In a statement, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said, "Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump". And many members of the House Democratic Caucus have been operating on an assumption the California Democrat could deny efforts to incorporate the Mueller report into impeachment articles.
Over two weeks of public hearings last month, a number of the 12 witnesses who testified confirmed and elaborated on the efforts allegedly made by Trump, his associates and administration officials to get Ukraine to announce investigations into those two issues, and why they believed delayed US aid to Ukraine would only be released once that nation followed through on those demands. Republicans were allowed to read the Democrats' report the night before, but could only read it in the Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, and could only do so in the presence of a Democrat "minder" who would ensure Republicans would not leak or distribute its contents.
Trump has called the impeachment probe a "hoax" pushed by Democrats as part of an effort to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election.
The report was expected to focus on the findings by the Intelligence Committee in the Ukraine case - whether Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden as well as a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 presidential election as the USA dangled taxpayer funding to Ukraine and a White House meeting for its leader in exchange. When asked how he came to learn of a connection between the White House meeting and the investigations, Sondland said he presumed that the connection existed.
With the inclusion of recently obtained phone records and other material, the report reveals that behind-the-scenes work on the case continues.
Democrats once hoped to sway Republicans to consider Trump's removal, but they are now facing a ever-hardening partisan split over the swift-moving proceedings on impeaching the president. Similarly, the report references the testimony of Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker but fails to clarify that Volker sought Ukraine's commitment to an investigation without knowing of a connection to the Bidens and with the express goal of changing Trump's long-held view about pervasive corruption in Ukraine.
The Democrats' impeachment report is expected to be presented before the House Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to begin the first day of its own public impeachment hearings on December 4.
Republicans also argue that Democrats ignored evidence about Trump's state of mind, which they say shows "deeply-rooted, reasonable, and genuine concerns about corruption in Ukraine", including Hunter Biden being appointed to board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company with a reputation for corruption, when his father was the Obama administration's point person for Ukraine policy.
Pelosi's ability to move forward with any impeachment inquiry, announced in September, also hinged on her members being unified in their alarm over the Ukraine revelations. I think the Democrats should be ashamed of themselves. "If you look at every single swing state, impeachment's now underwater". In a morning meeting, Trump said the comments were "nasty" and "insulting". This is not a holiday sale that will expire on December 24; it's an impeachment involving the most egregiously corrupt president in our history.
"That's not the way our country is supposed to be run".