denial of materials to Sondland and intimidation and harassment of witnesses providing Congressional testimony. 18 U.S. Code § 1512 (b) &(d)
The first two charges are supported, in summary, by the official White House transcript of the 25 JUL Zelensky call as corroborated in sworn testimony by Vindman and Williams, who were both on the call; as well as the sworn testimony of Sondland who had both direct knowledge of and participated in these efforts; the criminal referral made by the CIA to the Justice Department, and the sworn testimonies of Taylor, Hill, and others who observed and/or participated in key events before and after the call. Finally, these charges are supported by Trump’s own statements to intent to commit a crime, recorded on an ABC interview in June, as well as his own statements to the press since the allegations rose.
The third charge is supported, in summary, by the White House letter to House Speaker and relevant Chairmen dated 8 OCT 2019 refusing any participation, and subsequent acts to instruct White House, OMB, and State Department officials not to testify, to prohibit the use of any materials by those who chose to testify, and refusal to provide any documentation under Congressional subpoena.
The fourth charge is supported, in summary by Sondland’s sworn testimony that he was unable to prepare for the Congressional hearing due to the White House’s refusal to allow him access to his materials and the behavior of the President himself to, by name, intimidate and harass witnesses before, during, and after their testimony, many of which were read into the official proceedings record.
These charges, and summary of evidence, are only what we know so far and represents 25% of the available evidence. The remaining evidence, including official records relating to the freezing and release of aid, call logs by public officials, transcripts of calls, emails between officials, and the sworn testimonies of public officials and private citizens deeply involved remains unavailable due to White House obstruction.
That additional evidence could prove exculpatory, could lead to more charges, or could corroborate the charges above.
Aside: Of note for its absence. I’ve spent close to two months now digging into materials and have yet to find any evidence that an investigation into either Biden was ever formally opened by the DoJ. That would be the normal process for any request of assistance by a foreign government, and it’s a fairly routine process handled by figures much lower than at the Presidential level.
But since it’s impossible to prove a negative there’s no way to be sure I’m not missing something. If anyone has citations or evidence of a formal investigation into either Biden being opened at any point please let me know.
LawFareBlog summaries and links to full testimonies of all witnesses obtained under closed-door testimony. (This is a living page so check back as they add more.) Summaries are 3-4 pages of what was contained, and the links go to the full transcripts, which often run to several hundred pages per witness.
Summary of key findings from the open-hearings conducted over the last week:
Federal bribery statute:
Federal campaign law relating to foreign nationals:
Federal obstruction of proceedings statute
Federal statute for tampering with a witness:
WH Letter to House Dated 8 OCT 19:
Original Facebook Post www.facebook.com/tim.clancy.313/posts/10211358950490079