In Massive Report, House Dems Accuse Trump of Breaking the Law and ‘Betraying the Nation’

The House Judiciary Committee released its final report, presenting the panel’s case for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The Committee concluded that the president committed “multiple federal crimes,” including criminal bribery and wire fraud, in efforts to solicit election interference from a foreign power.

“President Trump has placed his personal, political interests above our national security, our free and fair elections, and our system of checks and balances,” the report said.

While the Committee only approved two articles of impeachment–abuse of power and obstruction of Congress–the president’s alleged criminal acts are primarily encompassed under the umbrella of abuse of power.

“Although President Trump’s actions need not rise to the level of a criminal violation to justify impeachment, his conduct here was criminal,” the panel wrote, specifically noting that his conduct violated not just the constitutinal definition of bribery, but the federal criminal statute as well.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 201, criminal bribery occurs when a public official corruptly demands or seeks anything of value personally in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act.

“The evidence before the Committee makes clear that the President solicited from the President of Ukraine a public announcement that he would undertake two politically motivated investigations. That conduct satisfies the actus reus element of bribery under the federal criminal code,” the panel wrote. “President Trump’s abuse of power encompassed both the constitutional offense of “Bribery” and multiple federal crimes. He has betrayed the national interest, the people of this Nation, and should not be permitted to be above the law. It is therefore all the more vital that he be removed from office.”

The report also looks to the Founders’ debates regarding the text of the U.S. Constitution and the contemporaneous common law to define constitutionally impeachable bribery.

“At the time of the Constitutional Convention, bribery was well understood in Anglo-American law to encompass offering, soliciting, or accepting bribes,” the report stated, adding, “Soliciting a bribe—even if it is not accepted—thus qualified as bribery at common law. Indeed, it was clear under the common law that ‘the attempt is a crime; it is complete on his side who offers it.’”

In their final definition, the panel wrote that impeachable bribery occurs “when a President offers, solicits, or accepts something of personal value to influence his own official actions.”

The report also makes the case that President Trump’s conduct in allegedly obstructing Congress, if allowed without consequence, would allow the president to operate above the law.

“President Trump’s obstruction of Congress does not befit the leader of a democratic society. It calls to mind the very claims of royal privilege against which our founders rebelled.”

Based on these conclusions, the report implores the House to impeach the president, arguing that his conduct constitutes a betrayal of the nation.

In all of this, President Trump abused the powers of the Presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit. He has also betrayed the Nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.

Included in the report was a 20-page dissent from Rep. Doug Collins (R- Ga.), which argued that the “record put forth by the Majority is based on inferences built upon presumptions and hearsay.”

“In short, the Majority has failed to make a credible, factually-based allegation against this president that merits impeachment,” Collins wrote.

[image via Mark Wilson_Getty Images]

Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.

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