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A New Phase In The Impeachment Inquiry, In Front Of House Judiciary

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (center), D-N.Y., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment of President Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 4, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (center), D-N.Y., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment of President Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 4, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

The latest on the impeachment inquiry, with the House Judiciary Committee holding its first hearing as part of the process.


Mike DeBonis, Washington Post congressional reporter covering the House of Representatives. (@mikedebonis)

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Washington Post: “White House gears up for aggressive effort to defend Trump in Senate as House moves toward impeachment vote” — “The White House signaled Wednesday that it will aggressively defend President Trump in a near-certain Senate impeachment trial in the coming weeks, as legal experts called by House Democrats testified in a contentious hearing that Trump’s Ukraine dealings constitute an impeachable offense.

Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, told reporters that Trump ‘wants his case made fully in the Senate,’ previewing a strategy that would include live witnesses on the floor, rather than videotaped depositions that were entered into evidence during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999.

“‘In this instance, we believe very strongly — given the fatally flawed process in the House — that if they were to elect against our better advice [and] send over impeachment to the Senate, that we need witnesses as part of our trial and a full defense of the president on the facts,’ Ueland said, gesturing toward the Senate chamber.”

Associated Press: “Fiery disagreements as Trump impeachment hearing opens” — “The House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing quickly burst into partisan infighting Wednesday as Democrats charged that President Donald Trump must be removed from office for enlisting foreign interference in U.S. elections and Republicans angrily retorted there were no grounds for such drastic action.

“The panel responsible for drafting articles of impeachment convened as Trump’s team was fanning out across Capitol Hill. Vice President Mike Pence met behind closed doors with House Republicans, and Senate Republicans were to huddle with the White House counsel as GOP lawmakers stand with the president and Democrats charge headlong into what has become a one-party drive to impeach him.

“Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gaveled open the hearing saying, ‘”The facts before us are undisputed.’

“Nadler said Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president last July wasn’t the first time Trump sought a foreign power to influence American elections, after Russian interference in 2016, and if left unchecked he could do again in next year’s campaign.

“‘We cannot wait for the election to address the present crisis,’ Nadler said. ‘The president has shown us his pattern of conduct. If we do not act to hold him in check, now, President Trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain.’

“Republicans protested the proceedings as unfair to the president, the dredging up of unfounded allegations as part of an effort to undo the 2016 election and remove Trump from office.

“‘You just don’t like the guy,’ said Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel. He called the proceedings a ‘disgrace” and a ‘sham.’ ”

Washington Post: “‘Are you ready?’: Pelosi makes clear to Democrats that impeachment is coming” — “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff left little doubt with fellow Democrats Wednesday that they plan to move swiftly to impeach President Trump as soon as this month.

“According to multiple Democratic lawmakers who attended a closed-door Capitol meeting, Pelosi announced no firm decision or timeline in moving toward a vote on Trump’s impeachment. But, a day after Schiff delivered a 300-page report detailing charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against Trump, she made clear what lies ahead in the House.

“‘Are you ready?’ Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked her colleagues, after describing grave constitutional circumstances posed by Trump’s alleged wrongdoing surrounding his dealings with Ukraine and his subsequent decision to stonewall the House investigation into it.”

Vox: “What to expect during the House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing” — “The impeachment hearings are not over, they are simply moving to a different House committee.

“Following two weeks of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry led by the House Intelligence Committee, on Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee is picking up where their fellow lawmakers left off with a hearing defining impeachable offenses.

“The move from one committee to the other marks an important shift: It means lawmakers are now less concerned with gathering evidence of potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump and more interested in deciding what that evidence means and whether it is enough to write and vote on articles of impeachment.”

Politico: “Read opening statements from witnesses at the House Judiciary hearing” — “Democrats’ impeachment witnesses at Wednesday’s judiciary committee hearing plan to say in their prepared remarks that President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine were the worst examples of misconduct in presidential history.

“Three witnesses will testify for Democrats: Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina Law School and Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law School. Jonathan Turley, a George Washing University law professor, will testify for Republicans.”

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