Vote moves impeachment proceedings to next phase with Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday

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US President Donald Trump attends the plenary session of the NATO summit at the Grove hotel in Watford, northeast of London on December 4, 2019. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines Tuesday night to approve a 300-page report summarizing weeks of investigation, which it will send to the House Judiciary Committee as that panel considers moving forward on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the “constitutional grounds for Presidential impeachment,” with a panel of expert witnesses testifying.

Norm Eisen, a consultant hired by the Judiciary Committee earlier this year, will lead staff questioning for Democrats at the hearing, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry.

The judiciary hearings are following the same format as the Intelligence Committee hearings: Staff counsel will get as much as 45 minutes to question witnesses. Wednesday’s hearing includes four constitutional scholars who are testifying for the first Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 10 am ET. Watch live on FOX8 or on MyFOX8.com.

House Intelligence Committee approves report alleging ‘overwhelming’ misconduct

House Intelligence Committee Democrats say evidence of President Donald Trump’s misconduct and obstruction of Congress is “overwhelming,” in a new report released Tuesday detailing the allegations against the President involving Ukraine.

The 300-page report sets the stage for the impeachment of a US president for just the third time in history. The report stops short of outright recommending impeachment, saying that is a decision for Congress to ultimately make.

“The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage,” the report says. “In doing so, the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the US presidential election process, and endangered US national security.”

The report from the House Intelligence Committee makes the Democrats’ case for impeachment, weaving a narrative about Trump’s handling of Ukraine, including with exhibits and phone logs.

The report also compares Trump’s lack of cooperation with Congress with the cooperation in past administrations to argue that this President has engaged in unprecedented stonewalling. “Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began,” the report says.

The committee’s report serves as the backbone of the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings against the President. The committee is expected to vote to approve it on Tuesday evening to send it to the House Judiciary Committee, where it is expected to serve as the basis of articles of impeachment that would be drafted by that panel in the coming days.

Republicans on Monday released their report ahead of the Democrats, a document that fully defended the President’s actions on Ukraine, and they accused Democrats of rushing to impeach the President without any evidence that Trump did anything wrong.

The Democratic report is based largely on the 17 witness interviews that were conducted over the past several months, including 12 at two weeks of public hearings, with testimony that detailed a lengthy effort spearheaded by the President’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to oust the US ambassador to Ukraine and then push Kiev to announce investigations into the President’s political rivals.

The report’s findings on both Ukraine and obstruction of Congress are expected to be included in the articles of impeachment.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Monday that the report “outlines in considerable detail a scheme that began actually well before the recall of Ambassador (Marie) Yovanovitch, and was designed to further two political objectives of the President, which is an investigation into Joe Biden and an investigation into this debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine that interfered in the last election, not Russia — notwithstanding all of our intelligence agencies concluding it was Russia, notwithstanding the fact that it’s actually Putin’s narrative that Ukraine did it, not us.”

Schiff added: “The President believed obviously this would help his reelection campaign, and he was willing to use the full force of his office to leverage Ukraine to do these sham investigations.”

The vote on the Intelligence Committee report signals a shift in the impeachment process from that committee to the Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary panel, chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, is holding its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday with legal experts.

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