A detailed account of the record in the Ukraine affair

By | November 28, 2019

Lawfare‘s Scott R. Anderson, Margaret Taylor, Benjamin Wittes write:

In the Ukraine affair, there is no Robert Mueller. There is no Kenneth Starr. If the House is going to get a detailed report on the conduct of President Trump with respect to Ukraine and the Biden family, it’s going to have to write that report itself.

The House has authorized its intelligence committee to do just that. Under House Resolution 660, the Intelligence Committee “is directed to issue a report setting forth its findings and any recommendations and appending any information and materials the [it] may deem appropriate with respect to [its] investigation.”

And the House investigators have, remarkably rapidly, conducted a serious, probing investigation. Seventeen witnesses have spoken to the impeachment committees, and 12 of those testified in the impeachment investigation hearings. Fifteen deposition transcripts have been released publicly by the House Intelligence Committee, totaling 3,907 pages of sworn testimony. Lawfare has published separately summaries of each of the deposition transcripts, and we have also published video of each of the public testimonies.

But the task of isolating the relevant portions of the record is a task separate from amassing the record. Finding in this mountain of material the portions from which we can actually evaluate President Trump’s conduct fairly and rigorously requires interpreting data and creating narrative out of facts.

In this post, we have attempted to synthesize a kind of Starr Report out of all of this material—a cohesive narrative based on the collection of testimonies. We have drawn, often verbatim, on the summaries. Using our own prior effort to synthesize the deposition material as a starting text, we have added material from the transcripts of the public testimonies and incorporated video clips of especially significant exchanges and factual recitations. The goal is to give a sense of the aggregate record: what factual claims the record will and will not support and how those claims relate to one another.

Taken together, and woven together, all of this testimony tells a story—which will serve as the narrative backbone for the articles of impeachment the House Judiciary Committee will now prepare and on which members will vote. In this post, we try to distill from thousands of pages of the record what that story really is. [Continue reading…]

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