Republicans take an unambiguous approach, saying they believe Trump didn’t do anything wrong when he held up military aid to Ukraine and asked that nation to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter. That strategy comes even though some Republican lawmakers said Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Democrats was wrong, and witnesses who did Trump’s bidding on Ukraine said they disagreed with what was happening.
Democratic impeachment investigators release their report on alleged wrongdoing by Trump. The investigation “uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election,” it reads. Translation: They seem ready to impeach Trump soon over allegations that he abused his power, bribed Ukraine, compromised national security and obstructed Congress’s inquiry.
The report breaks some news by sharing call records that could more directly link Trump to the people advocating for political quid pro quos with Ukraine.
As the political pressure campaign on Ukraine was going on, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, made more than a dozen calls to the White House, and to a mysterious number listed as “-1” that could be Trump’s personal cell. We don’t know what was said on the calls. But besides being a potential spying bonanza for Russians, the calls make it more difficult for Trump to argue he had nothing to do with Giuliani’s efforts to pressure Ukraine in exchange for an Oval Office meeting between Trump and the Ukrainian president.
The House panel tasked with writing up articles of impeachment, the Judiciary Committee, holds its first hearing, which is a constitutional debate about what merits impeachment. Three law scholars picked by Democrats argue that what Trump is accused of is the definition of impeachable, while the scholar picked by Republicans (who said he did not vote for Trump) cautions that Democrats are moving too fast and could have a stronger case if they waited for more evidence.
“Everything I know about our Constitution and its values, and my review of the evidentiary record, tells me that when President Trump invited, indeed, demanded foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this country to which we pledge allegiance,” says Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan.
“If we cannot impeach a president who abuses his office for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy. We live in a monarchy, or we live under a dictatorship,” says Harvard law professor Noah Feldman.
“But if you rush this impeachment, you’re going to leave half the country behind. And certainly that’s not what the framers wanted,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley counters.
In that hearing, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold E. Nadler (D-N.Y.) suggests his committee could wrap in more than just Ukraine allegations, such as the allegations in the Mueller report that Trump’s campaign welcomed Russia’s help and Trump tried to block that investigation.
“Are you ready?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asks her Democratic colleagues in a meeting before the hearings start. She is reportedly met with cheers.
Meanwhile, Vice President Pence tells House Republicans in a closed-door meeting to keep up the work defending Trump and to “turn up the heat” on Democrats trying to impeach him.
The Washington Post reports the White House is ready to pivot from stonewalling Democrats’ impeachment investigation to putting together an aggressive defense when it comes to a Senate trial in January.
It’s official: The House is moving from an impeachment inquiry into actual impeachment of Trump. “I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Pelosi says in an address to the nation. The unofficial timeline is to vote to impeach Trump by Christmas so Democrats can have this off their plate before it’s officially an election year.
The Judiciary Committee announces a hearing on Monday. Democratic impeachment investigators will present their findings from the impeachment inquiry to the committee.
“Don’t mess with me,” an angry Pelosi says in response to a reporter who shouted, “Do you hate the president?” at the end of her news conference. She says she disagrees with the president but prays for him regularly.
Trump tweets that he wants to call Democrats like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Pelosi, Joe Biden and the anonymous whistleblower as witnesses in the Senate trial. Some notable Senate Republicans push back on the notion they will make their trial that political.
.....trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business. We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019
As an impeachment vote looms in the House, there is little sign of defections among Republicans. The top Republican on the impeachment committee, Rep. Douglas A. Collins (Ga.), tells NPR that he can’t think of anything Trump did wrong with regard to Ukraine, let alone anything that is impeachable.
More than 500 legal scholars from law schools across the country sign a letter saying Trump engaged in “impeachable conduct.” Meanwhile, some Republican committee chairmen said they are investigating whether Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, with an intent to prove Trump’s conspiracy theory was rooted in some fact. The federal government’s entire intelligence apparatus has said it was Russia, not Ukraine, that boldly tried to influence the 2016 election.
Democratic senators running for president start making contingency plans for how they’ll campaign for Iowa’s crucial Feb. 3 caucus when they will likely be stuck in Washington for most of January for the Senate’s impeachment trial.
“The impeachment inquiry is completely baseless,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone writes to Democrats in a letter Friday, the deadline Democrats gave him to decide whether Trump’s lawyers will participate in any more hearings.
So we guess that’s a “no” on participating in Monday’s hearing.
You’re reading an edition of The 5-Minute Fix impeachment newsletter. Sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday.