Democrats wrapped up the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings and could soon potentially be drafting four articles of impeachment against President Trump.
As the final day of public hearings this week concluded with heated testimony from former National Security Council aide Fiona Hill and David Holmes, a U.S. State Department official in Ukraine, House Judiciary Committee Democrats could soon draw up impeachment charges of abuse of power, bribery, contempt of Congress and obstruction of justice, according to Fox News.
Republican senators and Trump administration officials meeting at the White House on Thursday agreed that the Senate should move ahead with holding a full trial if the House votes to impeach the president. Recent reports have indicated that the GOP-controlled Senate could potentially disrupt the 2020 presidential primaries with a drawn-out trial which would directly affect the campaigning by Democrat candidates like Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who sent the State Department a request for documents on the Bidens and other Obama administration officials, spoke with Fox News following the meeting between top Republican senators and White House officials.
“I think most everybody agreed there’s not 51 votes to dismiss it before the managers get to call their case,” the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said. “The idea you would dismiss the trial before they presented the cases is a non-starter. You’re not going to get a motion to dismiss.”
No additional hearings are planned as the nation heads into Thanksgiving week but the possibility exists that the House Intelligence Committee could still schedule some. And the House Judiciary Committee could also hold hearings of its own if prompted by any reports from the Intelligence Committee which heard from 12 witnesses over five days.
The Judiciary Committee could also just move ahead and draft articles of impeachment by next month and prompt a full House vote closer to the Christmas holiday break. Former President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House just before Christmas in 1998 and in January 1999, the Senate began its trial.
Graham noted after Thursday’s huddle with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone that “we didn’t talk about” how to build a case to “defend the president,” but said the discussion focused on “how would the trial start — you know, they’ll make a request for witnesses, but that would have to be granted by the Senate, I guess that’s the way we did it before.”
“My preference was to try to follow the Clinton model as much as possible,” the South Carolina Republican added.
According to Fox News:
In the Senate, impeachment procedures would allow witnesses to be called by the president’s defense lawyers, GOP senators and a team of House Democrats who essentially would serve as prosecutors. The big catch: Republicans would need enough votes from the 53 GOP senators to muster a majority and prevent Democrats from blocking them.
Assuming Republican senators would stay united — not a guarantee — Trump’s defenders could try refocusing the inquiry by seeking testimony from people like Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
The White House and State Department refused to comply with subpoenas by House Democrats who now have a choice to move forward with what they have been able to obtain in hearings or take the fight to court to obtain documents and testimony from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former national security adviser John Bolton.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not in favor of being “at the mercy” of the court system.
“They keep taking it to court and no, we’re not going to wait until the courts decide,” Pelosi said Thursday. “That might be information that’s available to the Senate in terms of how far we go and when we go, but we can’t wait for that because again it’s a technique. It’s obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress, so we cannot let their further obstruction of Congress be an impediment to our honoring our oath of office.”
Republicans, meanwhile, have signaled that they would still like to question the whistleblower whose complaint against Trump about his July phone call with the Ukrainian president sparked the impeachment inquiry. They could potentially call for testimony from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
“When this goes over to the Senate, you know, the people that actually started this thing, they are going to be put on the stand,” the president’s son, Eric Trump, told reporters Thursday, adding that this includes “heads of the Democratic Party.”
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