Trump impeachment case laid out by House Democrats
A committee vote is coming on two or more articles of impeachment on charges of abuse of power, bribery and obstruction against Donald Trump.
The House Judiciary Committee has received a detailed summing up of the impeachment case against US President Donald Trump.
Lawyers for House Democrats outlined their findings so far, saying Mr Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate rival Joe Biden while at the same time withholding US military aid contradicted US policy and benefited Russia as well as himself.
Republicans then offered their rebuttal, saying the evidence does not support the allegations and instead is “riddled with hearsay, presumptions and speculation”.
A committee vote is coming, possibly as soon as this week, on two or more articles of impeachment on charges of abuse of power, bribery and obstruction against the Republican president.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2019
The Do Nothing Democrats are a disgrace! https://t.co/BlaAqsiw8z
Mr Trump quickly began tweeting about the “Witch Hunt!” and deriding “Do Nothing Democrats”.
Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler was blunt as he opened the hearing, saying: “President Trump put himself before country.”
The top Republican on the panel, representative Doug Collins said Democrats are racing to jam impeachment through on a “clock and a calendar” ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
“They can’t get over the fact that Donald Trump is the president of the United States and they don’t have a candidate that can beat him,” Mr Collins said.
The hearing sets off a pivotal week as Democrats march towards a full vote in the House of Representatives expected by Christmas.
Mr Nadler said the case against Mr Trump is clear after “multiple officials testified that the president’s demand for an investigation into his rivals was a part of his personal, political agenda, and not related to the foreign policy objectives of the United States”.
He said: “The integrity of our next election is at stake.”
— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudiciary) December 9, 2019
The Republicans tried numerous times to halt or slow the proceedings, formally objecting several times that the committee’s Democratic counsel was impugning Mr Trump as he spelled out potential charges.
Mr Nadler responded that negative comments about Mr Trump might well be expected in listing reasons to impeach him. The Republicans demanded roll call votes several times, including on “taking down” the negative comments, all defeated on party-line votes.
Republicans were also demanding to hear from representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, whose 300-page report provides the foundation for articles of impeachment. Mr Schiff declined to appear, sending the panel’s chief counsel to argue the case.
The hearing was briefly interrupted by a protester shouting “We voted for Donald Trump!” and decrying Democrats as the ones committing “treason”. The protester was escorted from the House hearing room by police.