The House Judiciary Committee held second hearing; Democrats move for Articles of Impeachment

The House Judiciary Committee held their second impeachment hearing on Monday, December 9th. Committee lawyers for Democrats and Republicans presented the evidence for and against impeachment of President Donald Trump. Barry Berke and Daniel Goldman served as counsels for Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, respectfully. Stephen Castor represented both Committees on behalf of Republicans. The hearing started with an opening statement of House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler outlining arguments for impeaching Trump, stating multiple times that “President Trump put himself before country.” These remarks were followed by the statement of Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) who called the proceedings “a focus group impeachment.” 

Both Democrats and Republicans had the opportunity to make their cases and lay out the evidence before facing questions from House Judiciary Committee. Attorney Barry Berke laid out the case supporting impeachment, pointing out that President conducted a “trifecta,” violating all three behaviors spelled out by Founding Fathers: “They were an abuse of power, betrayal of the national interest, corruption of elections.” Stephen Castor criticized Democrats’ rush to impeach the President during his opening statement. He continued by adding that “to impeach a president who 63 million people voted for over eight lines in a call transcript is baloney.” 

After a short break, the hearing continued with Daniel Goldman’s and Stephen Castor’s presentations on the intelligence evidence gathered by both House Democrats and Republicans, respectfully. Judiciary Committee staff proceeded questioning witnesses, with Nadler and Collins having 45 minutes each for questioning counsels followed by 5-minute questioning from each member of the Committee. Both parties clashed with each other disputing the legitimacy of the disclosure of the call records by the Intelligence Committee last week. Democratic counsel Goldman answered that the release was justified as it includes “people who were involved in the investigation and who had already been subpoenaed by the committee for documents and testimony of their own.”

Republicans expressed their frustration with the absence of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), questioning Intelligence Committee Chair’s ability to back his own report. Thy put a poster of Rep. Schiff on a milk carton with a word “missing” on it during the hearing. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) denied Republicans’ request to question Schiff, stating in a letter addressed to Rep. Doug Collins that “the intelligence committee report has adduced independent evidence for its conclusions that do not rely upon the whistleblower in any way and intelligence committee counsel will be testifying as provided for by H.R. 660, and thus there is no need for Chairman Schiff.”

The House Judiciary Committee is moving forward with drafting the articles of impeachment and is expected to vote on them later this month. The Judiciary Committee Democrats gave interpretation of treason, bribery, and other “high crimes and misdemeanors” in a report issued last Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal.  However, this report doesn’t conclude whether President Trump committed an impeachable offense. The vote on the articles of impeachment in full House can be expected before Christmas as soon as the Judiciary Committee reviewed the findings of the Intelligence Committee presented today.