Monday, 9 December, 2019
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US Judiciary Committee taking up impeachment hearings next week



us-judiciary-committee-taking-up-impeachment-hearings-next-week

AP
Washington, Nov : 28

The House Judiciary Committee is set to take over the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, scheduling a hearing for next week as they push closer to a possible vote on actual charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The Judiciary panel scheduled the hearing as the separate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released two last transcripts from its depositions, including 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 Dec. 4, the day after lawmakers 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, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that his panel’s hearing will “explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct.”
Democrats are aiming for a final House vote by Christmas, which would set the stage for a likely Senate trial in January.
Trump, meanwhile, tried to put distance between himself and Giuliani in a radio interview Tuesday. Asked by host Bill O’Reilly what Giuliani was doing on his behalf in Ukraine, Trump said, “I don’t even know,” adding that Giuliani had canceled one trip and had other clients as well.
Asked directly if he had directed Giuliani to go to Ukraine on his behalf, Trump said, “No.”
In a phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25, Trump had said several times he would have Giuliani contact Zelenskiy. “Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy,” Trump said to Zelenskiy, according to a rough transcript released by the White House.
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 Republican 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 would attend, as Trump is scheduled to be overseas on Dec. 4 for a summit with NATO allies outside London — a split screen showing leadership that Trump’s allies might find favorable. The Judiciary panel gave the White House until Sunday evening to decide whether Trump or his lawyers would attend.
If Democrats stay on schedule, the committee will introduce articles of impeachment, debate them and then hold a vote, a process that could take several days.

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