Impeachment Talking Points: Report Shows Trump Committed Federal Crimes; Polling Bad For Republicans; Senate GOP Trying To Rig Trial

13 mins read

NEW HOUSE JUDICIARY REPORT SHOW TRUMP COMMITTED FEDERAL CRIMES

The House Judiciary Committee today released a new 169-page report that meticulously details how Donald Trump’s abuse of power violated the law.

By using military aid to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election, Donald Trump committed multiple crimes, including bribery and wire fraud.

  • BRIBERY: Trump solicited a bribe from Ukraine—interference in the 2020 election —before he’d give them military aid or a White House meeting. In other words, Trump tried to get a personal political payoff from a foreign government—a phony investigation into his political rival—before he’d take official acts like sending $400 million in military assistance.
  • WIRE FRAUD: The various phone calls that Trump made to execute the bribery scheme constitute wire fraud, including with Ukraine President Zelensky and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

These criminal actions put his personal political interests ahead of the country and endangered our national security, undermined the integrity of the next election and violated his oath of office to uphold the constitution.

During the impeachment vote on Wednesday, Congress must make clear that nobody is above the law—not even the president of the United States.

THE POLITICS OF IMPEACHMENT HAVE SWUNG AGAINST THE GOP, TRUMP

Impeachment is bad news politically for Donald Trump and his Republican congressional allies.

  • A new Fox poll shows that 54% support impeachment, 50% support removal, and support from independents increased by 7% since October.
  • A new CBS poll shows that support for impeachment increased by 3% since November.
  • Congressman Justin Amash left the Republican Party and came out for impeachment earlier this year.
  • Congressman Jeff Van Drew had to leave the Democratic Party when polling showed his opposition to impeachment was so toxic that he’d have lost his Democratic primary.
  • Donald Trump remains one of the most unpopular presidents in American history.

Republicans will now need to make a choice. Will they put the American people and our country ahead of their party? Or will they continue tying themselves to a lawless and historically unpopular president that half the country wants to remove?

GOP TRYING TO RIG THE SENATE TRIAL

The White House and Senate Republicans are already openly talking about rigging the senate trial in favor of Donald Trump.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s coordinating directly with the White House on “everything” and be in “total coordination”.
  • Senator Lindsey Graham says he “not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here”
  • Trump has been doling out campaign cash to his Senate Republican jurors, funneling money to their campaign arms and hosting them at the White House.

In a courtroom, this jury would be thrown out for tampering. 

If Donald Trump is innocent, then they shouldn’t worry about a fair trial where all the evidence is brought to light.

That’s why Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter calling for a fair Senate trial that’s based off the Republican-led impeachment of President Clinton in 1999. He calls for:

  • Equal time for House managers and the president’s lawyers to make their closing arguments;
  • Subpoenas for documents and relevant witnesses, including those who have spoken directly with President Trump like White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton; and
  • Time for questions from senators of House managers and the president’s defense team.

These reasonable rules based on past precedent could be passed with the support of four brave Republican senators joining the Democrats.

 We should all hope they put country over party.

Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: Should Democrats trade Hunter Biden’s testimony for key witnesses like Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton?

ANSWER: We should be focusing on relevant testimony. Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton directly spoke with Donald Trump about the Ukraine bribery plot. Hunter Biden has no knowledge of Trump’s actions and there’s no evidence of any wrongdoing. It would serve only a distraction.

QUESTION: But Senator Daschle was in contact with the White House during the Clinton impeachment trial.

ANSWER: The issue is not about being in contact with the White House. It’s that Mitch McConnell said he would run “EVERYTHING” by the White House counsel and be in “total coordination”. That’s very different.

Debunking GOP False Claims About Impeachment Evidence

GOP CLAIM: The summary of the July 25 call shows no “conditionality.”

THE FACTS: This is false. Trump asked Ukraine for “a favor though” to investigate the Bidens in response to a request for military assistance.

Additionally, two key witnesses also specifically said there was a quid pro quo. 

  • During a press conference, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted that Ukraine aid had been contingent on Ukraine launching political investigations. When asked by a reporter if there was a “quid pro quo,” Mulvaney said, “We do that all the time […] I have news for everybody: Get over it. There’s going to be political influence on foreign policy. That is going to happen. Elections have consequences, and foreign policy is going to change…”
  • EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland said the answer is yes”: There is a “quid pro quo.” He testified that “everyone was in the loop” and was working at the “express direction of the President.”

GOP CLAIM: The Ukrainians said there was no pressure from Trump.

THE FACTS: This is false. While President Zelensky may have been putting on a brave face for the cameras, evidence shows that the Ukrainians knew aid was being withheld and were in an absolute panic. Zelensky recently told TIME Magazine, “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us.”

Evidence shows that Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials were under enormous pressure:

  • On May 7, 2019, Zelensky met with his advisors to discuss how to navigate the pressure from Trump and Rudy Giuliani to investigate the Bidens.
  • WhatsApp messages show that Ukrainian officials were so concerned about the military aid being withheld that they nearly caved to Trump’s demand right before Congress became aware of the whistleblower complaint.
  • Independent reporting shows that Ukraine nearly caved to Trump’s demand for a public statement on investigations.
  • Additional reporting shows that Zelensky’s staff favored agreeing to Trump’s demands. The New York Times reported that “high-level Ukrainian officials ultimately decided to acquiesce to President Trump’s request—and, by a stroke of luck, never had to follow through.”
  • Before the whistleblower complaint was announced, Zelensky had even planned a CNN interview on September 13, where he was set to make the public statement announcing investigations into Trump’s political opponents. The New York Times reported that, “finally bending to the White House request, Mr. Zelensky’s staff planned for him to make an announcement in an interview on Sept. 13 with Fareed Zakaria, the host of a weekly news show on CNN.”

GOP CLAIM: Ukraine did not know that military aid was withheld until after the Trump-Zelensky call.

THE FACTS: This is false. The Ukrainians absolutely knew that military aid was being withheld. During her testimony, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper testified that Ukrainian officials were aware of the hold on July 25—the very same day as the Trump-Zelensky call.

GOP CLAIM: Security assistance was released without Ukraine taking actions.

THE FACTS: This is false.

First, Trump is still withholding $35 million in military aid

Second, Trump ordered the military aid withheld and only released it after learning a whistleblower was about to blow the lid off the extortion scheme.

  • Trump Ordered Mulvaney To Hold Back The Military Aid For Ukraine A Week Before Calling President Zelensky To Press Him For Investigations. “President Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine at least a week before a phone call in which Trump is said to have pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of former vice president Joe Biden, according to three senior administration officials.” [The Washington Post, 9/23/19]
  • September 9: Congress Became Aware Of The Whistleblower Complaint. “Sept. 9: Atkinson notifies the House and Senate intelligence committees that a whistleblower has filed a complaint, but he does not reveal its contents or substance.” [The Washington Post, 11/11/19]
  • The White House Held The Money For 2 Months Until Releasing It The Night Of September 11. “Officials at the Office of Management and Budget relayed Trump’s order to the State Department and the Pentagon during an interagency meeting in mid-July, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. They explained that the president had “concerns” and wanted to analyze whether the money needed to be spent. Administration officials were instructed to tell lawmakers that the delays were part of an “interagency process” but to give them no additional information — a pattern that continued for nearly two months, until the White House released the funds on the night of Sept. 11.” [The Washington Post, 9/23/19]

GOP CLAIM: Trump was focused on fighting corruption in Ukraine.

THE FACTS: This is false. The evidence shows that Donald Trump was only ever interested in one thing: Ukraine announcing investigations into his political rival to help bolster his re-election campaign.

  • Trump never uttered the word “corruption” in his July 25 phone call with President Zelensky. However, he did mention the Bidens multiple times.
  • The Trump administration sought to cut millions of dollars to programs fighting corruption in Ukraine.

The Pentagon sent a letter to four congressional committees certifying that Ukraine “has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption.”

Originally posted on ImpeachmentHQ. Re-posted with permission.


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Impeachment HQ is a new rapid response project that serves as a resource to talkers, reporters, and activists on the impeachment proceedings.

The new project is a joint effort from Defend the Republic, a messaging and strategic communications project focused on holding the Trump Administration accountable, and Stand Up America, one of the country’s largest grassroots advocacy organizations and a key group driving grassroots action on impeachment.

The project is led by Zac Petkanas, who was previously the Director of Rapid Response for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, Communications Director to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senior Adviser to the Democratic National Committee.

The project is also supported by communicators, campaigners, and researchers from both Defend the Republic and Stand Up America—including Ryan Thomas, the Press Secretary for Stand Up America, who leads the communications team.

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