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Backgrounder: U.S. Democrat-led House impeachment process against Trump

2019-12-29 Xinhua

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Democrat-led House of Representatives is set to vote on the two articles of impeachment accusing President Donald Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Wednesday. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The following is a chronology of events related to the impeachment process.

-- In mid-August, an unidentified intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, an independent watchdog, alleging that Trump communicated with a foreign leader and made an unspecified "promise".

-- In August and September, House Democrats were reportedly probing a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to see whether Trump and his attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, sought to manipulate Kiev into helping his re-election campaign.

Trump had reportedly urged Zelensky roughly eight times in the July 25 phone call to work with Giuliani in seeking information about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, that could be damaging to the former vice president's campaign.

-- On Sept. 19, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff released two letters he received from Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson detailing why Atkinson believes a whistleblower complaint is urgent and "relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI (Director of National Intelligence)'s responsibilities to the American people."

-- On Sept. 24, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the initiation of a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump over the latter's controversial phone call with the Ukrainian president.

-- On Sept. 25, the White House released a memo of the highly controversial July phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart. Trump tweeted that the Democrats should "apologize" upon seeing the "perfect call."

-- On Oct. 8, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Pelosi that the White House won't cooperate with the impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats, calling the inquiry "partisan and unconstitutional" while accusing Democratic leaders of seeking "to overturn the results of the 2016 election."

-- On Oct. 31, a divided House voted approving a resolution designed to formalize proceedings of the impeachment inquiry into Trump. No Republicans voted in favor of it, and only two Democrats voted against it.

-- On Nov. 13, the House Committee on Intelligence held the first public hearing since the impeachment inquiry began.

-- On Dec. 3, the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to adopt a report summarizing its findings from the impeachment inquiry. According to the report, the inquiry has found that 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 reelection."

-- On Dec. 4, the House Judiciary Committee held its first public hearing after receiving the report of the findings from the impeachment inquiry. Four constitutional law professors took questions from lawyers and lawmakers from both parties.

-- On Dec. 13, the House Judiciary Committee passed along partisan lines the two articles of impeachment, accusing Trump of abusing power and obstruction of Congress.

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