A (Very) Quick Rundown Of The Most Important Evidence In The Impeachment Trial Of Donald J. Trump

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President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The House of Representatives was forced to impeach Donald Trump for illegally withholding military aid to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election. 

A fuller timeline of what we know can be found here. 

Here’s a topline rundown of the most important pieces of evidence to date:

1. TRUMP REPLACED THOSE CONSIDERED OBSTACLES TO HIS BRIBERY SCHEME WITH LOYALISTS

  • Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified she was removed from her post following a smear campaign led by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.  She was considered to be an obstacle to the Ukraine plot. Trump personally threatened Yovanovitch, saying, “She’s going to go through some things” and recent documents provided from Giuliani associate Lev Parnas suggest she might have been under surveillance.
  • In her place, Trump elevated loyalists like Giuliani and the “three amigos”—EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

2. TRUMP AND HIS NEWLY EMPOWERED LOYALISTS ABUSED THEIR POWER BY DEMANDING POLITICALLY BENEFICIAL INVESTIGATIONS FROM UKRAINE IN EXCHANGE FOR MILITARY AID AND A WHITE HOUSE MEETING

  • Donald Trump asked for “a favor though”—investigations into the Bidens—when President Zelensky requested military aid, according to aJuly 25 call transcript
  • WH Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted that aid had been contingent on Ukraine launching political investigations during a press conference on national TV and that Trump knew.
  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman found the July 25 call so “troubling and disturbing” that he reported it to the NSC counsel. Jennifer Williams, a State Department official and special advisor to VP Mike Pence, said it was “unusual and inappropriate.”
  • EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland said the answer is yes: there is a quid pro quo. He said “everyone was in the loop,” as confirmed by Giuliani’s associate, Lev Parnas.
  • Former NSC official Fiona Hill testified that Sondland was engaged in “a domestic political errand” rather than official US foreign policy. Ambassador Bolton called it a “drug deal,” requesting she inform the NSC counsel.
  • Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor texted at the time that it’s “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

3. TRUMP RELEASED SOME OF THE UKRAINE AID ONLY AFTER GETTING CAUGHT

  • OMB held a briefing at the direction of Trump and Mulvaney on July 18 to inform federal officials that $391 million in Ukraine aid would be held.
  • White House official Mike Duffey ordered the aid to Ukraine be withheld just 91 minutes after Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky. 
  • An independent watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, found that the White House broke the law when it withheld military aid from Ukraine.
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper testified that Ukrainian officials knew aid was being held on July 25—the same day as the Trump-Zelensky call.
  • On September 10, Congress requested the whistleblower report. Under immense pressure, Trump abruptly released some of the military aid the next day, September 11.

Originally posted on Impeachment HQ. 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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