- White House officials are concerned that House Democrats will continue investigations into President Donald Trump even after the impeachment trial into Trump concludes, Politico reported on Saturday.
- Trump is currently facing trial on two articles of impeachment alleging abuse of office and obstructing Congress over a campaign to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals.
- Since Trump was impeached by the House on December 18, a steady stream of new, incriminating information about the Ukraine scandal has continued to come to light.
- Even though Trump is likely to be acquitted, Republicans expect House Democrats to continue investigating Trump, and they worry it could jeopardize the president’s re-election prospects.
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White House officials are concerned that House Democrats will continue investigations into President Donald Trump even after the ongoing impeachment trial into Trump concludes, Politico reported on Saturday.
On Saturday, members of Trump’s legal team presented opening arguments for his defense in the ongoing Senate impeachment trial after three marathon days of arguments from the House impeachment managers prosecuting the case against Trump.
When Democrats took back control of the House in the fall of 2018, the Judiciary, Intelligence, and Oversight Committees immediately opened multiple investigations and oversight probes into Trump’s administration than eventually transformed into the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump last fall.
Trump is currently facing trial on two articles of impeachment alleging abuse of his office and obstructing Congress. But officials are concerned that even if the Senate acquits Trump, House Democrats won’t relent their investigations of his administration and specifically the Ukraine scandal.
Trump is accused of abusing his power by dispatching his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and other administration officials to withhold a congressionally appropriated $391 million military aid package from Ukraine for his own personal gain.
Based on documents, text message logs, and the sworn testimony of dozens of officials, the impeachment articles charge that Trump and his team leveraged the aid, in addition to the promise of a White House meeting, to pressure Ukraine’s president to announce investigations into Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
For Trump to be removed from office, two-thirds of the US Senate — 67 members — must vote to convict him of the articles of impeachment.
Currently, the Senate consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats, meaning he is highly unlikely to be removed from office.
But even though Trump is likely to be acquitted in the Senate, officials close to the president told Politico they don’t expect the flow of new information surrounding the conduct of Trump and allies around the Ukraine issue to end there — and they worry it could jeopardize the president’s re-election prospects.
“No one in this building believes House Democrats are done with impeachment,” one White House official told Politico on condition of anonymity. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they launched a dozen more sham investigations between now and Election Day.”
Since Trump was impeached by the House on December 18, a steady stream of new, incriminating information about the Ukraine scandal has continued to come to light.
On December 31, the national security publication Just Security got ahold of a trove of previously redacted emailed showing that officials at the Office of Management and Budget repeatedly ignored warnings from the Department of Defense that placing a hold on the military-aid package to Ukraine violated the law.
Next, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office published a report January 16 finding that the Ukraine aid freeze did, in fact, break federal law by violating the Impoundment Control Act, which stipulates that congressionally appropriated funds must be spent within a given window.
And more recently, the Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who played a role in the Ukraine scandal himself, has continued to make a series of explosive claims, some backed up with photographic, video, and audio evidence.
On Saturday, Parnas’ attorney released audio and video of Trump ordering aides to “get rid” of former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was suddenly recalled from her post in the spring of 2019 for standing in the way of Giuliani and
One Republican Senate aide told Politico they believed “Democrats are going to keep releasing to their media friends supposedly ‘new’ info to demand more investigation and witnesses anytime the trial is nearly over.”