Complaint in Hand, Democrats Aim for a Fast, and Focused, Impeachment Inquiry

 A crucial cache of evidence in hand, House Democrats moved quickly on Thursday with an impeachment inquiry they said would be focused tightly on President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, using an incendiary whistle-blower complaint as a road map for their investigation.

The complaint landed like a bombshell on Capitol Hill on Thursday morning after its release by the House Intelligence Committee, and Democrats quickly seized on its narrative of allegations against Mr. Trump — chock-full of potentially damning detail, intriguing threads and characters who could become witnesses in the nascent inquiry — as an outline for their work. 
After months of plodding investigating to determine whether they had grounds to impeach Mr. Trump, Democrats were working feverishly to build a case on the Ukraine matter, with some lawmakers saying they could move within a month or six weeks, possibly drafting articles of impeachment by the end of October.
“This is a cover-up,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, who after months of resisting the move made it clear that she was determined to follow through with a formal impeachment inquiry. 
She read aloud from a portion of the document describing an attempt by White House officials to quickly “lock down” records of a phone call in which Mr. Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The complaint detailed charges that the president “is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” and that officials took pains to conceal evidence of that effort.

“We are at a different level of lawlessness that is clear to the American people,” Ms. Pelosi said.
The speaker said the growing impeachment case would be centered around the Ukraine matter and investigative action mostly lodged in the House Intelligence Committee, which first received and publicized the complaint. 

The House Judiciary Committee, which has been leading the charge on impeachment for months, is now expected to temporarily idle the public components of its investigation of obstruction of justice and abuse of power. That inquiry focused on the findings of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated Russia’s election interference in 2016, and the president’s attempts to disrupt his work. Those topics could be resurrected if and when the committee drafts impeachment articles, however.

The Intelligence Committee was quickly lining up investigative targets. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Adam B. Schiff, the committee’s chairman, said that the complaint provided a clear “road map” for congressional investigators in the coming weeks and that his committee would work through Congress’s two-week recess that begins on Friday.


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