Democrats to Continue Impeachment Investigations Regardless of Senate Trial Outcome

December 17, 2019 Updated: December 17, 2019

House lawmakers will continue their impeachment probe against President Donald Trump even after the vote to oust the president later this week, House Democrats’ attorneys told a federal court on Dec. 16.

House general counsel Douglas Letter in a filing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit highlighted the urgency of grand jury materials that were demanded by the House, which are connected to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. He argued that ahead of a Senate impeachment trial next month, such evidence might become relevant, Politico reported.

Citing a report outlining the probe released Dec. 16 by the House Judiciary Committee, Letter added that separately, the panel plans to push on with its impeachment probe, regardless of the outcome of a Senate trial.

“The committee has continued and will continue [its impeachment] investigations consistent with its own prior statements respecting their importance and purposes,” Letter wrote.

The House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump on Dec. 18. The president faces a charge of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

The impeachment investigation centers around allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential political rival. Democrats also claim the president withheld aid to Ukraine and dangled the prospect of a White House meeting as leverage to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to comply with his request. Both Trump and Zelensky have repeatedly said there was no quid pro quo or pressure.

A 123-page report released by House Republicans on Dec. 2 maintains that the ongoing inquiry into Trump currently rests entirely on secondhand evidence, assumptions, and speculation.

While Democrats assert that the allegation that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden has been proven, during the past month, no witness has offered firsthand evidence of Trump exerting pressure or conditioning any official act on Ukraine’s compliance with his request.

“The evidence does not support the accusation that President Trump pressured President Zelensky to initiate investigations for the purpose of benefiting the president in the 2020 election,” the report stated.

“The evidence does not support the accusation that President Trump covered up the summary of his phone conversation with President Zelensky. The evidence does not support the accusation that President Trump obstructed the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.”

House Republicans have long denounced the impeachment probe as an attempt by Democrats to undo the outcome of the 2016 election. The report—prepared by Republican staff for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) reasserts that claim.

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.