‘This is an urgent matter that cannot wait if we are to protect the nation’s security and the integrity of our elections…’
(Liberty Headlines) Those expecting that the close of Ukraine hearings led by House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., might signal the end of the impeachment process—amid a growing wave of public fatigue—have underestimated the resolve of Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
The House Judiciary Committee is set to take over the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump next week, scheduling a Dec. 4 hearing on the question of “high crimes and misdemeanors” set out in the Constitution.
The opening hearing will feature legal experts who will examine the constitutional grounds as the Judiciary panel decides whether to write articles of impeachment against Trump — and if so what those articles will be.
Formal articles of impeachment customarily have come through the Judiciary Committee in past impeachments, but rather than move quickly through the process, Nadler—whose July 26 declaration that the House had already initiated impeachment hearings likely forced the hand of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.—may now seek to relish his moment in the spotlight.
Nadler was largely relegated to the sidelines during the recent Schiff show, leading some to speculate that he had fallen out of Pelosi’s good graces for botching his past investigations into Trump’s finances—including a disastrous hearing with former Trump campaign advisor Corey Lewandowski.
But the veteran New York lawmaker—the most vocally resolute impeachment hawk among House leadership—has been motivated to appease the far Left after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez last year succeeded in ousting Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley.
Nadler’s heavily gerrymandered 10th congressional district sits not far from the 14th district where AOC ended Crowley’s hopes of a plum leadership post.
Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee will be submitting the report on its probe into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Following two weeks of impeachment hearings this month, Schiff has said his committee will finish that report “soon after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess.” However, he left the door open to the possibility that he might attempt to subpoena additional 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 will 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.”
Moving the Goalposts… Again.
Early on, Democrats indicated that the floor vote on impeachment was targeted for around the Thanksgiving holiday, but as with many other declarations about the process, they pushed back the goalposts as they went.
They are now aiming for a final House vote by Christmas, which would set the stage for a likely Senate trial in January.
Nadler said Tuesday that his panel’s hearing will “explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct.”
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 president, saying that he hopes Trump will participate, “consistent with the rules of decorum and with the solemn nature of the work before us.”
It’s unlikely that the president himself will attend, as Trump is scheduled to be overseas on Dec. 4 to participate in a summit with NATO allies outside London—a split screen showing leadership that Trump’s allies may find favorable.
The Judiciary panel gave the White House until the evening of Dec. 1 to decide whether Trump or his lawyers would attend.
If Democrats stay on schedule, the hearing could come as the committee introduces articles of impeachment and then holds a vote, a process that could take several days. If the committee approves articles by the end of the second week of December, the House could hold an impeachment vote the third week of the month just before leaving for the holidays.
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. However, Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham and others have hinted that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as the so-called anonymous whistleblower whose complaint triggered the Ukraine proceedings, are included on the shortlist.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press