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Gaetz says Giuliani’s trip to Ukraine is ‘weird’

Lawmakers answered questions Dec. 8 on the impeachment probe of President Trump and the House Judiciary Committee hearing expected to take place the next day. (Video: The Washington Post)
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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a close ally of President Trump, broke from him Sunday to express concern that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, traveled to Ukraine as House Democrats are poised to move ahead on Trump’s impeachment.

“It’s weird that he’s over there,” Gaetz said on ABC News’s “This Week.” “It would seem odd having him over there at this time.”

The rare rebuke from the congressman came as the House Judiciary Committee, on which he sits, is working to draft articles of impeachment against Trump that it could vote on as soon as this week. Democrats on the panel are wrestling with how broad those charges should be and how quickly they should move, even as lawmakers continue to debate developments in the scandal, including Giuliani’s presence in Ukraine.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said he saw nothing wrong with Giuliani’s trip. “If he is finding something that is inappropriate, should he bring that to Congress? Yes,” Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” a reference to unproven allegations against former vice president Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate. “I don’t know of any role that Rudy Giuliani is playing on behalf of the president of the United States. I think he’s over there as a citizen. … He is the president’s personal attorney, but I don’t know that he’s over there on the president’s direction. In fact, I would suggest that he’s not.”

Trump said Saturday that he did not know what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine but that he “has a lot of good information” he would detail in a report to the Justice Department and Congress. “I have not spoken to him about that information yet,” Trump said. “I hear he has found plenty.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in an interview with NBC News’s “Meet the Press” that the panel would consider articles of impeachment “presumably” this week.

He would not say whether he favors including a charge that Trump obstructed the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

On the White House lawn Dec. 7, President Trump said his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani will "make a report ... to the attorney general and to Congress." (Video: The Washington Post)

Nadler, in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said evidence of the president’s attempts to derail the investigation fit a “pattern” of behavior. But he also said it is important for Democrats to move quickly, because Trump “poses a threat to the integrity of the next election.” And he said Democrats have built a “solid” case that, if presented to a jury, would return a “guilty verdict in about three minutes flat.”

Jeff Stein contributed to this report.