- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 2, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday reassured her Democratic colleagues that they had evidence against President Trump that would lead to impeachment.

She told them that they were building public support for impeachment and that Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine “violated his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”

“I believe that the truth will set us free, and the facts are clear,” she said in a “dear colleague” letter to House Democrats. “President Trump withheld Congressionally-approved military assistance to Ukraine for his political advantage and now is covering it up.”

She compared Mr. Trump to Richard Nixon and noted that “some observers of that sad time of our history say that President Nixon’s offenses pale in comparison to what President Trump has done.”

The letter was the clearest signal yet form Ms. Pelosi that the inquiry would end in impeachment. Two days ago, when the House voted along party lines to formalize the impeachment inquiry, Ms. Pelosi insisted it was a fact-finding mission aimed at uncovering the “truth.”

The rules for the inquiry that were adopted Thursday, with no Republicans supporting the measure, would begin open hearings for the first time in the inquiry that has proceeded behind closed doors for more than a month.

Earlier, Mr. Trump decried the impeachment drive, saying, “It’s a scam. It’s a hoax.”

The letter spelled out what she said the evidence would show: that Mr. Trump withheld U.S. military aid from Ukraine to force Kyiv to investigate alleged corruption in the country involving former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, a political rival.

Ukraine desperately needed this assistance. At least 11,000 Ukrainians have already died in the fight against Russia’s incursions into their country,” she wrote. “The President’s actions undermined national security, jeopardized the integrity of our elections and violated his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”

The impeachment inquiry stems from a July 25 phone call in which Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor” in investigating Mr. Biden and other corruption allegations. A whistleblower believed to be a CIA official assigned to the White House accused the president of abusing his power for personal gain, including withholding U.S. military aid from Ukraine to force the investigation.

A rough transcript of the call did not show a quid pro quo with the investigation request, but Democrats argue the threat was understood and part of an ongoing pressure campaign of “shadow” foreign policy conducted by Mr. Trump’s private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.

The testimony provided so far, which has been gleaned from leaked copies of prepared opening remarks and accounts by congressional staff in the room, has largely centered on people’s opinions about what the president was doing when pressing for an investigation.

Mr. Trump wanted an investigation into allegations of corruption involving Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, who got a high-paying job on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, while his father was the point man for Obama White House policy in the country, which is notorious for corruption, especially in the energy industry.

Mr. Trump also wanted Ukraine to look into a missing Democratic National Committee server that was hacked by Russia during the 2016 presidential campaigns. An American cybersecurity company called CrowdStrike examined the server to probe the hack but it disappeared before it could be handed over to the FBI.

Mr. Trump subscribes to an unsubstantiated theory that the server ended up in Ukraine.

Democratic leaders had until this week resisted putting the impeachment inquiry to a vote, saying the complaints about the process masked Republicans’ inability to defend Mr. Trump’s action, which they describe as an abuse of his office for personal political gain.

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