Trump on trial: the road to impeachment
WASHINGTON, Dec 4: The House Intelligence Committee released a report on Tuesday that will serve as the basis for articles of impeachment against US President Donald Trump in the full House of Representatives.
The 300-page report paves the way for the opening of impeachment hearings in the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee.
The report found "overwhelming evidence" of misconduct and obstruction of justice by Trump and accused him of subverting national security by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for political dirt on Democratic rival Joe Biden.
The president allegedly stalled $400 million in military aid and a White House visit for Zelensky to strong-arm Kiev -- which is at war with Russia -- into opening an investigation into Biden.
Democrats appear determined to hold an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives by the end of the year, which could see Trump go on trial in the Republican-majority Senate in January.
Here are the next steps of the process:
The House Judiciary Committee is to hold its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday featuring four prominent legal scholars discussing the "constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment."
Further hearings are expected next week, but a list of witnesses has not yet been released.
Unlike in the initial fact-finding phase in the Intelligence Committee, Trump and his attorneys can take part, submitting testimony, attending the hearings, reviewing the evidence and questioning witnesses.
Trump's White House counsel Pat Cipollone refused an offer to participate, however, calling the inquiry "baseless and highly partisan" and in violation of "fundamental fairness."
Cipollone reserved the right to join in subsequent Judiciary hearings, in which the charges are debated and further witnesses could be called. Following the hearings, the panel will vote on formal articles of impeachment, the political equivalent of an indictment.
The US Constitution's definition of impeachable offenses is broad: "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
Democrats are weighing at least two counts: abuse of power and obstruction of justice. - AFP