United States committee passes impeachment report accusing Donald Trump of power abuse

A United States intelligence committee has voted to pass an impeachment report accusing President Donald Trump of abusing the power of his office.

Democrats on Tuesday accused Donald Trump of abusing his power to win re-election in 2020, saying in a report that he solicited foreign interference, undermined national security, and ordered an unprecedented campaign to obstruct Congress.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, which has spearheaded the impeachment probe, said Trump used US military aid and the prospect of a White House visit to compel his Ukrainian counterpart to "do his political bidding."

The 300-page report doesn't specifically recommend articles of impeachment but hints at obstruction of justice charges.

It was adopted by the committee 13-9 along party lines on Wednesday afternoon (NZ Time). The report will now go to the House Judiciary Committee. That committee would be responsible for drafting articles of impeachment.

If the full House eventually votes to approve formal impeachment charges, a trial would be held in the Republican-led US Senate, where a two-thirds majority of those present would be required to convict Trump and remove him from office.

At issue is whether Trump misused the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election.

"President Trump's scheme subverted US foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favour of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign," the report said.

Democrats also accused Trump of an unprecedented effort to obstruct an impeachment inquiry that included categorical refusals to provide documents and testimony from his top advisers, unsuccessful attempts to block career government officials from testifying and the intimidation of witnesses.

"Donald Trump is the first President in the history of the United States to seek to completely obstruct an impeachment inquiry undertaken by the House of Representatives," the report said.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused Democrats of using the impeachment process to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election. Opinion polls show Americans are bitterly divided over whether to impeach Trump.

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Democrats led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff had conducted a "one-sided sham process" that had failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by Trump.

"This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations. Chairman Schiff's report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing," Grisham said.

Earlier on Wednesday, former Democrat presidential nominee candidate Kamala Harris tweeted that she will see Trump "at your trial". It came after Trump said "we will miss you" when she dropped out of the presidential nominee competition. 

Reuters / Newshub.