Democrat Says U.S. World Standing at Stake: Impeachment Update
(Bloomberg) -- The House Judiciary Committee is meeting on Wednesday to begin considering the resolution that contains two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The meeting will be led by Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York and top Republican Doug Collins of Georgia.
Here are the latest developments:
Democrat Says U.S. World Standing at Stake (9:55 p.m.)
California Democrat Karen Bass said the world is watching how the U.S. handles this crisis and called Republicans irresponsible when they attack critics and label the impeachment inquiry a coup d’etat.
Other nations look to the U.S. as an example, she said, but what they now see now is a leader and his supporters attacking those who criticize them or point out wrongdoing.
“The president’s defenders shout, coup, hoax, and demonstrate their 150% loyalty to the President while off the record, acknowledge his wrong doing. People from around the world understand this as autocratic behavior,” Bass said. “The world is waiting to see if we hold ourselves to the democratic principles we tell others to hold.”
Trump to Serve 5 More Years, GOP Member Says (7:33 p.m.)
Collins opened by saying he expects Trump to survive impeachment, win re-election and serve as president for another five years.
“The real legacy of this impeachment hearing will not be the removal of Donald Trump as president,” Collins said. “The real legacy will be the institutional damage to this institution,” he said, referring to the Judiciary Committee.
“After a year of trashing this institution, a year of trashing this administration, we come up with abuse of power? And we can’t define it?” said Collins, who also criticized the obstruction article.
“My heart breaks for a committee that has trashed this institution,” said Collins.
Nadler Accuses Trump of ‘Stonewall’ (7:16 p.m.)
In opening the meeting, Nadler said Trump’s requests to Ukraine’s president for investigations of Joe Biden and the 2016 election were “not legitimate requests” and ignored the U.S. national interest.
“President Trump both betrayed our national security and attempted to corrupt our elections,” Nadler said. “If our elections are corrupt, everything is corrupt.”
“The evidence proves that these requests were not related to any real interest in rooting out corruption,” Nadler said. “President Trump eagerly does business with corrupt governments every day.”
Once the House began investigating and requesting testimony and documents from the administration, “President Trump’s stonewall was complete, absolute, and without precedent in American history,” the chairman said.
In contrast to Trump, “during the Watergate hearings, President Nixon turned over recordings of his conversations in the Oval Office; later, President Clinton would hand over his DNA,” Nadler said.
Judiciary Panel Meets to Debate Articles (7:01 p.m.)
The Judiciary Committee opened what is expected to be a two-day meeting to debate and vote on the articles of impeachment.
Pence Call Record Remains Classified (6:21 p.m.)
The Intelligence Committee said it sent the Judiciary panel a classified statement from an aide to Vice President Mike Pence after the vice president didn’t respond to a request to declassify the material for public release.
Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, in a letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, said the statement was submitted by Pence aide Jennifer Williams about the vice president’s Sept. 18 phone call with Ukraine’s president.
“We requested that the office of the vice president respond to our request by Dec. 11, but have not yet received a response,” Schiff wrote.
Williams, who is Pence’s special adviser for Europe and Russia, testified at a public hearing on Nov. 19.
Schiff had earlier said that after reviewing Williams’ supplemental statement, his committee “strongly believes that there is no legitimate basis” to assert that her information about the call should be classified.
Judiciary members can now read the material. But Schiff warned the panel to treat the statement as a classified document. -- Billy House
House Panel to Open Debate on Trump Articles (12:22 p.m.)
The Judiciary Committee will take a historic step Wednesday night when it begins considering two articles of impeachment seeking to remove Trump from office for abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
The 41-member panel meets at 7 p.m. to start debating what are now two narrowly written articles focusing on the Ukraine controversy. The hearing is expected to go for several hours, then reconvene Thursday morning and continue through the afternoon, or perhaps longer.
The aim is to finalize wording on articles that would be sent to the floor for a vote next week by the full House. The process may involve debate and votes on dozens of proposed amendments from both sides of the aisle.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, chairman of the House Democratic caucus, said Wednesday morning that he doesn’t expect any Democratic amendments to be offered to the impeachment resolution. He also said no decisions have been made yet on which House members will serve as the impeachment managers who will present the case against Trump during the Senate trial.
As written now, the nine-page resolution announced by Democrats Tuesday accuses Trump of having “abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit,” and for obstructing Congress’s inquiry into those alleged actions.
That approach is favored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other top Democrats who want to focus narrowly on Trump’s Ukraine dealings to avoid potentially protracted House floor debate on other issues.
Some House Democrats want to include findings from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election-meddling, including a potential additional article citing obstruction of justice. That would better establish a pattern of misconduct by Trump, those Democrats contend.
In the impeachment inquiries into Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, the Judiciary Committee held several days of public, televised sessions to debate the articles. In 1974, the committee took six days to debate and pass articles against Nixon, who resigned before the full House could vote. In 1998, the Judiciary Committee considered articles to impeach Clinton for three days. He was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate. -- Billy House
Catch Up on Impeachment Coverage
Democrats Map Trump Impeachment Path on Power Abuse, Obstruction
Trump, Pelosi Both See Benefits in Swift House Impeachment
Pelosi Puts House on Quick Timetable for Impeaching Trump
Giuliani Is in Kyiv, and Ukrainian Officials Are Steering Clear
- The House impeachment resolution is here. The Intelligence Committee Democrats’ impeachment report is here.
- House Democrats proposed an impeachment resolution that accuses Trump of abusing the power of his office and keeping Congress from exercising its duty as a check on the executive branch. Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said his panel will prepare the resolution for a vote by the full House, probably next week.
- Gordon Sondland’s transcript is here and here; Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of Holmes, a Foreign Service officer in Kyiv, is here.
- The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Fiona Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here. Jennifer Williams’ transcript is here and Timothy Morrison’s is here. The Philip Reeker transcript is here. Mark Sandy’s is here.
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