Trump Faces Two Impeachment Deadlines as Inquiry Shifts Focus

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. President Donald Trump faced two deadlines in Congress on Sunday as Democrats prepared to shift the focus of their impeachment inquiry from fact-finding to the consideration of possible charges of misconduct over his dealings with Ukraine.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, tasked with considering charges known as articles of impeachment, has given the president until 6 p.m. EST (2300 GMT) on Sunday to say whether he or his legal counsel will participate in an impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

The hearing, the first in a series of proceedings expected before the committee, will hear testimony on the impeachment process established under the U.S. Constitution from a panel of legal experts that has yet to be named.

Hearings before the committee, which has responsibility for crafting any formal charges against Trump, are a major step toward possible charges. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will make the final decision, has not said yet whether the Republican president should be formally impeached. But in a letter to supporters last week, she called for him to be held accountable for his actions.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the impeachment inquiry a witch hunt aimed at unseating a democratically elected president. The White House has not yet indicated whether it will take part in the House Judiciary proceedings.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has also set a 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT) deadline on Friday for Trump to say whether he intends to mount a defense at further proceedings expected next week that would examine the evidence against him.

Three investigating panels, led by the House Intelligence Committee, are due to release a formal evidence report this week after lawmakers return to Congress on Tuesday from their Thanksgiving recess. The report will outline evidence gathered by lawmakers on the panel, along with those on the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees.

Congressional investigators have been looking into whether Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations of former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, who is running to unseat him in the 2020 presidential election, and a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The president and his Republican allies in Congress say the inquiry has been unfair, because it did not allow the White House to have legal counsel present or call witnesses during weeks of closed-door testimony and open hearings before the House Intelligence Committee.

However, Republican lawmakers were able to question witnesses during the closed door hearings and called three witnesses during the public hearings that wrapped up last week.

“The president may well look at this, or his counsel may well look at this, and say: Why would we want to get in here and legitimize this process, when it was made illegitimate at the beginning by shutting us out?” said Republican Representative Tom Cole.

The House Judiciary Committee could vote on whether to recommend articles of impeachment within the next two weeks, setting the stage of a possible impeachment vote by the full House before Christmas, according to Democratic aides.

If the House impeaches Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate would hold a trial to determine whether he should be convicted and removed from office.

(Reporting by David Morgan, editing by Ross Colvin and Marguerita Choy)

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Cherl
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Phyllis….So just who would these defenders of the Constitution be….according to you, of course? Oh please say Schiff and Pelosi. That would be precious.
Being obsessed ( or perhaps abscessed would be more appropriate) about impeachment as President Trump was being sworn in is NOT defending anything but their own interests. And perhaps their cushy lifetime jobs.

General Confusion
Member

“You still have ZERO proof that President Trump has done anything wrong except in your own mind?.” Bob Bob seems confused not knowing whether he is asking a question or making a statement. That doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, for him. Be that as it may, you are wrong, too. KDTL admitted at least twice that he wanted foreign nations to assist his own re-election. Once in the partial transcript of the July 25th phone call, and once in front of the press (chopper talk). King Donald The Loser provides HIS OWN PROOF HIMSELF, thank you very much, so… Read more »

Patty Dougherty
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Patty Dougherty

How much of our taxpayer money is being wasted on this crap!? That’s what I would like to know

Bob
Member

Fist of all syphilis President Trump has not put our national security at risk. That belongs to you demonrat/communist turds who have leaked information about everything secret that the media has picked up. You still have ZERO proof that President Trump has done anything wrong except in your own mind?. Second, third, fourth and even fifth hand information does NOT prove anything in a court of law just in your own teeny, tiny little single cell brains of which that cell doesn’t work. It is about time that we put our foot down on these countries that take our money… Read more »

Friend
Member

This is such a joke! How much will the “shifty shiff” cost us” First attempt was an illegal no due process attemp, and now what dark ally are you turning into? TRUMP IN 2020! Let the business man do his job without your shifty politics!

Cherl
Member

So Nadler’s back? Where has he been hiding? And where’s Nancy? On her way to Europe with an entourage to talk about global warming. And they took a plane? What’s wrong with that picture? Hypocrites.
These half witted Democrats throw out demands as if they have any power. Fingers crossed that President Trump watches their 5pm deadline come….and go with no response.

Dave Hardesty
Member

Want a really bloody civil war? Impeach Trump and remove him from office. There is no conclusive evidence other than hear-say third and fourth hand comments offered as sworn testimony that the president has done anything wrong. It’s a witch hunt. A sham. A kangaroo court no different than the trial that allowed our Christ to be crucified. It’s only a dog and pony show to get weak minded low information voters to support the socialism, one world government offered by Democrats at the next presidential election.

Janette Lewis
Guest
Janette Lewis

This impeachment is a sham and a disgrace to our country. Trump has not committed any wrong action for them to impeachment him. They will pay dearly in NOv. 8, 2020. People are waking up to the continue lies and deceptions the Demo RATs are doing. I do not like any comments by air heads like Robert Redford and Robert De nior.

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