LIVE Trump impeachment hearings & analysis: House Judiciary Committee takes over

Politics

WASHINGTON (WFLA) – The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump continues Wednesday.

We will be updating this story throughout the day. Check back for the latest updates at the top (all times ET):

1:15 p.m. – Republican and Democrat counsel have wrapped up their 45-minute questioning sessions. Each member of the committee will now get five minutes to question the professors.


12:30 p.m. – Break is over and the Republicans will now question the law scholars.

Professor Turley warned the committee during questioning that what they’re doing is what they’re trying to impeach the president for.

“If you impeach a president, if you make a high crime out of going to the courts, it is an abuse of power. It’s your abuse of power,” he said.


12:10 p.m. – The Judiciary Committee is taking a break in questioning after wrapping up questioning from the Democratic counsel.


11:25 a.m. – All four professors have wrapped up their opening statements. They will now be questioned by counsel for both parties.


10:45 a.m. – Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman was the first to deliver his opening statement.

“President Trump’s conduct described in the testimony and evidence clearly constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution,” he said.

Professor Pamela Karlan from Stanford went off-script in her opening statement to address Rep. Collins directly.

“I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak of these things without reviewing the facts. I’m insulted by the suggestion that because I am a law professor, I don’t care,” she told him.

Karlan went on to compare President Trump’s situation with Ukraine to living in a state prone to natural disasters.

“Imagine living in a part of Louisiana or Texas that’s prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding,” she said. “What would you think if, when your governor asked the federal government for the disaster assistance that Congress has provided, the president responded, ‘I would like you to do us a favor. I’ll meet with you and send the disaster relief once you brand my opponent a criminal.’ Wouldn’t you know in your gut that such a president had abused his office, betrayed the national interest, and tried to corrupt the electoral process?”

Professor Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina testified that, based on the evidence thus far, he believes President Trump has committed several impeachable offenses.

“The president’s defiance of Congress is all the more troubling due to the rationale he claims for his obstruction,” he said.

Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, the witness called by the Republicans, called this impeachment process wrong.

“We are all mad and where has it taken us? Will a slipshod impeachment make us less mad or will it only give an invitation for the madness to follow in every future administration? That’s why this is wrong,” he said. “This is not how you impeach an American president. For two years, members of this committee have declared that criminal and impeachable acts were established for everything from treason to conspiracy to obstruction. However, no action was taken to impeach.”


10:40 a.m. – The four law professors who have been called to appear in front of the committee have been sworn in.


10:05 a.m. – The hearing in the Judiciary Committee is underway. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) began the hearing with his opening statement.

“Never before in the history of the republic have we been forced to consider the conduct of a president who appears to have solicited personal political favors from a foreign government,” he said. “Never before has a president engaged in a course of conduct that included all of the acts that most concerned the framers.”

“The patriots who founded our country were not fearful men. They fought a war. They witnessed terrible violence. They overthrew a king,” Nadler continued. “But as they met to frame our constitution, those patriots still feared one threat above all: foreign interference in our elections.”

Ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) followed up Nadler’s opening statement with a statement of his own. Collins stated that there are no facts in the impeachment hearing, and claimed Democrats are worried about losing in the elections coming up next year.

“The clock and the calendar are what’s driving impeachment, not the facts,” Collins said.

The House Judiciary Committee is made up of 41 total members: 24 Democrats and 17 Republicans.


9:30 a.m. – The Judiciary Committee is holding its first public hearing on the impeachment inquiry Wednesday, featuring no material witnesses, but a panel of four constitutional law experts. Noah Feldman of Harvard University, Pamela S. Karlan of Stanford University, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University will explain the historical and constitutional basis of impeachment — and whether Trump’s actions justify removal.

They will likely be questioned specifically about Article Two, Section 4 of the Constitution, which states a president can be “removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Treason and bribery are well defined; high crimes and misdemeanors are less so.

The hearing will be the first impeachment inquiry hearing in the House Judiciary Committee since the passage of H. Res. 660, a resolution that lays out the process for this portion of the impeachment inquiry and extends certain privileges to the President, while the Committee considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House.

Join host J.B. Biunno and political reporter Evan Donovan beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET for a breakdown on the impeachment procedures and what you can expect in today’s public hearings.

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee released a 300-page report on Tuesday outlining evidence against President Trump, stating that he placed his political interests above national interests in his conduct toward Ukraine. However, it stops short of recommending impeachment, saying Congress will have to make that decision.

House Democrats are expected to use the document as a basis for drafting articles of impeachment.

If that happens, it will be only the third time a president has been impeached in U.S. history.

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