The House Judiciary Committee will hold an impeachment inquiry hearing on Wednesday examining if President Donald Trump’s actions warrant impeachment.
Democrats will call three law professors—Pam Karlan (Stanford), Michael Gerhardt (University of North Carolina), Noah Feldman (Harvard). Republicans will call Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University.
Even some of the most ardent impeachment activists have been worried that Chairman Jerry Nadler’s (D-NY) committee, which will also be responsible for potentially drafting the articles of impeachment, could turn more Americans against impeachment. Aware of this, Nadler on Tuesday reportedly told Democrats that he is “not going to take any sh*t” at the hearing.
Jordan Sekulow, one of Trump’s attorneys, may have said it best when he stated on Monday: “There’s nothing the American people want to hear less than a bunch of overly educated law professors give their advice.”
Pollak: Four Questions Republicans Should Ask Impeachment Experts at First Judiciary Hearing | Breitbart https://t.co/BmpaJ0gAoZ
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) December 3, 2019
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates. All times eastern.
6:35 PM: Top impeachment activist Al Green was not happy with the all-white panel of legal experts at the hearing.
.@RepAlGreen says it’s “insulting” the @HouseJudiciary committee is hearing from an all-white panel of legal experts in their impeachment hearing today. “We cannot allow ourselves to be ignored by one party and taken for granted by another.” https://t.co/lTvnLG6XCX
— Ben Wermund (@BenjaminEW) December 4, 2019
6:25 PM: Nadler gives his closing statement after saying he just received a letter requesting the minority party’s day of hearing. Nadler claims his three-part test has been met. He says Trump has committed an impeachable offense by asking the Ukrainians to intervene in elections and then obstructing the investigation. He says Trump’s impeachable offense is a “direct threat to the Constitution” and national security. Nadler also hilariously claims that his bipartisan test for impeachment has been met, citing a poll that found 50% of Americans favor impeaching Trump. Nadler says Republicans are complaining about process because “there is no factual defense of President Trump.” Nadler claims the House “must act now” because Trump believes he can do “whatever he wants.” Nadler says not even the president is “above the law.”
Hearing that likely had no impact concludes.
OOPS: Sleepy Jerry Nadler got caught dozing off as he chaired House Democrats’ #ImpeachmentHearing.😴💤
Sound on! 🔊🔊 pic.twitter.com/wvz9DhCuQC
— Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) December 4, 2019
6:15 PM: Ranking Member Collins says today has been “interesting” and says some of the law professors were even making up crimes. Collins says the witnesses testified way too early because the committee has not done its job yet by not having called fact witnesses, etc. Collins reiterates that this is about “a clock and a calendar.” He says Democrats are “so obsessed” with the election next year that they just “gloss over” everything. He points out that fact witnesses in the intelligence committee did not say Trump committed any crimes. Collins says we found out today that “facts don’t matter” unless they fit into the narrative Democrats want to promote to impeach Trump. Collins says the evidence against the president is really about “policy differences.” Collins says the committee received Schiff’s report yesterday “but we still don’t have the underlying evidence.” He says his problem is that he has a group of members who have no idea where they are headed next. He says this not the time to play “hide the ball” because this is about overturning an election. Collins says Schiff must testify about the contents of his report just like Ken Starr and history demands it. Collins wants to know when Nadler is going to schedule the minority’s hearing day and when the committee will have fact witnesses.
6:05 PM: Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) asks Feldman why the framers believed “a corrupt executive” should be impeached and “not be resolved” through the next election. Feldman says the framers realized that a corrupt executive could make the next election illegitimate by abusing his office. Escobar asks Karlan what happens if a president who sees himself above the law is not impeached. Karlan says: “We will cease to be a republic.”
6:00 PM: Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) asks the law professors whether Trump’s conduct meets the standards for impeachment that the founders laid out. She throws softballs to Karlan (foreign interference), Feldman (bribery) and Gerhardt (obstruction) to get her desired answers.
5:56 PM: Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) notes that one of his colleagues (Tlaib) called for Trump’s impeachment on the first day of Congress using more colorful language than he would use and Democrats have gone after since. He says law professors are giving lectures about their opinions and not facts. He says Republicans and Trump have not been given due process. He says the American people are smarter than the “ABCs of impeachment” that were laid out today. He says terrorists in Iraq got more due process than Republicans and Trump. He asks Nadler on what day Republicans will get a chance to call their witnesses, and Nadler will not answer Steube’s question, saying he is only recognized to ask questions to the witnesses.
5:55 PM: Karlan apologizes for her comment about Barron and says she regrets it. She says she wishes Trump would apologize for his statements.
5:51 PM: Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ) talks about Trump’s “disregard” for subpoenas. He asks Gerhardt to elaborate on how Nixon obstructed Congress and how it compares to Trump. He says Nixon failed to comply with four subpoenas and it became the basis for the third article of impeachment. In response to a question, Feldman says Trump “breaks the Constitution” by failing to cooperate in the impeachment inquiry. He claims this guarantees the president is above the law and can’t be checked.
5:47 PM: Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) also discussing Trump’s “witness intimidation.” In response to questioning, Gerhardt says Trump’s comments “intimidate” everyone else who could potentially testify. McBath says Ambassador Yovanovitch “deserves better.”
5:42 PM: Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) discussing Trump’s “intimidation” of witnesses. He says Congress has an obligation to ensure that the law is enforced against Trump.
5:38 PM: Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) now trying to establish that Trump obstructed Mueller’s investigation. Gerhardt says this would also be an impeachable offense.
5:37 PM: Rep. Mike Johnson enters Melania Trump’s tweet into the record:
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.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 4, 2019
5:31 PM: Rep. Mary Gay Stanton (D-PA) trying to establish Trump’s “pattern of behavior” regarding obstruction. Feldman says the American people are the victims of Trump’s behavior and the only remedy is impeachment. Stanton says Trump’s behavior is “deeply troubling” and “not acceptable.”
5:26 PM: Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) rips the “sham” impeachment process and misleading statements. He says the 2020 election was never mentioned in the phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine. He says these facts are “inconvenient” for Democrats and are ignored. He says Zelensky has on three occasions said he was not strong-armed. He says it took until 5 PM to speak about the supposed “victim” of the the quid pro quo, bribery, extortion. Armstrong points out Zelensky has shouted from the rooftops that he was not extorted.
Armstrong yields to Jordan, who rips Karlan for taking Trump’s supposed “royal we” out of context. Jordan says Karlan wanted her past comments to be taken in proper context but won’t give Trump the same privilege.
5:21 PM: In response to questioning from Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), Feldman says he doesn’t think the framers would have imagined a scenario in which a president did not cooperate in an impeachment investigation. Correa, like a lot of Democrats, hammering home the point that Trump is not a “monarch” and not “above the law.”
5:15 PM: Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) says this is act two of a three-part tragedy and families are turning on their televisions right now and wondering if they are watching a rerun. Cline yields to Ratcliffe so he can ask Turley a question. Ratcliffe asks Turley if Democrats are dusting off the “obstruction of justice” aspects of the Mueller Report. He asks Turley to address the “fatal flaws” of the obstruction theory. Turley says it didn’t meet clear standards. Nadler cuts him off and says time has expired.
5:10 PM: Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) hammering home the point that nobody is above the law, including the president of the United States. She points out that she was a former law enforcement office. In response to questioning, Gerhardt implies that Republicans are not getting fact witnesses because the White House is not giving up documents and preventing witnesses from testifying.
5:06 PM: Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) uses Pelosi’s past remarks about impeachment against Democrats. He says Pelosi said that impeachment should only be pursued with “overwhelming” evidence and bipartisan support. He also notes that Nadler said there should never be a narrowly-focused impeachment supported only by one party. He says this is a “sham impeachment against President Trump” and a “partisan witch hunt” that “denies due process to the president of the United States.” He says Democrats are trying to impeach Trump based on thoughts, feelings, and conjectures of unelected bureaucrats.
Turley wonders what makes for a “legitimate impeachment.” He says the impeachment process has been based on “inference” and “you can’t do it this way” when a president can potentially be removed from office.
4:59 PM: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) now up and says this is a “grave” moment for the country. She says if Congress doesn’t stand up now to a president who abuses his power, Congress is sending a message to future presidents that they can also get away with high crimes and misdemeanors.
4:55 PM: Rep. Debbie Lasko (R-AZ) using Nadler’s past comments warning against the dangers against “partisan impeachment… tearing the country apart” against him. Using Nadler’s three-pronged test, Lasko says Trump has not committed an impeachable offense. She says there is nothing here that rises to putting the country through the drama of impeachment. Lasko says Democrats have not laid out a case so clear that even the opposition would agree. She accuses Nadler and Democrats of doing the “opposite” of what Nadler said had to be done with the “partisan” impeachment process. She says Democrats are “traumatizing” the American people for partisan gains. Turley says Nadler has not met his three-pronged test.
4:50 PM: Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) now saying that Congress lets Trump get away this conduct, future presidents will be able to get away with the same conduct. Raskin says “this is a big moment for America” and if Elijiah Cummings were here, he would say: “Listen up.” He’s asking the witnesses to elaborate on how impeachment will protect the integrity of America’s elections.
4:43 PM: Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) asks the witnesses how many voted for Donald Trump. After Karlan, whose views are obvious, objects and says she doesn’t have to answer that, he asks how many supported Trump. He says violence is being done to the Constitution with this impeachment process.
4:38 PM: Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) asks Feldman why the founders chose bribery as an impeachable offense. Feldman says it was commonly used in impeachment offenses in England, and that’s why they specified it. Lieu then cites this tweet to make the case that the bribery standard has been met.
Hi, legal scholar here at Scalia Law School. Not that it matters but I’m also a Republican. The call wasn’t perfect. He committed impeachable offenses including bribery. https://t.co/AcHQUKsVJ9
— J.W. Verret (@JWVerret) December 3, 2019
4:35 PM: Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) calls out Karlan for accusing Trump of using the “royal we.” Says it is “audacious” for her to do so. He also calls out Feldman for claiming that he was an “impeachment skeptic” before the Ukrainian phone call because Feldman had claimed that “defamation by tweet” is an impeachable offense.
4:15 PM: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Karlan then get in a discussion about immigrants who have gone back to their home countries and being mocked for thinking America stands for the rule of law, democracy under Trump. Committee now in another five-minute recess.
Now @ericswalwell goes after Jonathan Turley for having defended a judge from impeachment before (who was convicted). Not relevant in any way. Swalwell just trying to foul the air in the room.#impeachment #impeachmenthearing
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) December 4, 2019
4:07 PM: Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) rips the “sham” impeachment process. He says the precedent that this kind of process is setting is dangerous.
3:57 PM: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) points out Karlan donated to Warren, Obama, Clinton. Gaetz asks Karlan about her past comments about how liberals want to cluster and conservatives want to spread out more on the “Versus Trump” podcast… Gaetz calls out Karlan for making a joke about Barron Trump… he says it makes Karlan seem “mean.” Gaetz asks the witnesses to raise their hand if they have personal knowledge about the truth or falsity of a a single material fact in Schiff’s report. Nobody raises their hand. Gaetz then talks about wiretapping and says maybe it’s a different president we should be impeaching.
Karlan also said she donated more money to Clinton because she has been giving more money to charity because of all the poor people in the United States under Trump. Huh?
DEMOCRAT “EXPERT” WITNESS EXPOSED:
.@RepMattGaetz: “You gave $1,000 to Elizabeth Warren?”
KARLAN: “I believe so”
GAETZ: “You gave $1,200 to Obama?”
KARLAN: “I have no reason to question that.”
GAETZ: “You gave $2,000 to Hillary Clinton?”
KARLAN: “That is correct.”
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) December 4, 2019
3:51 PM: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Karlan discussing Trump’s abuse of power. Karlan says Trump used the “royal we” when he asked the president of Ukraine to do “us” a favor. She says kings use “us” when they mean “me.”
3:46 PM: Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) points out that fact witnesses were called in front of the Intelligence Committee and says the process has been unfair. She says she doesn’t understand why they are holding this hearing when Democrats do not even know what the charges are going to be against Trump. Roby rips the lack of transparency and openness, pointing out the Intelligence Committee’s finalized report has still not been presented to the Judiciary Committee.
3:41 PM: Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) asks the witnesses why Trump’s withholding of military aid was an “abuse of power.” Richmond using Turley’s past quotes about “viable impeachable” offenses against him after playing a video of Turley’s remarks.
Turley, when asked by Rep. Roby (R-AL) if he wants to respond, says the abuse of power needs to proven and not just inferred.
3:35 PM: Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) commends Turley for insisting that impeachment should not conducted so quickly.
3:30 PM: Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) does not think the House is a swamp and says she was a physician’s assistant in a trauma unit. She says she would have abused her power if she asked patients for a “favor” to be moved up in line and says that’s akin to what Trump did when he asked a favor from the president of Ukraine.
3:26 PM: Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), addressing Turley, says the other law professors have “amorphous” standards for impeachment. He wonders if former President Obama could have been impeached for declaring that the Senate was in recess and making appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. Also discusses various actions by Lyndon Johnson (wiretapping), Kennedy (wiretapping, ordering his brother to deport East German Ellen Rometsch after having an affair with her)…
House Judiciary Committee
3:21 PM: Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) asks the law professors if Trump abused his power in dealing with the Ukrainians and they all, of course, agree with him that he did.
3:15 PM: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) says this is a “pre-determined impeachment done in the most unfair fashion we have ever seen.” Jordan says Democrats promised that the whistleblower would testify and changed their mind because they knew people would out the whistleblower worked with Schiff and his staff. Jordan says the reason the process has been unfair is because the facts are on Trump’s side and not the Democrats’ side.
3:10 PM: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) asks Karlan if he agrees with Turley’s “impulse buy” comment. Karlan says Congress must act now to prevent meddling in the next election. Johnson says this is a “break the glass moment” and impeachment is the only remedy.
3:05 PM: Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) says the facts are disputed and the evidence is simply “hearsay on hearsay.” He wants important fact witnesses to be called.
3:00 PM: Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) also cites treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors. He wants Feldman to elaborate further on “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Feldman repeats the definition that he has been giving throughout the hearing. He makes a distinction between a “misdemeanor” and “high misdemeanor.” Cohen asks Karlan, Gerhardt, and Feldman if Trump has sacrificed the national interest for his own. Karlan says he did when he wanted the Ukrainians to announce that they were investigating the Bidens. Gerhardt talks about obstruction of Congress.
2:55 PM: Rep. Chabot (R-OH) says the Trump-hating base has wanted impeachment as soon as Trump was elected. He says we are undertaking an “academic exercise” instead of hearing from fact witnesses like Schiff or Hunter Biden. He points out that Democrats introduced impeachment resolutions as soon as the new Congress started. Chabot calls out the “very wise” Nadler from the past for his past remarks on impeachment and says impeachment by one major party that is opposed by the other will result in the bitterness that he predicted. He says Nadler is not following his past words against partisan impeachment that tries to overturn a national election. He says he and the Democrats are doing exactly what they warned us against back then. Chabot says Nadler seems “bound and determined” to move forward with impeachment and the American people deserve better. Chabot, after saying that Democrats don’t like Trump’s tweets and the fact that Mueller’s investigation flopped, predicts Trump will be elected to a second term with the help of this “impeachment charade.”
2:50 PM: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) is now up. She speaks about her time on the Judiciary Committee in the 1990s during Clinton’s impeachment. She asks Karlan to comment on the “strength of the record.” Karlan says it is not “wafer thin” and speaks about how the record fits in to the “pattern of behavior” by the president. Jackson Lee asks about comparisons between the kings the framers were afraid of and Trump. Karlan says, contrary to what Trump claimed, Article II does not let him do whatever he wants. She says the Constitution forbids titles of nobility and says while Trump can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”
2:46 PM: Sensenbrenner cites Gerald Ford’s remark about high crimes and misdemeanors being whatever the House of Representatives says it is, and he disagrees with that, saying the House would essentially have control over the president. He says the public is getting sick and tired of impeachment because they know that less than a year from now they will be able to choose a new president or re-elect Trump.
2:45 PM: The hearing is about the resume. Nadler calls the committee back to order and Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) gets his five minutes.
1:26 PM: Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) asks Karlan how Trump’s conduct compares to Nixon. Karlan says “not favorably.” She says Nixon abused domestic law enforcement while Trump has asked a foreign country to do that. She says it’s like a “daily double.” Gephardt, when asked the same question, agrees with Karlan. He says impeachable offenses “don’t have to be criminal offenses,” and he says we are talking about “abuses of power that only a president could commit.” Lofgren says this is not a something she was looking forward to–not of “joy” but of “solemn obligation.” Nadler recesses until the conclusion of votes in the House.
1:21 PM: Collins says it is “simply malpractice” to say the founders would have found Trump guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
1:17 PM: Nadler, beginning the five-minute rounds, now asks Feldman about bribery, and Feldman says the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. He says bribery had a clear meaning in the Constitution and Trump’s actions constitute bribery under the Constitution. Karlan says Taylor never read Samuel Johnson’s definition of bribery, which she says was the crime of giving or taking rewards for “bad practices.”
1:16 PM: Nadler says this is the moment the White House would have had a chance to question the witnesses but they declined to participate.
1:08 PM: Taylor says the media had been asking numerous questions about Hunter Biden’s dealings with Burisma. Cites reports from ABC and the New York Times. Taylor says Trump simply asked the same questions the media were asking while speaking to the president of Ukraine. He says Trump’s record is “wafer thin” compared to Nixon’s and Clinton’s. He says there is a difference between requesting an investigation and a quid pro quo. He says you have the “stick the landing” and he doesn’t see “proof of a quid pro quo” regardless of his biases.
12:56 PM: Paul Taylor, the GOP’s counsel, now begins his questioning. He speaks about Hamilton’s concerns about hyper-partisan impeachments. Taylor points out that support for impeachment is coming from the most elite and coastal areas in the country. Turley says “you can’t impeach a president like this.” He says impeachment requires periods of “saturation and maturation” where the public has to catch up. He says if you rush this impeachment, “you are going to leave half the country behind.” He says this is not an “impulse-buy item” and it is not what the founders envisioned. He says the public caught up re: Nixon’s impeachment, which Turley says was the “gold standard.” Turley says Trump’s supposed crimes do not meet any reasonable definition of those crimes.
12:55 PM: Turley says you can’t say Trump is above the law and say the crimes he supposedly committed can’t be established.
12:50 PM: Collins again talking about how the “clock and the calendar” are dominating the impeachment process for Dems. He says there is not even bipartisan agreement on the facts and talks about the “exculpatory evidence” in other reports. Turley says “fast and narrow” is not good for impeachment. He says impeachment is like buildings — there needs to be a ratio between foundation/height and impeachment is the highest building.
12:46 PM: Turley says “it’s your abuse of power” if you impeach Trump “obstruction” (high crime and misdemeanor) for going to the courts.
“If you make a high crime and misdemeanor out of going to the courts. It’s an abuse of power, it’s *your* abuse of power,” Turley tells the Judiciary Committee as a pushback on the idea that Trump is obstructing Congress.
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) December 4, 2019
12:42 PM: Turley also says “obstruction” is a crime with meaning and case authority. He says “impeachments have to be based on proof” and not on “presumptions.” Turley says “fast is not good” for impeachment and says nobody has explained to him why Democrats want to set the record for the speediest impeachment. Turley says the theory is that Trump obstructed Congress by not turning over materials requested by the committee. Turley says Trump has gone to the courts and “he’s allowed to do that. We have three branches, not two.”
12:38 PM: Turley says the founders rejected a “boundless” definition of bribery. Turley says this is not “improvisational jazz” and “close enough is not good enough.” He says it is unfair to accuse someone of a crime and say the definition of that crime is invalid because this is just “impeachment.” He says if you are going to accuse Trump of bribery, you have to make it stick because you are trying to impeach and remove a president elected by the people.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 4, 2019
12:35 PM: Turley says the bribery theory is flawed. He says bribery had a meaning at the time of the founding and was “not some over-arching concept” that Schiff discussed.
— Nicholas Fouriezos (@nick4iezos) December 4, 2019
12:30 PM: Ranking Member Collins now gets 45 minutes as the hearing resumes. Collins jokes that Turley is “well rested” and asks him to elaborate on anything that he disagrees with. Collins says “this is the coldest hearing room in the world” and “this chair is terrible.” (presumably talking about the furniture)
12:09 PM: Feldman says we may meet Madison and Hamilton in the afterlife and they are going to ask “what did you do?” (when Trump corrupted the process, etc.) and the only answer is impeachment. And… after that response, the House takes a ten minute recess.
Congrats to the professors who won the Dems’ nationwide talent search for the most elitist, unhinged anti-Trump professors in America. These meltdowns based on triggered emotions, 3% of the facts & ignoring the other 97% of the story is a permanent stain on US history. Good work.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) December 4, 2019
12:04 PM: Eisen now turns to “obstruction of justice.” Gerhardt says based on the Mueller report, there are a number of facts that indicate Trump has obstructed justice.
Will Democrats expand the impeachment scope beyond Ukraine as Nadler seemed to hint in his opening statement?
12:01 PM: Eisen now turning to “obstruction of Congress.” Gerhardt says “there is more than enough” evidence to charge Trump with the “impeachable offense” of “obstruction of Congress.”
11:57 AM: Feldman says even attempting to withhold aid from Ukraine is still impeachable. He says the “attempt itself is the impeachable act.” Karlan agrees. Gerhardt says in the history of impeachment, everyone who has been impeached has failed in getting what they wanted.
11:47 AM: Eisen asks Karlan about “other high crimes and misdemeanors” that are specifically identified in the text of the Constitution. She asks “treason and bribery.” Karlan says Trump’s action establish “the high crime of bribery.” She says the meaning of “bribery” in the Constitution must be distinguished from the definition in the U.S. criminal code. She says the founders were not referring to a statute. She says the framers were thinking about bribery that was understood in the 18th century. Eisen asks Karlan if there was “Constitutional bribery,” and she says there was if they conclude that Trump asked for Biden and his son to be investigated.
Prof. Turley: “Rather than founding these allegations on clear & recognized definitions, the House has advanced a capacious & novel view of bribery to fit the limited facts.”
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) December 4, 2019
Prof. Turley: “Even if the ‘official act’ were clear, any bribery case would collapse on the current lack of evidence of a corrupt intent.”
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) December 4, 2019
11:42 AM: Karlan says the framers required a president to be a “natural-born citizen” because they were worried about foreign influence. She also brings up the Emoluments Clause and says the framers were worried that the president would use the office to enrich himself because he would be there for a short time. She also goes on about impeachment is about America not looking hypocritical re: promoting democracy worldwide and being a shining city on a hill.
Feldman says the Constitution provided for impeachment is for a situation like the one before the committee. He says the framers understood that the president would be motivated to use the power of his office to keep himself in office and gain financially from it. He says the framers “would expect the House of Representatives to take action in the form of impeachment” against Trump.
11:36 AM: Eisen asks Turley whether he wrote an article in which he stated that impeachment does not require a crime. Before Turley tries to explain, Eisen won’t let him and says it was simply a “yes or no” question. Eisen worried about what Turley would say. Turley says Eisen read his Wall Street Journal article well.
Karlan says Trump’s actions cut to the heart of the democracy and so if the House does not impeach Trump, they are basically telling him to go ahead and do it again. She says it is the committee’s responsibility to ensure that Americans vote in “fair and free elections” next fall.
11:30 AM: Feldman, Gerhardt, Karlan say Trump committed an impeachable offense by abusing his office.
11:24 AM: Nadler gets 45 minutes of questioning. Nadler asks Karlan if Trump’s actions with Ukraine endangers the right to vote. Karlan says it does. Nadler now tees up questions to Gerhardt about Trump’s obstruction. He asks Feldman why the framers believed a president should sometimes be impeached before the election. Feldman says Trump must be impeached because he used his office to gain an advantage.
Norm Eisen, the Dems’ counsel, asks Feldman what abuse of power means. Feldman talks about using his office to gain an advantage. Asked why that is impeachable conduct, Feldman says the only recourse is impeachment because the president can’t be charged criminally while in office.
Norm Eisen, who is now questioning the witnesses for the Democrats, was White House ethics counsel for Obama and then his ambassador to the Czech Republic.
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) December 4, 2019
11:21 AM: Republicans motion to get the “whistleblower” to testify. Another tedious roll call vote.
11:12 AM: Turley now giving his opening statement. Turley says he is not a supporter of Trump and did not vote for him. He says his feelings about Trump should be irrelevant to the impeachment question and that should apply for those on the committee. He says he is worried about lowering the impeachment standard and worries about “creating a dangerous precedent” for future impeachments.
George Washington University Law School Prof. Jonathan Turley: “I believe this impeachment not only fails to satisfy the standard of past impeachments, but would create a dangerous precedent for future impeachments.” https://t.co/5Pgb8iGzpR pic.twitter.com/masKIDoWnR
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 4, 2019
Turley says this impeachment would rival Johnson’s impeachment as the shortest in history. He says this would be the first impeachment in history without the establishment of evidence of a commission of a crime. Turley says we are living in the very period described by Alexander Hamilton (“agitated passions”) and everyone is mad. He says this is wrong because “this is not how you impeach an American president.” Again goes back to how this type of impeachment will create a dangerous precedent that will haunt future presidents.
11:11 AM: Gerhardt says he stands with the framers that nobody is above the law.
“No misconduct is more antithetical to our democracy, and nothing injures the American people more than a president who uses his power to weaken their authority under the Constitution as well as the authority of the Constitution itself,” he says. “If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning, and, along with that, our Constitution’s carefully crafted safeguards against the establishment of a king on American soil.”
11:01 AM: Gerhardt now giving his opening remarks. He accuses Trump of committing bribery. Says he also obstructed justice and obstructed Congress. He says the Constitution secures the principle that no man is above the law. He cites North Carolina’s James Iredell, who said that the president “is of a very different nature from a monarch. He is to be personally responsible for any abuse of the great trust placed in him.” He says Trump has attacked all of the safeguards in the Constitution preventing a “monarchy.”
UNC School of Law’s Michael Gerhardt: “The record compiled thus far shows the president has committed several impeachable offenses.” https://t.co/T7ONhXv599 #ImpeachmentHearings pic.twitter.com/LRsgiqIfLf
— ABC News (@ABC) December 4, 2019
10:58 AM: Karlan, showing her anger, with the “unprecedented” talking point. Democrats and their witnesses will try to make the case that Trump has been worse than Nixon and Clinton:
Based on the evidentiary record, what has happened in the case before you is something that I do not think we have ever seen before: a president who has doubled down on violating his oath to “faithfully execute” the laws and to “protect and defend the Constitution.” The evidence reveals a President who used the powers of his office to demand that a foreign government participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency.
10:52 AM: Karlan now giving her opening statement. She says he read the transcripts of every witness and is insulted by the suggestion that the witnesses did not. Karlan speaking about the importance of elections in the Constitution and says the framers realized that elections alone would not guarantee that the United States would remain an republic. She also builds up William Davie like Feldman and says George Mason insisted that a president who “procured his appointment in the first instance” through improper and corrupt acts should not “escape punishment, by repeating his guilt.” She says we know “that list was designed to reach a president who acts to subvert an election”– whether it is the election that brought him into office or is an upcoming election for a second term. She says the idea that a president would seek a foreign government’s help to help him get re-elected would “horrify” the founders. She says the “essence of an impeachable offense is a president’s decision to sacrifice the national interest for his own private ends.”
Pamela Karlan to Collins: “I would like to say to you sir, I read transcripts of every witness who appeared in live hearings, I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts. I am insulted by the suggestion as a law professor that I don’t care about those facts.”
— Brandi Buchman (@BBuchman_CNS) December 4, 2019
10:50 AM: Republicans trying to slow down the process with various motions. The side that does this always looks bad, as Democrats did during the Kavanaugh hearings. These people never seem to learn, though.
10:38 AM: Feldman is the first the speak. He says Trump has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” by abusing the office of the presidency. Feldman, talking about the founders and impeachment, says William Davie of North Carolina said that “if the president could not be impeached, he will spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected.” Feldman arguing “high crimes and misdemeanors” refers to a president using his office for personal advantage, to corrupt the electoral process, or compromise national security.
“President Trump’s conduct as described in the testimony and evidence clearly constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution,” Feldman says of Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine.
first witness before House Judiciary Committee, Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman opens his testimony declaring “President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency.”
— Judy Woodruff (@JudyWoodruff) December 4, 2019
10:35 AM: Nadler does not recognize Republicans before introducing and swearing in the witnesses. Nadler asks the witnesses to limit their opening statements to ten minutes.
10:32 AM: Collins puts forth a motion requiring Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to testify. Now we have our first tedious roll call vote. Motion to table is agreed to along partisan lines.
10:30 AM: Collins says Democrats have a “deep-seated hatred” for a man who came to the White House and did what he said he was going to do. He says this will be “one of the first impeachments” in which the facts are disputed. “This is not an impeachment. This is simply a railroad job,” Collins says. He says the impeachment process began with “tears in Brooklyn” in 2016 when the election was lost.
“What a start of a party,” Collins says, referring to the four law professors.
10:20 AM: Ranking Member Collins now starting his opening statement. Collins says there’s nothing new and this is the “same sad story.” Collins says Nadler talked about impeachment before he was even sworn in as chairman. “This is sad,” he continues.
Collins says this impeachment inquiry “is not about facts” and says Democrats “are already drafting articles. Don’t be fooled.”
Collins says the “clock and the calendar” are driving the impeachment inquiry. He says they want to do it before the end of the year (because they are scared of the elections next year).
“Don’t tell me this is about new evidence and new things and new stuff” — Doug Collins dismisses the entire impeachment inquiry as just being about Democrats just not liking Trump. pic.twitter.com/y22x4QLlVA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 4, 2019
Collins says that Americans will realize why most of them did not go to law school after listening to these Constitutional experts. He reiterates that there are no fact witnesses today. He says he has no idea what they are doing for the next two weeks without fact witnesses.
“What a disgrace to this committee,” he says. “To have the committee of impeachment simply take from other entities and rubber stamp it.”
10:19 AM: Nadler says today’s witness panel will discuss whether Trump has committed treason, bribery, or high crimes or misdemeanors. Nadler says the House must act “swiftly” if Trump has committed impeachable offenses.
10:15 AM: Nadler says “the storm in which we find ourselves today was set in motion by President Trump.”
“I do not wish this moment on the country,” he continues. “But we have each taken an oath to protect the Constitution, and the facts before us.” are clear.”
10:12 AM: Nadler accuses Trump of welcoming foreign interference in the 2016 and demanding it for the 2020 election. He says Trump got caught both times. Nadler says former President Bill Clinton “physically gave his blood” while Trump has ordered witnesses not to testify.
Jerry Nadler’s record:
– Campaigned for Judiciary chairman saying he’s best for impeachment
– Voted to impeach the President back in July
– Told CNN the evidence is “damning” before hearings began
This isn’t about the truth. He’s wanted to impeach @realDonaldTrump for months.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) December 4, 2019
10:09 AM: Nadler begins his opening statement and claims the facts are “undisputed.” He accuses Trump of withholding”vital military aid” from Ukraine and covering up his efforts and engaging in “extraordinary and unprecedented” steps to obstruct the investigation. Nadler setting up the case for Democrats to argue that Trump is worse than Nixon.
Nadler has 3 times, by my count, said Trump’s efforts to fight subpoenas and cover up his actions are “unprecedented.” Criticizes Trump for directing witnesses not to testify, threatening some.
It’s clear Dems will make the obstruction as impeachment-worthy as the act itself.
— Nicholas Fouriezos (@nick4iezos) December 4, 2019
Nadler opening statement refers to “the president and his men.” Invoking Watergate-like language. #ImpeachmentHearing
— Fred Lucas (@FredLucasWH) December 4, 2019
10:07 AM: Nadler is about the start the hearing.
— Lynn Sweet (@lynnsweet) December 4, 2019
9:50 AM: Karlan donated $1,000 to Warren. Look for the media to build up Gerhardt after today’s hearing as a more “unbiased” witness.
Today’s impeachment “expert witness” is an Elizabeth Warren donor. Totally rigged! https://t.co/jHdBhtRtFr
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) December 4, 2019
“There must never be a narrowly-voted impeachment or an impeachment substantially supported by one of our major political parties and largely opposed by the other.”
“Such an impeachment would lack legitimacy.”
Good point, Chairman Nadler. pic.twitter.com/wlrxXb2Aji
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) December 4, 2019
9:35 AM: House Dems in private meeting. Pelosi reportedly would not commit to a timeline.
House Democrats meeting to be briefed on the House Intel report. No staff are allowed in the meeting and members’ phones are being confiscated before entering @haleytalbotnbc reports
— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) December 4, 2019
House Dem caucus impeachment meeting being held now is a bit unusual. The usual door where members arrive is closed, forcing members to walk around to a different entrance. This is being done presumably to prevent any reporters from seeing inside the usual door where we camp out.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 4, 2019
Pelosi also was similarly mum in meetings with Dems tonight. She would not say in private if she backs impeaching Trump, telling her colleagues that a decision hasn’t been made, would consult with her committee chairs, and not committing to a timeline for impeachment, per sources
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 4, 2019
Ranking Member Collins:
At Wednesday’s hearing in the #JudiciaryCommittee, we will hear from ZERO fact witnesses.
In fact, there’s no indication our committee will EVER hear from fact witnesses.
This is an incredible disservice to the millions of Americans who elected @realDonaldTrump.
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) December 3, 2019