28 November 2019 - 10:53
News ID: 447770
The House judiciary committee on Tuesday will hold its first public impeachment hearing part of a new phase of the investigation that will seek to determine whether the president’s actions amount to “high crimes and misdemeanors” as provided for in the US constitution.

RNA - The hearing, titled The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment, is scheduled for December 4 to “explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct like those against President Trump”, Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement, The Guardian reported.

After two weeks of public hearings and private depositions, the House intelligence committee has started to draft a report summarizing its two-month investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Democrats believe they have a strong case showing the president abused his power by withholding security assistance to pressure a foreign government to help gather damaging information on domestic US political rivals.

Republicans have argued there is no evidence linking the US military aid for Ukraine, in its conflict with Russia, to the political pressure campaign. The party is expected to remain unified in opposition to impeachment.

The witnesses at next week’s hearing are expected to include legal and constitutional experts who will “discuss the historical and constitutional basis of impeachment, as well as the Framers’ intent and understanding of terms like ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’”, referring to the framers of the constitution.

Trump and his legal team are invited to attend and participate in the hearing, according to the rules approved by the House last month.

“At base, the president has a choice to make: he can take this opportunity to be represented in the impeachment hearings, or he can stop complaining about the process,” Nadler stated, adding, “I hope that he chooses to participate in the inquiry, directly or through counsel, as other presidents have done before him.”

It is unlikely that Trump will attend the hearing. He is scheduled to attend the NATO summit in London during that time.

In a letter to the president, Nadler asked that Trump inform the committee whether he plans to participate in the hearing by 1 December at 6 pm.

“By that time, I ask that you also indicate who will act as your counsel for these proceedings,” he noted.

Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, stated that his team is working to finish its report and send it to the judiciary committee “soon after” lawmakers return from the Thanksgiving recess next week.

The report is expected to lay out the Democrats’ best case for impeachment and possibly serve as the foundation for articles of impeachment.

“The president has accepted or enlisted foreign nations to interfere in our upcoming elections, including the next one,” Schiff wrote in a letter to colleagues on Monday, stating that “this is an urgent matter that cannot wait if we are to protect the nation’s security and the integrity of our elections”.

The House could vote before the end of the year on whether to impeach Trump, part of a process that would trigger a trial in the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, who have demonstrated cohesive loyalty to the president.


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