Ted Lieu

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 11
Judiciary Committee to take up articles tonight, vote expected Thursday

Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes her way to a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday to announce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump with committee chairs who helped draft them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Judiciary Committee began marking up articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening and is expected to vote on them Thursday.

In his opening statement, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler addressed why impeaching Trump was warranted when a presidential election is less than a year away. 

Democrats to punish Trump for obstructing Congress. What about top employees?
House has not gone to court to enforce subpoenas in Ukraine probe, unclear if they’ll take other action

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is among the administration officials who have defied congressional subpoenas. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats plan to punish President Donald Trump for blocking witness testimony and document production with an obstruction of Congress article of impeachment, but it’s unclear if the witnesses themselves who did not show up to testify will ever face any repercussions.

As part of the investigation into allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals, lawmakers deposed 17 current and former executive branch employees willing to comply with subpoenas despite orders from the White House not to.

Republicans breeze past security protocols, occupy secure impeachment area
Cell phones in secure spaces and committee sit-in raises House Ethics questions

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., at podium, speaks during a news conference outside the Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, deposition related to the House’s impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. The Republican members were calling for access to the deposition. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Defying established security protocols, a cadre of House Republicans led by Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Matt Gaetz stormed the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the Capitol Visitor Center on Wednesday, where the top Pentagon official overseeing U.S. policy in Ukraine was giving her deposition for the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Hours into a standoff between frustrated Republicans and Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry, a handful of GOP members remained sitting in the SCIF, refusing to leave.

Impeachment inquiry likely to move faster than House lawsuits, making some moot
Intelligence Committee may not go to court if administration stonewalls its subpoenas

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff plans to remain in Washington through part of the break to schedule hearings and witness interviews and potentially prepare subpoenas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats expect their impeachment inquiry to outpace ongoing court cases that were once seen as critical to their investigations into President Donald Trump.

That means some of those lawsuits — teed up as major separation-of-powers battles between the House and the Trump administration — could fizzle out or end up being dropped.

Democrats focusing impeachment inquiry on Trump pressuring Ukraine
With pivot from obstruction and corruption, Intelligence Committee steps into impeachment case spotlight

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., conducts a news conference in the Capitol regarding the transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President  Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. (Tom William/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are focusing their impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, shifting the investigatory spotlight from the Judiciary Committee to the Intelligence Committee and providing a singular focus on which they can make the case for impeachment to the public.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Tuesday announcement that she has directed the six House committees investigating Trump to proceed under the “umbrella” of an “official impeachment inquiry” led to some confusion about what had changed, given that the Judiciary Committee had been conducting an impeachment investigation for months.

Crime or ‘high crime?’ Trump’s Ukraine call spurs legal debate
At heart of dispute is when does seeking foreign assistance in an election cross the line

Attorney General William Barr testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in May. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department sparked fresh debate Wednesday about when seeking foreign assistance in an election becomes a federal crime, with officials deciding President Donald Trump did not cross a legal line in his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy now at the center of a Democratic push toward impeachment.

The department said its review of the call — in which Trump asked Ukraine to “do us a favor” and talk to his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr about opening a potential corruption investigation connected to Trump’s main political rival — did not find a “thing of value” that could be quantified as campaign finance law requires.

Not much changes with 'official' impeachment inquiry, for now
Pelosi appears to double down on approach that has fallen short of raising public support

Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks with her Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hamill past the Sir Winston Churchill bust as she exits the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement Tuesday that the House is in an “official impeachment inquiry” gave no hints of how or whether it would accelerate any Democratic effort to remove President Donald Trump from office.

Pelosi said she directed the six House committees conducting oversight of the Trump administration to move forward “under that umbrella” of an impeachment inquiry — but gave no details about how the day-to-day approach would differ.

Member lapel pins out, necklaces in, say women in Congress
Fashion sense, practicality cited as reasons for growing trend

Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says people are noticing female lawmakers wearing their member pins as necklace pendants because there are more women in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While big jewelry and bold statement chains made headlines last week during New York Fashion Week, an increasing number of women in the House are starting a fashion trend of their own: wearing their member pins as a necklace pendant.

Traditionally, the House member pin, given out to lawmakers to distinguish them from staffers and visitors, is worn pierced through fabric as its menswear name suggests — on a suit lapel. While members are not required to wear them, the pins can be an easy way for the Capitol Police to identify the freshman class of lawmakers each Congress — or perhaps some of the more obscure members of the House.

Democrats still not working off same playbook on impeachment
Mixed messages abound about whether Judiciary is in an impeachment inquiry and where it’s headed

House Judiciary member David Ciccilline says Thursday’s resolution aims to identify what the Democrats are doing and will give “some additional authority to the chairman and to counsel.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are struggling to speak with one voice about impeachment, as members returned to Washington this week with mixed messages about whether the Judiciary Committee is already engaged in an impeachment inquiry and where that investigation is headed. 

Judiciary Democrats almost uniformly agree that their panel’s expanding investigation into President Donald Trump’s alleged crimes and abuse of power is an impeachment inquiry. Any disagreement about that definition that may exist among those two dozen members will likely be brought to light Thursday as the committee marks up a resolution defining procedures for its investigation.

Photos of the Week: Stewart smirks, Stevens at rest and Mueller milieu
The week of July 26 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by at the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday. The Senate voted 97-2 later in the day to pass HR 1327 — a bill that would authorize funding for 9/11 first responders to be compensated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was a week for the history books on Capitol Hill. 

Washingtonians said goodbye to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who died July 16 at age 99. Many on the Hill smirked at Jon Stewart’s now-famous smirk and, of course, the nation mulled over the Robert S. Mueller III hearings in the House.