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Politics Clash expected at House Judiciary briefing on report about Trump's dealings with Ukraine - impeachment latest

10:40  09 december  2019
10:40  09 december  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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WASHINGTON – Another partisan clash in the House impeachment inquiry is expected Monday as the Judiciary Committee receives a briefing about two reports: one report from three other panels that found President Donald Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election, and another about the constitutional basis for impeachment.

A confrontation is anticipated because the Intelligence Committee will walk lawmakers through the 300-page report on Trump's conduct in Ukraine.

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Lawyers for the Judiciary Committee will give opening arguments, and the Democrats are expected to discuss a 55-page report released Saturday by the Democratic staff of the Committee about the historical precedent and legal questions surrounding impeachment. 

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Republican response 

Republicans have called on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., himself to answer questions.

The focus on Schiff is because the anonymous whistleblower, who sparked the inquiry about Ukraine, asked Schiff's staff how to file a complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community. But Schiff has said he doesn't know who the whistleblower is and didn't help draft the complaint.

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The whistleblower filed a complaint Aug. 12 about Trump's July 25 call urging Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

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Schiff told reporters the House rules adopted for the inquiry called for staffers to present the report. He dismissed Republican arguments for ignoring "voluminous evidence" that Trump abused the power of his office. "In so doing, the president undermined our national security and the integrity of our elections," Schiff said.

If the House adopts articles of impeachment against Trump, the president said in a tweet Thursday he would like to question Schiff and Biden, among others, during the Senate trial.

The Judiciary Committee briefing sets up another partisan confrontation, like the hearing on Dec. 4 with law professors defining the grounds for impeachment, where lawmakers of each party ask witnesses to confirm information that bolster their own side.

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The Ukraine report

The Democratic investigation from the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform committees found that Trump withheld official acts such as a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in military aid in order to compel Ukraine to deliver two investigations to help his reelection campaign in 2020.

"This report chronicles a scheme by the president of the United States to coerce an ally, Ukraine, that is at war with an adversary, Russia, into doing the president's political dirty work," Schiff said. "We do not intend to delay when the integrity of the next election is at risk."

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But Stephanie Grisham, a White House spokeswoman, said the report was the result of "a one-sided sham process."

"Chairman Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing," Grisham said.

Republicans from the three panels drafted their own minority report defending Trump. Trump has said he was justified in urging Ukraine to fight corruption and Republicans noted the president met with Zelensky and released the military aid without Ukraine beginning any investigations.

“The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” the GOP report said. "The fundamental disagreement apparent in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is a difference of world views and a discomfort with President Trump’s policy decisions."

How the hearing will work 

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., will give first opening statements. 

Two lawyers for the Judiciary Committee, Barry Berke for the Democrats, and Stephen Castor for the Republicans, will present first, for up to one hour divided between the two. 

Then, lawyers for the Intelligence Committee, Daniel Goldman for the Democrats, and Stephen Castor for the Republicans, will present for up to 90 minutes divided between the two lawyers.

Following questioning from Nadler and Collins, the Intelligence Committee lawyers will then take questions from the 41 members of the Judiciary Committee. 

Goldman and Castor previously played a prominent role in both parties' questioning during the Intelligence Committee's public hearings with impeachment inquiry witnesses.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Clash expected at House Judiciary briefing on report about Trump's dealings with Ukraine - impeachment latest

With Trump impeachment vote imminent, president traveling to Battle Creek, Mich., to rally the faithful .
President Trump on Wednesday will be far away from Capitol Hill as the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives prepares to impeach him.Instead, the president will be on friendly turf in downtown Battle Creek, Mich., hosting a rally that may rank among his most defiant — a marked contrast from the approach of former President Bill Clinton, who mostly stayed under the radar during his own impeachment proceedings in 1998.

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