Democrats are at an impeachment crossroads

In an interview on CNN's State of the Union, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) did not rule out using findings from the Mueller report in the case for impeachment. CNN legal analyst Elie Honig explains what that means.

Posted: Dec 9, 2019 9:40 AM
Updated: Dec 9, 2019 9:40 AM

That President Donald Trump should be impeached is self-evident to most of the Democratic Party, which has recoiled at his entire presidency and was ready to get rid of him long before he applied pressure to Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

But it's not self-evident to the portion of the country that either supports Trump or tolerates him.

So even as Democrats push what they see as a slam dunk case on Ukraine or on Russia, they must balance the desire to defeat a political foe with what will be acceptable to voters who go to the polls in less than a year.

Their fear is that Trump is rewiring what the country will accept from its President and how it views its Constitution. If Democrats are perceived as lashing out rather than measuring and applying checks and balances, it could end up making Trump even more powerful if he wins a second term.

Nadler: Jury would convict Trump in 'three minutes flat'

With sources telling CNN a vote in the House Judiciary Committee to impeach Trump is expected as soon as this week, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Sunday that he sees the Ukraine evidence as part of "a pattern" of conduct by the President.

The New York Democrat told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" Sunday he was confident in Democrats' "solid" case for impeachment, and said his party's case "if presented to a jury would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat."

The Judiciary Committee provided the White House with the investigative materials from Congress that are part of the impeachment proceedings against the President, according to a letter Nadler sent White House counsel Pat Cipollone on Sunday.

Nadler's comments to CNN come ahead of Monday's 9 a.m. ET hearing where evidence against Trump will be presented by the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees.

And while Trump's conduct as detailed in Robert Mueller's special counsel report will be at least part of Monday's discussion, both Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff signaled Sunday they are ready to move forward without including it.

"I can tell you as a former prosecutor it's always been you know, my strategy, in a charging decision, and an impeachment in the House is essentially a charging decision, to charge those that there's the strongest and most overwhelming evidence, and not try to charge everything even though you could charge other things," Schiff said in an interview on CBS' "Face The Nation."

He later added: "I think we should focus on those issues that provide the greatest threat to the country."

  • CNN's Stephen Collinson writes: Including elements of Mueller's Russia report suggesting Trump was guilty of obstruction would help arguments he did exactly the same in the Ukraine investigation. But reviving the controversy over the special counsel's probe could blur the much clearer current abuse of power case and play into Trump's claims that both Washington intrigues are all part of the same "hoax."

Speaking of Russia...

The Department of Justice Inspector General's report on the start of the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is expected to be released Monday.

The report will say the probe was properly launched but lower-level employees made a series of mistakes, according to two sources familiar with the matter -- information Trump is certain to seize on as a way to divert attention from the House impeachment inquiry.

Before the report is released, check out this Q & A with CNN's Crime and Justice reporter David Shortell for a breakdown of what to expect.

Vulnerable Dems plan for impeachment vote

As the House Judiciary Committee last week held its first impeachment hearing into Trump, some of the House's most vulnerable Democrats privately huddled to discuss how to protect their majority.

At the headquarters of the House Democrats' campaign arm, they talked about what they were hearing back home and were briefed on an internal poll surveying 57 battleground districts from October to November, according to a source familiar. That poll showed support for impeaching and removing Trump had stayed about the same — slightly trailing the opposition — despite a Republican onslaught.

While the polling was meant to reassure Democrats from highly competitive districts, they are still uneasy about the historic vote they're about to cast, which could have major ramifications for the country and their races.

Here's a sample of what some vulnerable Democrats are saying publicly:

Rep. Anthony Brindisi of New York, a freshman from a competitive district who had initially resisted an impeachment inquiry, said Friday: "I'm totally undecided." He added, "Anytime you talk about impeaching a president -- the third time in our nation's history -- that's a very serious vote. I take it very seriously."

Rep. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma told CNN that she's still deciding on how to vote and waiting to see "all the information," including how the articles of impeachment will be written.

Rep. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina said the allegations against Trump are "very serious" but wasn't sure how he'd vote until he saw the articles. "I wasn't elected to impeach the President," he said. "And I also wasn't elected to protect the President."

Giuliani's latest falsehood

A series of conspiratorial claims against Ukraine's government and the US embassy in Kiev have now been alleged by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

The former New York City mayor tweeted Thursday evening and into Friday morning several allegations over US aid to Ukraine and supposed stand-down orders directed from the US embassy in Ukraine to the country's police force.

"The Accounts Chamber in Ukraine found an alleged misuse of $5.3B in U.S. funds during the Obama administration while Biden was 'Point Man,'" Giuliani tweeted Thursday night. "Obama embassy urged Ukrainian police NOT to investigate!"

The next morning Giuliani tweeted the same allegations, this time naming former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch -- who Giuliani worked to have removed from her post -- and adding a new conspiracy that "much of the $5.3B in US Aid Ukraine reported as misused was given to the embassy's favored NGO's."

Facts First: The $5.3 billion figure comes from multiple countries, not solely from the US, and funds to non-government organizations represents a small percentage of this aid. The Accounting Chamber of Ukraine reported that there was not a proper accounting of the funds and their designated projects, not that the funds were "misused." And there is no evidence to support the accusation that the US embassy "urged Ukrainian police NOT to investigate."

Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr counseled Trump that Giuliani has become a liability for his administration, The Washington Post reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the conversations.

Giuliani has long stirred alarm among the President's advisers who worry his foreign business dealings often make it unclear who he is representing, people familiar with the situation told the Post.

The Post reported on other foreign efforts by Giuliani, including an attempt to replace the ambassador to Qatar and an agreement to find a way to negotiate a back channel communication between Trump and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 52°
Robinson
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 53°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 50°
Paris
Mostly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 50°
Mattoon/Charleston
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 52°
Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 52°
Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 52°
Sunny and cool!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1309459

Reported Deaths: 24018
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5245929847
DuPage869211254
Will72209968
Lake64862965
Kane55955753
Winnebago31341460
Madison29912515
St. Clair27220504
McHenry27207278
Peoria21504284
Champaign19902139
Sangamon17870230
McLean17096171
Tazewell16095259
Rock Island14319305
Kankakee13576199
Kendall1241790
LaSalle11835232
Macon10284190
DeKalb9390118
Vermilion9101127
Adams8231117
Williamson7229126
Whiteside6913164
Boone642971
Ogle579978
Clinton570890
Grundy562971
Coles554894
Knox5344137
Jackson486763
Henry474863
Effingham468471
Livingston461883
Macoupin460681
Stephenson454280
Woodford443063
Marion4415115
Franklin433770
Monroe431790
Jefferson4167119
Randolph409684
Lee400151
Morgan377679
Logan365456
Fulton364850
Montgomery364773
Bureau355181
Christian352772
Fayette314054
Perry313059
Iroquois291064
Jersey263549
McDonough261144
Douglas255335
Saline251453
Lawrence239525
Shelby225037
Union223040
Crawford209325
Bond198924
Cass194824
Pike177451
Jo Daviess176824
Clark176732
Warren173946
Wayne173452
Hancock173030
Richland172140
Carroll171736
Ford170746
Edgar166939
White166526
Washington162825
Moultrie157526
Clay147343
Mason142842
Greene142433
Piatt141914
Johnson139814
De Witt139723
Mercer136933
Wabash134112
Massac131439
Cumberland128319
Menard118812
Jasper114317
Marshall99817
Hamilton82415
Schuyler7095
Brown6916
Pulaski6807
Stark61223
Edwards55812
Henderson52114
Calhoun5122
Scott4691
Alexander46211
Gallatin4534
Putnam4483
Hardin37012
Pope3073
Out of IL70
Unassigned02296

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 710607

Reported Deaths: 13248
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion968581722
Lake51908949
Allen39337672
Hamilton34643406
St. Joseph34306543
Elkhart27477432
Vanderburgh22099394
Tippecanoe21927213
Porter17987301
Johnson17571374
Hendricks16854310
Clark12715190
Madison12367337
Vigo12240244
Monroe11510166
LaPorte11204204
Delaware10382184
Howard9698211
Kosciusko9165114
Hancock8014139
Bartholomew7913155
Warrick7702155
Floyd7568176
Wayne6917198
Grant6855171
Boone6568100
Morgan6414138
Dubois6091117
Marshall5801109
Dearborn571276
Cass5698104
Henry5588101
Noble543683
Jackson494172
Shelby481395
Lawrence4349118
Gibson429589
Harrison429171
Clinton420953
Montgomery418986
DeKalb413284
Whitley382239
Huntington379780
Miami373365
Knox367189
Steuben367157
Putnam353460
Jasper352546
Wabash348178
Adams338253
Ripley335469
Jefferson318080
White308854
Daviess289999
Wells286881
Decatur279592
Fayette277362
Greene271085
Posey269533
Scott261553
Clay255445
LaGrange255470
Randolph236080
Washington231631
Spencer228131
Jennings225448
Fountain209345
Sullivan208042
Starke206252
Owen192756
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178353
Rush170824
Vermillion166343
Franklin166035
Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130734
Pulaski114345
Newton104234
Brown100740
Crawford97914
Benton97413
Martin83115
Warren80215
Switzerland7698
Union70110
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408