WASHINGTON: The House Judiciary Committee received a detailed summing up of the impeachment case against President Donald Trump on Monday as Democrats prepare formal charges against him. Trump and his allies lobbed fresh assaults on the proceedings they dismiss as a hoax and a sham.
Democratic lawyers outlined the findings so far, saying Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate rival Joe Biden while at the same time withholding US military aid ran counter to US policy and benefited Russia as well as himself. A committee vote is coming, possibly as soon as this week, on two or more articles of impeachment on charges of abuse of power, bribery and obstruction against the Republican president.
Trump quickly began tweeting anew against the Witch Hunt! and deriding Do Nothing Democrats.” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler was blunt as he opened the hearing, saying, President Trump put himself before country.
The top Republican on the panel, Rep. Doug Collins said Democrats are racing to jam impeachment through on a clock and a calendar ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
They can’t get over the fact that Donald Trump is the president of the United States and they don’t have a candidate that can beat him,” Collins said.
The Republicans tried numerous times to halt or slow the proceedings, formally objecting several times that the committee’s Democratic counsel was impugning Trump as he spelled out potential charges. Nadler responded that negative comments about Trump might well be expected in listing reasons to impeach him. The Republicans still demanded votes on taking down the negative comments, defeated on party-line votes.
The hearing was briefly interrupted by a protester shouting We voted for Donald Trump! and decrying Democrats as the ones committing treason. The protester was escorted from the House hearing room by Capitol Police.
The hearing sets off a pivotal week as Democrats march towards a full House vote expected by Christmas. In drafting the articles of impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019