The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

By Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 3:57 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019
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1:34 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

Schiff does not explicitly say he supports including info from the Mueller report in articles of impeachment

From CNN's Devan Cole, Manu Raju and Chandelis Duster

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who is leading the impeachment inquiry along with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, would not say today explicitly whether he supports including information from the Mueller report in articles of impeachment, but seemed to indicate he does not.

"I can tell you as a former prosecutor it's always been you know, my strategy, in a charging decision, and an impeachment in the House is essentially a charging decision, to charge those that there's the strongest and most overwhelming evidence, and not try to charge everything even though you could charge other things," he said in interview on CBS' "Face The Nation."

Schiff later added: "I think we should focus on those issues that provide the greatest threat to the country."

12:28 p.m. ET, December 8, 2019

Schumer says McConnell hasn't been in touch over impeachment inquiry

From CNN's Anna Sturla and Kevin Bohn

Sen. Chuck Schumer called for key witnesses to testify and documents to be released in the impeachment inquiry when approached at an unrelated press conference in New York today.

Schumer also mentioned that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not been in touch with him.

"Nope, he has not. I have said to him, 'I'm ready to discuss it and when you're ready to discuss it, when you're ready come to me’ and he hasn't yet. I hope that we can come to a bipartisan agreement, and I hope we can come to allowing a full and open trial. In other words, there are key witnesses who have not testified, there are key documents that haven't come forward. I think it's only fair to the American public and to everybody that these be allowed," Schumer said.

More on the lack of testimonies: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has repeatedly called on acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and others to comply with congressional subpoenas and testify before Congress in the impeachment inquiry.

Schiff said in a statement that Mulvaney "not only has refused to testify, but actively worked to block others from complying with subpoenas, and refused to provide Congress with documents relating to Trump's suspension of Congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine."

"This is the same Mick Mulvaney who publicly admitted from the White House podium that Trump withheld the military aid in order to pressure Ukraine to conduct investigations meant to help the President's re-election campaign, and the same Mick Mulvaney who was a direct firsthand participant in and witness to the scheme," Schiff continued.
10:52 a.m. ET, December 8, 2019

House Judiciary Committee releases report ahead of Monday's hearing, laying out historical arguments for impeachment

The House Judiciary Committee yesterday released a report ahead of Monday’s impeachment hearing laying out historical arguments for impeachment. 

The report does not accuse President Trump of committing impeachable offenses, but it lays the groundwork for Mondays’ hearing, where evidence against Trump will be presented by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, as well as the possible introduction of articles of impeachment next week. 

“The Framers worst nightmare is what we are facing in this very moment,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement. “President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment. The safety and security of our nation, our democracy, and future generations hang in the balance if we do not address this misconduct. In America, no one is above the law, not even the President.”

The report is an update to the Judiciary Committee reports that were issued in 1974 and 1998 during the impeachment proceedings of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

“The earlier reports remain useful points of reference, but no longer reflect the best available learning on questions relating to presidential impeachment,” Nadler wrote in a forward introducing the report. “Further, they do not address several issues of constitutional law with particular relevance to the ongoing impeachment inquiry respecting President Donald J. Trump.”

9:14 a.m. ET, December 8, 2019

Nadler says he sees a "pattern " of conduct by Trump but won't commit to including Mueller evidence in articles of impeachment

From CNN's Kevin Bohn, Manu Raju and Ryan Stryuk

Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

With sources telling CNN a vote in the Judiciary Committee to impeach President Trump expected as soon as this week, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler today told CNN’s “State of the Union” he sees the Ukraine evidence as part of “a pattern” of conduct by President Trump.

Nadler would not commit to including the evidence of obstruction of justice included in the Mueller report as part of the articles of impeachment.

Trump has denied he obstructed justice.

He said decisions on exactly what will be included in the articles of impeachment will be made after Monday’s Judiciary Committee hearing in which evidence from the Intelligence Committee will be presented.

“We’re going to have to take a lot of considerations into account. What is the level of proof of the various allegations. How do they relate to each other? What is the level of support in our caucus and in the House for them? What we might persuade the Senate of. All of these things have to be taken into account, realizing again that the central allegation, it’s all of a pattern,” Nadler told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

But when pressed on why one would not assume the Mueller evidence being included given his statements regarding a pattern of behavior by Trump, Nadler responded “I wouldn’t draw any conclusions. It is part of the pattern.” 

The chairman said he did not have doubts about the strength of the evidence that Democrats have that prove impeachable offenses were committed and when asked if it was confident it showed the President directing some of the activities he said “yes, yes…we have a very rock solid case.” Nadler said if it was presented to a jury “it would be a guilty verdict in three minutes flat.”

8:51 a.m. ET, December 8, 2019

Former Republican lawmakers tell current GOP: Consider full evidence on impeachment

From CNN's Caroline Kelly

Two former Republican lawmakers urged their current successors to consider the evidence produced during the inquiry into President Trump's Ukraine dealings in determining whether to support impeachment.

William Cohen, a former Republican senator from Maine and secretary of defense who backed impeachment during the Watergate inquiry, and Slade Gorton, a former Washington state Republican senator and attorney general who also backed President Richard Nixon's impeachment, made the comments on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" Friday evening.

Their counsel comes on the same day that Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan independent who left the Republican Party this summer, announced that he would support impeachment articles against Trump — the first lawmaker to do so who is not a Democrat.

"I would say, listen to the witnesses," Cohen replied when asked what he thought of Republicans dismissing the probe as a sham. "Listen to the professionals who came before the Congress to swear under oath."

"You're saying that all those people who came before the committee are lying under oath," Cohen said, urging lawmakers "to go back and look at the entire spectrum from the Mueller report. There's a pattern here of (Trump) saying, 'I'm not beholden to anyone.' "

Gorton said he felt "sorry for the people who are tying themselves so heavily to the President at this point," adding that "they should be waiting to hear all of the facts."

"I think it's very easy for them to determine that the President did this, did what he's accused of," he said, adding that "it's one thing to say, we don't think that arises to the importance to take a man out of the presidential office. It's quite another to denounce it in advance when you don't know what there's going to be presented to you."

7:41 a.m. ET, December 8, 2019

3 key developments in the impeachment inquiry you need to know

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images
Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to work on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Here what's happened recently:

  • New report: On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released a report ahead of Monday’s impeachment hearing laying out the arguments for impeachment. The report does not accuse President Trump of committing impeachable offenses, but it lays the groundwork for Mondays’ hearing, where evidence against Trump will be presented by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, as well as the possible introduction of articles of impeachment next week. 
  • Witnesses requested: The ranking Republican on the committee wants House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower to testify, among others.Rep. Doug Collins wrote that the committee should call “each of the witnesses listed above to testify before this Committee to ensure a full evaluation of the facts and to cure the procedural and fairness defects injected into these proceedings by Chairman Schiff.”
  • White House responds: The White House slammed the impeachment inquiry as "completely baseless" and a "reckless abuse of power" while declining to participate in the  probe. In a letter sent by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, he claims the inquiry "has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness." While the letter does not specifically say the White House will not participate in the inquiry, a White House official tells CNN, "The letter communicates that we will not participate in this process."