Judiciary hearing sets stage for impeachment charges against President Trump

Live Stream: Pushing ahead with articles of impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee convenes.

Posted: Dec 9, 2019 8:56 AM
Updated: Dec 9, 2019 9:37 AM

APP USERS: Click Here to watch

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pushing ahead with articles of impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee convenes Monday to formally receive the investigative findings against President Donald Trump as the White House and its allies launch an aggressive attack on Democrats and the proceedings.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler expects the committee to vote soon, possibly this week, on at least two or more charges against the Republican president. Democrats say Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate rival Joe Biden while at the same time withholding U.S. military aid ran counter to U.S. policy and benefited Russia. It could result in impeachment charges of abuse of power, bribery and obstruction.

“The central allegation is that the president put himself above his country several times, that he sought foreign interference in our elections several times, both for 2016 and 2020, that he sought to cover it up,” Nadler said.

“All this presents a pattern that poses a real and present danger to the integrity of the next election, which is one reason why we can’t just wait for the next election to settle matters,” he said.

The hearing sets off a pivotal week as Democrats march toward a full House vote expected by Christmas. In drafting the articles of impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Trump and his allies acknowledge he likely will be impeached in the Democratic-controlled House, but they also expect acquittal next year in the Senate, where Republicans have the majority. Trump’s team is turning attention elsewhere, including Monday’s release of a long-awaited Justice Department report into the 2016 Russia investigation.

“Impeachment Hearing Hoax,” Trump tweeted Sunday.

The White House is refusing to participate in the process it calls a sham and the top Republican on the panel, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia asked to postpone the hearing, criticizing Democrats for moving too swiftly. One legal scholar testified last week it would be the quickest impeachment in modern history.

“This is just how desperately they are — desperately focused on impeaching this president,” said Collins who said against Democrats unleashed thousands of pages of documents his side has no time to review before the session. ”This is a show. This is a farce. This is whatever you want to call it. The American people are having their tax dollars wasted on this impeachment of this president.”

Trump is heading out for campaign rallies shifting attention away from the House. Over the weekend, Trump was focused on a related matter, the Justice Department Inspector General’s findings into the FBI’s decisions to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president has long called special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe a “witch hunt,” but the Inspector General’s report is expected to reject the president’s claim that it was illegitimate, according to people familiar with its findings.

Trump tweeted Sunday, “I.G. report out tomorrow. That will be the big story!”

Democrats say Trump abused his power in the July 25 phone call when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favor in investigating Democrats and engaged in bribery by withholding nearly $400 million in military aide that Ukraine depends on to counter Russian aggression.

Trump and his aides have made clear that they now see his impeachment in the House as inevitable and have shifted their focus A vote to convict requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, where Republicans hold 53 of 100 seats. It is unlikely that any Republican senators would cross party lines and vote to remove Trump from office.

As Democrats draft the articles, Pelosi’s challenge will be to go broad enough to appease her liberal flank, which prefers a more robust accounting of Trump’s actions reaching back to Mueller’s findings, while keeping the charges more tailored to Ukraine as centrist lawmakers prefer. Democratic leaders will meet later Monday evening.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said Democrats should approach the question of what to include in the articles the way a prosecutor bringing forward “‘the strongest and most overwhelming evidence and not try to charge everything, even though you could charge other things.”

Schiff said, “I think we should focus on those issues that provide the greatest threat to the country. And the president is engaged in a course of conduct that threatens the integrity of the next election, threatens our national security.”

Monday’s hearing is to receive the Intelligence panel’s report on the inquiry, with lawyers from both parties testifying in what is expected to be a day long session that will lay the groundwork for the impeachment charges.

Nadler, in two television interviews, declined to say ultimately how many articles of impeachment Democrats will present but said they will involve “certainly abuse of power” and likely “obstruction of Congress.” He said final decisions will come after Monday’s hearing following discussions with House leadership and the Democratic caucus.

Nadler pointed to a “pattern” of conduct by Trump in seeking foreign interference in elections but would not commit to including the evidence of obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as part of the articles of impeachment.

In his report, Mueller said he could not determine that Trump’s campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election. But Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump of obstructing justice in the probe and left it for Congress to determine.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy criticized Democrats for their timeline, which he said was unfairly aimed at preventing the nation’s voters from making their own choices in the 2020 election.

“If they do not impeach him, they cannot beat him at the polls,” McCarthy, R-Calif.

Trump said over the weekend that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani wants to take the information gathered from Giuliani’s investigations and a recent trip to Ukraine to the U.S. attorney general and to Congress. But a House GOP ally called Giuliani’s trip “weird,” coming as House investigators review allegations that Giuliani improperly worked on behalf of Trump to pressure Ukraine to pursue investigations into Biden and Biden’s son, as well as a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

“It is weird that he’s over there,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., describing it as “odd having him over there at this time.”

Nadler spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” McCarthy was on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Gaetz spoke on ABC’s “This Week,” and Schiff appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT 2019 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Terre Haute
Broken Clouds
53° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 53°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
52° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 52°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
51° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 51°
Rockville
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 49°
Casey
Scattered Clouds
52° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Brazil
Broken Clouds
53° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 53°
Marshall
Broken Clouds
53° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 53°
Breezy, warmer Wednesday
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 292082

Reported Deaths: 8858
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1443155217
DuPage17589561
Lake16953487
Will14045378
Kane13159326
St. Clair6665190
Winnebago6037149
Madison5760137
Champaign473320
McHenry4609118
Peoria351050
McLean329523
Rock Island302676
Kankakee275277
Unassigned2532244
Sangamon243245
Kendall202025
Tazewell178025
LaSalle172557
DeKalb159038
Macon156044
Coles147231
Williamson140645
Jackson126224
Clinton119020
Adams114910
Boone112823
Randolph94111
Effingham8722
Vermilion7914
Whiteside75320
Ogle7286
Monroe68016
Knox6723
Grundy6705
Henry6665
Morgan66223
Bureau65211
Jefferson62038
Marion5661
Christian55411
Macoupin5507
Franklin5413
Stephenson5296
Union51524
McDonough48215
Logan4681
Crawford4584
Woodford4266
Fayette4183
Livingston4036
Cass39811
Jersey39415
Shelby3944
Lee3831
Montgomery37613
Iroquois36719
Perry35315
Saline3464
Warren3332
Bond3305
Douglas3147
Wayne2805
Jo Daviess2662
Lawrence2592
Carroll2355
Greene22911
Cumberland2185
Hancock2183
Moultrie2183
Washington2161
Jasper2139
Richland2136
Pulaski1811
Fulton1780
Clark1742
White1690
Wabash1583
Clay1560
Johnson1560
Mason1531
Mercer1405
Piatt1390
Pike1341
De Witt1252
Menard1251
Edgar1138
Massac1132
Ford1055
Marshall1050
Alexander831
Scott790
Gallatin732
Hamilton712
Henderson690
Edwards640
Brown620
Calhoun600
Putnam570
Stark552
Schuyler500
Hardin400
Pope291
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
Knox5289
Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48811
White48714
Decatur45939
Miami4394
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper4012
Scott39011
Steuben3907
Posey3460
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
Orange28824
Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
Randolph2238
Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
Vermillion1310
Fountain1292
Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1043
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0226