Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the committee tasked with drafting the charges against Trump, said on Sunday it is “possible” the House of Representatives could vote on articles of impeachment soon.
The impeachment inquiry centres around whether Trump froze nearly US$400 million in military aid to pressure Ukraine to publicly announce separate investigations into alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and former vice-president and political rival Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his work on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
Trump has vehemently denied the allegation but has acknowledged that he blocked the funds, which were later released.
Nadler said the “central allegation” is that Trump “put himself above his country several times,” that he “sought foreign interference” and that he “sought to cover it up.”
“All this presents a pattern that poses a real and present danger to the integrity of the next election, which is one reason why we can’t just wait for the next election to settle matters,” he said.
After the formal impeachment probe was officially launched in September, the House intelligence committee held a number of both closed-door and public hearings from witnesses, who provided their accounts of the events surrounding the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine.
Last Tuesday, the House intelligence committee released a report with its findings.
In the report, congressional investigators said Trump “personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his re-election.”
In advance of the hearing, Nadler sent a letter to the White House late Sunday officially forwarding the House intelligence committee’s report along with additional evidence supporting impeachment. The letter also invites White House officials to review sensitive materials in a classified setting.
The White House has refused to participate in the process, calling it a sham and a “witch hunt.”
On Sunday, ranking member of the House judiciary committee Doug Collins asked that the hearing be postponed.
“This is just how desperately they are, desperately focused on impeaching this president,″ said Collins, who argued Democrats had unleashed thousands of pages of documents that Republicans had no time to review before the session. ”This is a show. This is a farce. This is whatever you want to call it. The American people are having their tax dollars wasted on this impeachment of this president.”
— With files from the Associated Press