House Judiciary Committee sets Dec. 4 impeachment hearing

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee is set to take over the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump next week, scheduling a Dec. 4 hearing on the question of “high crimes and misdemeanours” set out in the Constitution.

The opening hearing will feature legal experts who will examine the constitutional grounds as the Judiciary panel decides whether to write articles of impeachment against Trump — and if so what those articles will be.

Democrats are aiming for a final House vote by Christmas, which would set the stage for a likely Senate trial in January.

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.”

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee will be submitting the report on its probe into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has said his committee will finish that report “soon after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess.” The panel held two weeks of impeachment hearings this month examining Trump’s requests for Ukraine to investigate Democrats as the U.S. withheld military aid to the country.

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 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 will attend, as Trump is scheduled to be overseas on Dec. 4 to participate in a summit with NATO allies outside London — a split screen showing leadership that Trump’s allies may find favourable. The Judiciary panel gave the White House until the evening of Dec. 1 to decide whether Trump or his lawyers would attend.

If Democrats stay on schedule, the hearing could come as the committee introduces articles of impeachment and then holds a vote, a process that could take several days. If the committee approves articles by the end of the second week of December, the House could hold an impeachment vote the third week of the month just before leaving for the holidays.

The charges are expected to mostly focus on Ukraine. Democrats are considering an overall “abuse of power” article against Trump, which could be broken into categories such as bribery or extortion. That article would centre on the Democrats’ assertion, based on witness testimony, that Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine into politically motivated investigations.

Democrats are also expected to include an article on obstruction of Congress that outlines Trump’s instructions to officials in his administration to defy subpoenas for documents or testimony.

Though several government officials called by Democrats co-operated with the committee, several key witnesses — including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former National Security Adviser John Bolton — refused, following Trump’s orders.

Lastly, Democrats could include an obstruction of justice article based on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report released earlier this year. Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump on that point, essentially leaving the matter up to Congress.

When and if the House approves articles of impeachment, the Republican-controlled Senate would be expected to hold a trial in early 2020. Unless political dynamics change drastically, Trump would have the backing of majority Republicans in that chamber and be acquitted.

It’s still unclear how long a trial might last, what it would look like and who might be called as witnesses.

While the matter remains in the House, Schiff said in a letter to his colleagues on Monday that his committee “will continue with our investigative work” and could still hold depositions or hearings. But Schiff said it will not prolong a fight to obtain documents or testimony in court.

“The president has accepted or enlisted foreign nations to interfere in our upcoming elections, including the next one,” Schiff said in the letter. “This is an urgent matter that cannot wait if we are to protect the nation’s security and the integrity of our elections.”

Though the investigative hearings are over, Democrats are continuing to release new information. On Tuesday, the House Budget Committee said that the White House Budget Office had given investigators documentation that the first official hold on military aid to Ukraine was signed on the evening of July 25, just hours after Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democrats, including former Vice-President Joe Biden and his family, on a phone call.

Revelations about that phone call triggered the impeachment inquiry in September as the White House released a rough transcript of the conversation.

The House Budget Committee said a career budget official signed the July 25 letter, which delayed the Ukraine aid through Aug. 5, but that subsequent “apportionment” letters were signed by a political appointee, Michael Duffey, who retained responsibility for the account through the Sept. 30 end of the 2019 budget year.

Duffey defied a House impeachment probe subpoena to testify.

___

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

Mary Clare Jalonick And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press

Impeachment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cilantro and Chive was voted in the top three in no less than 13 different categories in the 2020 Best of Lacombe Readers Choice Awards. Photo by Megan Roth/Lacombe Express
Cilantro and Chive opening in Red Deer

There will now be two Cilantro and Chive locations. The restaurant announced… Continue reading

People wear face masks as they wait to enter a store in Montreal on October 24, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canadian provinces hardest hit by COVID-19 reach sobering milestones

MONTREAL — The Canadian provinces hardest hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal study details workers hit hardest by tax, benefit system for extra earnings

OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Finance Department officials calculated that workers… Continue reading

Cenovus. (The Canadian Press)
Cenovus to buy Husky Energy in deal valued at $23.6B, company will remain in Alberta

CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. is buying Husky Energy Inc. in an… Continue reading

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 10:49… Continue reading

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
John Horgan says he will work across party lines to find ideas that work for B.C.

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s election results show a divided province with Liberal… Continue reading

President Donald Trump gestures from the top of the steps of Air Force 1 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. When people in the United States talk about moving to Canada to escape four more years of Donald Trump, it’s usually either a punchline or a pipe dream. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Walsh
Move to Canada? A pipe dream for some Americans is a parachute for Canadian expats

WASHINGTON, Wash. — When people in the United States talk about moving… Continue reading

The Cogeco logo is seen in Montreal on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially facing higher taxes as the possibility of a contested U.S. presidential election appears to be fading, say investment experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Patrick Semansky
Markets concerns about contested U.S. election fading with Biden lead in polls

TORONTO — Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially… Continue reading

(File photo)
Ontario records more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for first time

Ontario is reporting more than 1,000 mew daily cases of COVID-19 for… Continue reading

Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope names 13 new cardinals, includes US Archbishop Gregory

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including… Continue reading

Dave Mercer, President of Unifor Local 2121, overlooks Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Terra Nova floating production vessel that is anchored there on Friday, October 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
As N.L.’s oil industry sputters, the emotional toll of the cod moratorium looms large

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Dave Mercer spent the early 1990s roaming around… Continue reading

Most Read