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If House Democrats press ahead with impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, their case will rest in large part on the claim that he sought a foreign government’s help, with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid in the balance, to dig up dirt on a political opponent to boost his reelection campaign. But, if true, would that be a crime? The answer might not matter. It doesn’t take a criminal act to impeach a president. The Constitution’s standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for impeachment is vague and open-ended to encompass abuses of power even if they aren’t, strictly speaking, illegal, legal scholars say. The controversy centers on a summertime phone call in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to help investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden, according to a transcript the White House provided on Wednesday. A whistleblower’s complaint released Thursday alleged a concerted White House effort to suppress the transcript of the call and described a shadow campaign of diplomacy by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The Justice Department doesn’t think Trump violated any laws in his July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said, “I think we ought to go through the process. I mean, no one has shown me what law has been broken.” But the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., described several potential crimes that could have been committed if Trump withheld “authorized funding of Congress to use as leverage, if the president…

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