Judiciary Committee Set To Take Over Trump Impeachment Probe

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Sunrise, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Judiciary Committee is set to take over the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, scheduling a hearing for next week as they push closer to a possible vote on actual charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The Judiciary panel scheduled the hearing as the Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released two last transcripts from its depositions, including from a White House budget official who detailed concerns among colleagues as Trump ordered them, through intermediaries, to put a hold on military aid to Ukraine.

Trump ordered the hold as he was pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate Democrats, the issue at the heart of the impeachment probe. Multiple government witnesses testified in impeachment hearings held by the Intelligence panel this month that Trump directed his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to take the lead on Ukraine policy and that Giuliani pushed an “irregular” diplomatic channel.

The Intelligence Committee is wrapping up the investigative phase of the probe and preparing its report for the next. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has said the report could be released soon after the House returns from its Thanksgiving break.

The initial Judiciary hearing on Dec. 4, the day after lawmakers return, will feature legal experts who will examine questions of constitutional grounds as the panel decides whether to write articles of impeachment against Trump — and if so what those articles will be. Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that his panel’s hearing will “explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct.”

Democrats are aiming for a final House vote by Christmas, which would set the stage for a likely Senate trial in January.

Trump, meanwhile, tried to put distance between himself and Giuliani in a radio interview Tuesday. Asked by host Bill O’Reilly what Giuliani was doing on his behalf in Ukraine, Trump said, “I don’t even know,” adding that Giuliani had canceled one trip and had other clients as well.

Asked directly if he had directed Giuliani to go to Ukraine on his behalf, Trump said, “No.”

In a phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25, Trump had said several times he would have Giuliani contact Zelenskiy. “Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy,” Trump said to Zelenskiy, according to a rough transcript released by the White House.

Trump and his lawyers are invited to attend the Judiciary hearing and make a request to question witnesses, according to Democratic rules approved by the House last month. The committee released a letter from Nadler to the Republican president, saying he hopes Trump will participate, “consistent with the rules of decorum and with the solemn nature of the work before us.”

The White House said Wednesday that it was reviewing Nadler’s letter.

“But what is obvious to every American is that this letter comes at the end of an illegitimate sham partisan process,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said. “The president has done nothing wrong and the Democrats know it.”

It’s unlikely that the president himself would attend, as Trump is scheduled to be overseas on Dec. 4 for a summit with NATO allies outside London — a split screen showing leadership that Trump’s allies might find favorable. The Judiciary panel gave the White House until Sunday evening to decide whether Trump or his lawyers would attend.

If Democrats stay on schedule, the committee will introduce articles of impeachment, debate them and then hold a vote, a process that could take several days. If charges are approved by the end of the second week of December, the House could hold a formal impeachment vote the third week of the month just before leaving for the holidays.

The charges are expected to mostly focus on Ukraine. Democrats are considering an overall “abuse of power” article against Trump, which could be broken into categories such as bribery or extortion. That article would center on the Democrats’ assertion, based on witness testimony, that Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine into politically motivated investigations.

Democrats also are expected to include an article on obstruction of Congress that outlines Trump’s instructions to officials in his administration to defy subpoenas for documents or testimony.

Though several government officials called by Democrats cooperated with the committee, several key witnesses — including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former National Security Adviser John Bolton — refused, following Trump’s orders.

Lastly, Democrats could potentially include an obstruction of justice article based on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report released earlier this year. Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump on that point, essentially leaving the matter up to Congress.

When and if the House approves articles of impeachment, the Republican-controlled Senate would be expected to hold a trial in early 2020. Unless political dynamics change drastically, Trump would have the backing of majority Republicans in that chamber and be acquitted.

It’s still unclear how long a trial might last, what it would look like and who might be called as witnesses.

While the matter remains in the House, Schiff said in a letter to his colleagues on Monday that his committee “will continue with our investigative work” and could still hold depositions or hearings. But Schiff said it would not prolong a fight to obtain documents or testimony in court.

“The president has accepted or enlisted foreign nations to interfere in our upcoming elections, including the next one,” Schiff said in the letter. “This is an urgent matter that cannot wait if we are to protect the nation’s security and the integrity of our elections.”

In a transcript of closed-door testimony released Tuesday, Office of Management and Budget official Mark Sandy, a career employee, told lawmakers that his office was notified as early as July 12 by the White House chief of staff’s office that Trump was withholding the military aid. That was two weeks before Trump asked Ukrainian President Zelenskiy to investigate Democrats.

Sandy testified that Trump himself requested additional information about the aid on July 19 after seeing an unidentified “media report.” The office then started the official process of withholding the money on July 25, the day of the call between Trump and Zelenskiy, Sandy said.

He testified that he raised concerns about the legality of the holdup, but wasn’t given a reason until September, when he was told that Trump was concerned “about other countries not contributing more to Ukraine.”

Sandy said that in late July, political appointee Michael Duffey took from him his role of approving spending, a decision Duffey told him involved Mulvaney. Sandy, who has worked at OMB for more than a decade, said he was unaware of a political appointee ever previously being given that responsibility.

He also testified that he knew of two people who left the agency who had voiced concerns over the handling of the Ukraine aid.

The intelligence panel also released a transcript of the deposition of State Department official Philip Reeker, who detailed concerns about the removal of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.


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  1. Glad its over. The proceedings were sooooooooooooo booooooooooooooring. And we were promised a Nison sensation.

    CNN not FOX reported that support among independents to impeach Trump is down in recent days. Biden is in der erd to the point that shorty stuffy nosed Bloomy had to step in and run. Good luck folks.

    • Truly educated people did not find the hearings boring but fascinating . Perhaps you found it boring because you already understoodd what a dishonest self serving man Donald Trump is and didn’t need to hear the facts. I was able to listen to most of the hearings and was impressed with the professionalism of the government employees who testified. Testimony wasn’t as colorful as the Watergate hearings.
      Instead of asking relevant questions the Republicans made statements aimed to please Donald J Trump.
      From the testimony it’s clear that Trump never cared about corruption anywhere or at any time other than corruption ostensibly by Biden’s son. Ukraine urgently needed the aid and it was made clear that Trump held up the aid for his own political benefit and only released it after the whistle blower complaint.

      Be impeachment popular or unpopular Congress has an obligation to investigate as to whether the President committed high crimes and misdemeanors.

      • I know trump is dishonest but don’t care. I think drasatic times require drastic measures. Thats why Republicans are defending him. They get that Trump is so pushed against the wall by establishment and media that the only to beat you guys back is some dishonesty. And thats fine since you play the same game.

        ” the professionalism of the government employees who testified. ”
        I love it its like a copy and paste talking points straight from NPR. Please try to be original. Professionalism is nonsense. its fluff . i work in corp america. Its baloney.

        Re congress Obligation. Their main job is to govern. When this becomes their main job for 3 years its no longer their “obligation”.

    • I’ve heard people, including Trunp, use the word boring whenever you want to trivialize something in a more theatrical manner. You’ve used it dozens of times. Maybe you should break out the thesaurus and come up with a new adjective for facts you dont like.

      • the fake news were actually the ones who hyped this up before hand . They were the ones who reminded us how dramatic the Nixon and clinton proceeding was. They expected this to be the same. This wasn’t my idea of fun. But ti turned out soooooooo boooooooring.

      • Watching a Trump MAGGOT is both entertaining and terrifying. Hundreds of bizarre statements and falsehoods cheered by a rowdy crowd ignorant of facts who worship The Chosen One.
        Last night the President of the United States said ” “As we gather for Thanksgiving, you know, some people want to change the name ‘Thanksgiving.’ They don’t want to use the term ‘Thanksgiving,'” Trump said. “But everybody in this room, I know, loves the name ‘Thanksgiving’ and we’re not changing it.”
        Trump also said “I stuck up for 3 great warriors against the Deep Sate” referring to his pardons of convicted war criminals.
        He had more trouble pronouncing words than usual and slurred some words.

  2. Educated people did not find the IMPEACHMENT boring. Herr trumpf will certainly go down in history as America’s failed Emperor Nero. As the Federal Judge said, HE’S NOT KING, HE’S A PRESIDENT. And a horrible one. Ask John Bolton.

  3. Phineas in other words, spelling doesn’t reflect any kind of education level . I work with many Asians or Indians who are very wise yet have poor spelling . I did not major in English nor did I excel in business writing . I still fail to see why education has to do with ones spelling . It’s more reflective of you not realizing the real world . Spelling and grammar is less relevant and not needed to succeed . Your comments make you sound so silly and naive . Bodem has nothing to do with klutz .

  4. After the House votes for impeachment, the Senate will conduct a trial, which will probably last a few weeks. I’m sure that there will be the usual attacks and counterattacks from both sides. However, Trump will be cleared, because the Republicans enjoy a 53-47 majority in the Senate. Then, the primary season starts, and will last for about four months. In the end, I really don’t think that the impeachment hearings or the trial, will have influenced voters that much. In other words, those who loved Trump before those hearings and trial, will continue to love him, and consequently, those who hated him, will continue to do so. Whereas the impeachment hearings for both Nixon and Clinton were conducted on a bipartisan basis, this one was very similar to the impeachment hearings and trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, as that one was also conducted on a strictly partisan basis. In the end, it should be noted, that our system of government (including checks and balances), works.


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