House prepares to take control of Trump probe
THE US House Judiciary Committee is set to take over the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, scheduling a hearing for next week.
The Judiciary panel scheduled the hearing as the separate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released two last transcripts from its depositions. They included those 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 December 4, the day after politicians 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 said on Tuesday that his panel’s hearing will “explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct”.