Inquiry moves into new phase
Experts will testify about constitutional issues
WASHINGTON – The Democraticled House of Representatives’ investigation of President Donald Trump moves this week from the fact-gathering hearings of the Intelligence Committee to the Judiciary Committee, which will decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment.
The Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday will examine the constitutional grounds for impeachment.
“Our first task is to explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct like those against President Trump,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in announcing the hearing.
The next phase in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump begins this week.
Here’s what you need to know:
Is the Intelligence panel done?
The Intelligence Committee held five days of open hearings with a dozen witnesses last month after weeks of listening to closed-door testimony. The committee, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff, DCalif., has been poring over the testimony and other evidence it collected to produce a report of its findings.
The Intelligence Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. to vote on the report. If approved, it will be sent to the Judiciary Committee.
What is the next hearing?
The first Judiciary Committee hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST. It is expected to feature testimony from legal experts on the constitutional grounds for impeachment.
The review will include an analysis of the intent and meaning of the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” as it appears in the section of the Constitution that outlines the acts for which a president could potentially be removed.
Will the president participate?
Again claiming the entire impeachment investigation is unfair, the White House told the Judiciary Committee on
Sunday it will not participate in a new hearing this week.
“This baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to Rep. Jerry Nadler, DN.Y., the committee chairman.
“Accordingly,” he said in the letter, “under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”
Nadler had asked the White House if it wanted officials to attend and ask questions at the hearing.
Trump and his GOP supporters have previously decried the impeachment process because it did not give the president a chance to defend himself from allegations that he leveraged military aid to Ukraine for his personal political gain.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who sits on the Judiciary Committee, earlier Sunday advised Trump against sending his lawyer to participate in the hearing.
“This whole thing’s been an illegitimate process so far, so why legitimize this with a president’s counsel appearing on Wednesday?” Biggs said.
But Biggs’ fellow Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Tom McClintock
of California, said Sunday that while he understood why Trump is “upset at the illegitimate process that we saw unfolding in the Intelligence Committee,” he thought “it would be to the president’s advantage to have his attorneys there.”
The Judiciary Committee hearing is a prelude to debate on whether the committee should recommend articles of impeachment to the full House. If the House votes to impeach Trump, the Senate would then hold a trial, probably in early 2020, to determine whether to remove Trump from office.
But a two-thirds majority would be required for conviction, or removal, making it unlikely in the Republicancontrolled Senate. No president has been removed this way in three previous impeachment inquiries.
The Judiciary Committee is collecting reports from five committees as evidence for possible articles of impeachment. The Intelligence Committee report is expected to form the foundation of the case against the president.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will head the next round of impeachment hearings, which begin Wednesday.