WASHINGTON - The House Judiciary Committee released a report Saturday afternoon making the legal case for why President Donald Trump's conduct rises to the level of impeachment as Democrats race to finish the inquiry before the end of the year.
The 55-page document lays out the constitutional arguments Democrats will make in drafting articles of impeachment against the president and seeks to undermine Republicans' main talking points against it.
"The Framers worst nightmare is what we are facing in this very moment. President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment," House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement accompanying the report.
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee contend that the framers of the Constitution, in writing the terms of impeachment, meant to capture circumstances unforeseen, so it was left intentionally vague.
Although there are several provisions in the Constitution on impeachment, Article II, Section 4, only states, "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
What constitutes such action is not defined within the document.
The Judiciary Committee 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."
The impeachment inquiry against Trump centers on a July 25 conversation he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which he asked the foreign leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and their dealings with Ukraine. Trump, at the time, had ordered a hold on military assistance to Ukraine, which is in open conflict with Russia.
Trump has claimed that he never sought to link aid and investigations into the Bidens, noting that the money was released to Ukraine without the promise of a probe.
"Read the Transcripts! Also, see where I say "us" (our Country) as opposed to "me" (meaning me) and where I then say that the Attorney General (of the United States) will call you," Trump tweeted Saturday.
The Democrats' analysis also addresses the most common complaints from the White House and Trump allies about how the impeachment inquiry has been conducted.
It notes that Trump has objected that many of the witnesses who testified before the House Intelligence Committee lacked firsthand knowledge of the events in question but wouldn't allow those in his administration with firsthand knowledge to participate in the investigation.
White House counsel sent a letter to Nadler on Friday night declining an invitation to participate in the proceedings.
The Democrats also write that they cannot "accept at face value President Trump's claim that his motives were not corrupt" - which Trump has insisted.
It also concludes that an "attempted" offense, even if it was not carried out, is still impeachable.
"A President cannot escape impeachment just because his scheme to abuse power, betray the nation, or corrupt elections was discovered and abandoned," the report says.
This article was written by Colby Itkowitz, a reporter for The Washington Post.