Next phase in Trump impeachment inquiry begins

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6:33 p.m. ET, December 4, 2019

The hearing is over. Here's what happens next in the impeachment proceedings.

Saul Loeb/Pool/AP
Saul Loeb/Pool/AP

As soon as tonight, we should expect the House Judiciary Committee to announce a future hearing for next week. That is expected to include testimony from Democratic and GOP staff attorneys on the House Intelligence Committee presenting the findings of their investigations.

Under the rules, the committee can schedule a hearing within 24 hours. 

The White House has a Friday deadline to decide about whether to participate in that or future hearings. We will see what they do.

Here's what we're expecting in the weeks ahead:

  • Next week: A staff counsel hearing. (We don't when it will happen.) And there could be votes on articles of impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee. That committee vote could be more than one day. The exact timing could change on the vote if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides to hit the brakes. 
  • The week of Dec. 16: Potential votes on the House floor on articles of impeachment. Again, the timing could change depending on Pelosi's actions. 

One thing to note: While we don't know when the articles of impeachment will be introduced, it’s clear what they are considering:

  1. Abuse of power and bribery
  2. Obstruction of Justice
  3. Obstruction of Congress 

6:33 p.m. ET, December 4, 2019

Nadler: "President Trump placed his own personal and political interests above our national interests"

Pool
Pool

Chairman Jerry Nadler used his closing statement to admonish President Trump for putting "his own personal and political interests above our national interests."

Nadler claims that because the President asked a "foreign government to intervene in our elections, then got caught, then obstructed the investigators twice," impeachment is the only way to address these actions.

"President Trump placed his own personal and political interests above our national interests, above the security of our country, and most importantly above our most precious right, the ability of each and every one of us to participate in fair elections, free of corruption. The constitution has a solution for a president who places his personal or political interests above those in the nation, the power of impeachment," Nadler said.

6:27 p.m. ET, December 4, 2019

Collins: It was "too early" to hold this hearing

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, used his closing statement to criticize the speed at which Democrats are moving forward with the impeachment inquiry.

“They’re so obsessed with the election next year, they just gloss over things," Collins said. This mirrors comments he made in his opening remarks, in which he said "the clock and the calendar" were driving the inquiry.

Collins praised the witnesses, but said it was "too early" to hold this kind of hearing, as the Judiciary Committee has not talked to parties with knowledge of the allegations.

"As much as I respect those who came before today, this is way too early. We have not, as a committee, done our job," he said. "We're taking the work of the Intel committee and the other committees, we're taking it seemingly at face value."
6:15 p.m. ET, December 4, 2019

The questioning part of today's hearing just wrapped

All the question rounds of today's Judiciary Committee hearing are now finished.

The Democratic and Republican leaders each got 45 minutes to ask questions (or ask questions through their lawyers), and then every member of the committee got 5 minutes.

Chair Jerry Nadler and Ranking Member Doug Collins will now give their closing statements.

6:18 p.m. ET, December 4, 2019

Pamela Karlan apologizes for her remarks about Barron Trump: "It was wrong of me to do that"

Pool
Pool

Constitutional law expert Pamela Karlan apologized for the comments she made about Barron Trump, the President's son.

"I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the President's son. It was wrong of me to do that. I wish the President would apologize for the things he's said wrong but I do regret having said that," Karlan said.

Earlier in the hearing: Karlan mentioned the President's son when she was talking about the framers of the US Constitution and how they were worried that a monarchy could prevail in the US. During her testimony, she said, "The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So while the president can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron." 

First lady Melania Trump also reacted to the remarks on Twitter saying, "A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it."  

Watch here:

6:16 p.m. ET, December 4, 2019

Pence on Barron Trump comment: "Impeachment hearings today reached a new low"

Vice President Mike Pence addressed comments about Barron Trump made by constitutional law expert Pamela Karlan at today's hearing:

"The impeachment hearings today reached a new low," Pence told reporters in Michigan today. "I just heard at the hearing today, one of the Democrats witnesses actually used the President and first lady's 13-year-old son to justify their partisan impeachment. Democrats should be ashamed. Enough is enough. This sham impeachment should end, and congress should get back to work on issues that are important to the American people." 

What Karlan said: She mentioned the President's son when she was talking about the framers of the US Constitution and how they were worried that a monarchy could prevail in the US. During her testimony, she said, "The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So while the president can name his son Barron, he can't make him a baron." 

First lady Melania Trump also reacted to the remarks on Twitter saying, "A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it."  

Moments ago, Karlan apologized for her remarks.

Watch here:

6:09 p.m. ET, December 4, 2019

News about Rudy Giuliani broke during this hearing. Here's what you need to know.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images/FILE
Drew Angerer/Getty Images/FILE

While the House Judiciary Committee holds its first impeachment inquiry hearing, news broke that President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani traveled to Ukraine and Hungary this week to meet with several former Ukrainian prosecutors.

The trip was an effort effort to defend President Trump against House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, The New York Times reported today.

The Times, citing conversations with people familiar with the matter, said the President's personal attorney went to Budapest, Hungary, yesterday to meet with former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, before going to Kyiv, Ukraine, today to meet with a number of other former prosecutors in the country, including Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn H. Kulyk.  

What Giuliani is saying: CNN asked Giuliani about the New York Times story.

He avoided answering the question and instead commented on the Democratic impeachment report, which shows logs of calls between himself and budget office. 

 “[I] don’t remember calling OMB and not about military aid never knew anything about it,” he texted. 

He added: “I’m not the fall guy. I have all the evidence any fair prosecutor would need to show a major Pay for Play In Obama administration. Let’s see if we are still a nation of laws."

Giuliani wouldn't confirm he is in Ukraine and said he can’t discuss what he is doing but will soon.

Earlier today, Giuliani’s spokeswoman, Christianné Allen, gave CNN this statement:

“What Mr. Giuliani is doing at this point is still confidential and is for the sole purpose of proving his clients innocence. In doing so he will prove that this latest farce is even more baseless and malicious than the first attempted coup takedown. Once all individuals have returned safely to the United States, we will reveal the significant witnesses involved."
5:48 p.m. ET, December 4, 2019

Demings claims the President "is desperate to prevent any investigation into his wrongdoing"

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Rep. Val Demings, a Democrat from Florida, called President Trump a man "desperate to prevent any investigation into his wrongdoing."

Demings specifically referenced the White House's refusal to cooperate with subpoenas issued in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

"He has prevented key White House officials from testifying. The President's obstruction of Congress is pervasive. Since the House began its investigation, the White House has produced zero subpoenaed documents," Demings said. "We are facing a categorically blockade by a President who is desperate to prevent any investigation into his wrongdoing."

Watch here:

5:23 p.m. ET, December 4, 2019

A GOP representative listed a series of bad actions by past presidents. Here's what know about them.

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado, presented a unique argument in today's House Judiciary Committee hearing: Plenty of other presidents engaged in impeachable conduct who were never impeached.

Addressing the Republican witness, law professor Jonathan Turley, Buck asked a series of rhetorical questions about bad actions by past presidents, from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama, that he argued rose to the level of impeachable based on the standards set by Democratic members.

Here’s a brief list of some of the arguably impeachable actions Buck listed:

“Lyndon Johnson directed the Central Intelligence Agency to place a spy in Barry Goldwater’s campaign.”

  • The facts of this claim are in some dispute, but reporting out of the Senate Watergate committee in 1973 was that E. Howard Hunt, one of Richard Nixon’s infamous “plumbers” who plotted the Watergate burglary, told investigators he also spied on the 1964 Goldwater presidential campaign on behalf of Johnson’s White House. Hunt was a CIA employee at the time. In 1975, CIA director William Colby testified to Congress that spying on Goldwater’s campaign did take place but attributed the idea to a CIA officer.

“Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when he was president, directed the IRS to conduct audits of his political enemies. Namely Huey Long, William Randolph Hearst, Hamilton Fish, Father Coughlin.”

  • There is evidence Roosevelt did use the IRS to investigate a number of his political opponents, some of whom were listed here by Buck.

“How about when President Kennedy directed his brother Robert Kennedy to deport one of his mistresses as an east German spy?”

  • Ellen Rometsch was thought to be an East Germany spy when she was deported by John F. Kennedy’s Justice Department, headed by his brother Robert Kennedy, in 1963. There were also allegations she was a girlfriend of JFK, but that’s never been proven and Rometsch reportedly denied being both a spy and a Kennedy mistress.

“When Barack Obama directed, or made a finding that the Senate was in recess and appointed people to the National Labor Relations Board and lost 9-0, Ruth Bader Ginsburg voted against the President on this issue, would that be an abuse of power?”

  • Obama’s 2012 recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were controversial at the time because the Senate had not recessed for long enough. Republicans argued the appointments were unconstitutional. The case made it to the Supreme Court after the DC Circuit Court ruled against Obama. The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

"How about when the President directed his national security adviser and the secretary of state to lie to the American people about whether the ambassador to Libya was murdered as a result of a video or was murdered as a result of a terrorist act?”

  • This refers to the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. There is a dispute about why Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, publicly stated the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an inflammatory anti-Muslim online video when others in the administration had concluded the attack had been premeditated. There’s no evidence Obama directed Rice and Clinton to lie.

“How about when Abraham Lincoln arrested legislators in Maryland so they wouldn't convene to secede from the Union?”

  • Federal troops did have orders to arrest pro-Confederate members of Maryland’s General Assembly during a special session in 1861 to consider secession, according to the Maryland state archives.