WASHINGTON: US impeachment investigators said Monday they could present their report of presidential wrongdoing as early as next week but do not rule out calling new witnesses in the case against Donald Trump.
The three panels heading the probe have been preparing a file to deliver to the committee that will consider whether to draft articles of impeachment against the president.
It will be sent to the Judiciary Committee soon after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess, beginning next Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff told colleagues in a letter.
“The evidence of wrongdoing and misconduct by the president that we have gathered to date is clear and hardly in dispute,” said Schiff, who has delivered searing condemnations of Trump´s behavior and the Republicans´ defenses of the president.
“What is left to us now is to decide whether this behavior is compatible with the office of the presidency, and whether the constitutional process of impeachment is warranted.”
Schiff presided over two weeks of dramatic public hearings that he said uncovered a “massive amount of evidence in short order,” despite efforts to obstruct the investigation by Trump and his administration.
It “conclusively shows” that Trump conditioned a White House meeting with Ukraine´s new president and critical US military assistance on Ukraine announcing “sham, politically-motivated investigations that would help President Trump´s 2020 reelection campaign,” he said.
The committees “do not foreclose the possibility of further depositions or hearings,” signaling they could seek to have more witnesses testify, Schiff added.
The White House and State Department have refused to turn over documents seen as crucial to the inquiry, or allow potential witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the Ukraine pressure campaign to testify.
They include White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Schiff said such refusal to comply with subpoenas or testimony requests could lead the Judiciary Committee to consider an article of impeachment based on obstruction of Congress, in addition to the charges referring to Trump´s underlying misconduct.
Trump has repeatedly denounced the process in the Democratic-led House of Representatives as a “witch hunt.”
If Trump is impeached in the House, the process shifts to a trial in the Senate, where a Republican majority appears unlikely to oust him from office.