Congress

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 3

Court sides with House committees over Trump’s financial records, Trump issues threat over impeachment from NATO summit

President Donald Trump is seen during his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in London on Tuesday. NATO leaders gathered for a summit to mark the alliance's 70th anniversary. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

House Intelligence Committee Democrats Tuesday laid out the case for impeaching President Donald Trump for withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for Kyiv investigating his political rival, and for obstructing the House’s probe.

The report, released Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee, provides findings after weeks of private and public testimony from career bureaucrats and Trump appointees.

[Intelligence Committee details ‘overwhelming’ evidence of Trump misconduct]

The preface of the report says Trump “subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign.”

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham was quick to strike back at the report in a statement, accusing it of failing “to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump.”

Here is the latest on the impeachment inquiry:

Senate trial process: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated Tuesday that it was too early to answer questions about the specific floor process for a Senate impeachment trial. He told reporters that there are three realistic paths for proceeding if articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump arrive from the House.

“Sen. Schumer and I could work out an agreement on what the procedure would be in the Senate. Failing that 51 senators of any particular persuasion could work out a procedure for handling it,” the Republican from Kentucky said. “That failing my suspicion is if we don’t work out the procedure in advance at a minimum we would probably go forward with the House presenting the case, the president’s lawyers presenting the argument and then a series of motions could be made if the Chief Justice handles it the way Chief Justice Rehnquist did all of those would be submitted to the body and voted on.”

Trump threat: Trump warned House Democrats against moving forward with their impeachment inquiry, predicting congressional Republicans likely will do the same to the next Democratic chief executive.

“They have to be careful, because when the shoe’s on the other foot … they’ll do the same thing because someone picked an orange out of a refrigerator and you don’t like it,” he said in London. “That’s not how our country works.”

Ratings bomb: Trump, a former reality television personality who often appears obsessed with TV ratings, predicted “no one is going to watch” the Judiciary Committee’s first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

He said he has no intention to tune in because he will be busy with the second day of the NATO meeting.

“These people are deranged,” he said of House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic members.

“Impeachment obsession”: Republican members of the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler accusing Democrats’ “obsession” with impeaching Trump of getting in the way of addressing pending legislation that would offer solutions to “real problems affecting real Americans.”

“Under your leadership, bipartisan solutions to real problems affecting real Americans have been sacrificed in favor of Committee Democrats’ obsession with impeaching the president and undoing the 2016 election,” the minority members wrote, citing prescription drug prices, mass violence and domestic terrorism, the opioid crisis, election security, intellectual property theft, and a guest farm worker bill, among others.

“This has happened because Democrats, beholden to a radical base, are determined to impeach the president, no matter the cost and by any means necessary. This irresponsible, reckless behavior threatens to undermine the very credibility of this House,” they wrote.

Court backs House investigation: A federal appeals court sided Tuesday with House committees over Trump in a fight over congressional subpoenas for financial records of the president and his business from Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial Corporation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan ordered “prompt compliance with the subpoenas,” although Trump is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court as he has in other fights over House subpoenas.

NATO summit: Trump said Tuesday that House Democrats’ impeachment probe does not give him a weaker hand in talks with other world leaders during a NATO summit in London. But he acknowledged it leaves a black cloud hanging over his talks there.

Additionally, he dubbed the inquiry an unpatriotic “hoax” and said again it will hurt Democrats come Election Day.

“It’s having a reverse effect, which some people thought it might have. I didn’t know. But I can tell you the districts where I won, and then they had an election in between mine, they had an election and other people got in, Democrats got in, those districts are leaning very big toward me,” Trump contended during a lengthy question-and-answer session in the British capital.

“It’s really having a tremendous impact and a lot of Democrats, I hear, are very upset,” he claimed, not naming specific lawmakers. “They just got back from their districts and I hear they’re very upset. The impeachment witch hunt, it’s really just a continuation of the hoax that’s been taking place for the last three years, and I think you know that.”

Censure smackdown: Amid scuttlebutt in Washington that House Democrats could opt to a censure vote rather than on articles of impeachment, Trump called that possible alternative “unacceptable” because “I did nothing wrong.”

Like he has contended over impeachment, the president told reporters “you don’t censure somebody when they did nothing wrong.”

Prebuttal: House Republicans on the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels released a 123-page staff report Monday panning the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as “an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system.”

The GOP members said evidence presented during the fact-finding stage of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry “does not prove” Democrats’ allegations that Trump abused his authority to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden to benefit his 2020 election by leveraging a White House meeting and the release of U.S. security assistance.

The Republican report was released ahead of a draft report on evidence gathered so far in the impeachment inquiry was given to committee members Monday evening.

The committee will hold a business meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday to consider and adopt the report, the official said. The report, along with any minority views, will then be forwarded to the Judiciary Committee.

Witness list: The Judiciary Committee on Monday announced the four academic witnesses testifying at its hearing on the constitutional grounds for impeaching a president: Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School, Pamela S. Karlan of Stanford Law School, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina School of Law, and Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University Law School.

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