The House’s impeachment inquiry into President Trump shifts to the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday after the chamber’s Intelligence panel issued a scathing 300-page report accusing Trump of abusing his power and obstructing its eight-week probe.
The Judiciary Committee will hear from four constitutional scholars in its first hearing.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), has framed the hearing as an opportunity to “discuss the constitutional framework through which the House may analyze the evidence gathered in the present inquiry.”
The focus is likely to be more on the members of Judiciary panel than the witnesses, however, since the 41-member committee includes staunch conservatives and leading liberals.
Follow The Hill’s live coverage of the hearing below.
Pence confers with GOP
Vice President Pence made an appearance at the House GOP conference meeting ahead of the Judiciary hearing on Wednesday morning.
According to a source in the room, Pence discussed “opportunity costs and what’s not getting done,” such as work on Trump’s new North American trade deal.
Witness says Trump obstruction worse than any other president’s
Democratic witnesses in their statements to the Judiciary Committee are offering a scathing indictment of President Trump’s actions.
In his testimony, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the record indicates Trump has committed impeachable offenses including obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress and bribery.
He also said that while articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon in his view proved that Nixon nad personally and through subordinates stonewalled the investigation of the Watergate break-in, “the Mueller Report found at least five instances” of obstruction of the Justice Department investigation.”
“The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favor from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president,” he added.
Judiciary Democrat fearful Republicans will treat impeachment hearing like ‘game’
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said early Wednesday that she is fearful Republican members of the panel will treat its first impeachment hearing like a “game.”
Jayapal told CNN’s “New Day” that she is worried about some of the Republican members of the committee that are “hellbent on defending the president at any cost.”
She also said she thinks some GOP lawmakers “are going to try and make chaos” at the hearing.
“We are in a serious moment,” she said. “I hope the Republicans don’t treat this as a game, but I’m afraid that they might.”
GOP witness: Impeaching Trump over Ukraine allegations would be historic mistake
A Republican witness scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday will argue that impeaching President Trump over the Ukraine allegations would be a historic mistake.
“If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president,” Jonathan Turley, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University Law School, will say, according to his prepared testimony.
“That does not bode well for future presidents who are working in a country often sharply and, at times, bitterly divided,” he will add.
Catch up on our recent coverage:
Democrats hit gas on impeachment
House Democrats are keeping their foot on the gas pedal of their fast-moving impeachment effort against President Trump.
The House Intelligence Committee’s report accusing Trump of abusing his power and obstructing the panel’s eight-week probe injected fresh urgency and momentum into the impeachment push, just as the process shifts to the House Judiciary Committee.
Some Democrats want to go even faster, expressing doubt about whether Judiciary hearings — which kick off Wednesday morning with a panel of constitutional law scholars — are even needed.
House Intelligence report says Trump abused power
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday unveiled the much-awaited findings of their weeks-long impeachment investigation, laying out in blow-by-blow detail the basis for their allegations that President Trump abused the power of his office.
The 300-page report does not recommend specific articles of impeachment — leaving those decisions to the Judiciary Committee — but it paints a damning portrait of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and all but asserts that those actions warrant his removal from office.