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Dems Push Impeachment Case to Judiciary Level, Trump Blasts 'Deranged' Schiff

12-04-2019
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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, responds to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif, the ranking member, right, as the panel holds the first public impeachment hearings of President Trump (AP photo)
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, responds to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif, the ranking member, right, as the panel holds the first public impeachment hearings of President Trump (AP photo)

The House Judiciary Committee is launching hearings today to decide if the charges in the Intelligence Committee's report rise to the level of impeachable offenses.

Legal and constitutional experts are taking the stand to discuss constitutional grounds for impeachment.

"This is the result of a president who believes that he is beyond indictment, beyond impeachment, beyond any form of accountability and indeed above the law," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) claimed in a press conference.

On Tuesday, the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release a 300-page report on its investigation into alleged misconduct by President Trump in regard to Ukraine.

The report accuses the president of putting his personal, political interests above national interests and obstructing justice by forbidding White House aides to testify.

"This is not about Ukraine. This is about our democracy. This is about our national security," Schiff said.

The president responded from the NATO Summit in London.

"I think Adam Schiff is a deranged human being. I think he grew up with a complex for lots of reasons that are obvious. I think he is a very sick man," Trump told the media.

Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Chief of Staff Milk Mulvaney are also implicated in the report, accused of being complicit in the president's push to withhold military aid from Ukraine for political purposes.

In a press conference virtually ignored by the media, Republicans released a report of their own, pointing out that the impeachment inquiry did not meet Speaker Pelosi's criteria of compelling, overwhelming and bi-partisan. 

"They have one big problem and the problem is that the president did nothing wrong," said Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee. "And they can't prove it."

Now Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will try to make their case that Trump's conduct constitutes grounds for impeachment. Then they'll officially draft the articles of impeachment. 

The lone GOP witness in the Judiciary Committee hearings is 
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. Politico reports Turley believes the case is flimsy and that it would be a historic mistake for Democrats to impeach Trump with such little evidence.
 
"If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president," Turley says.

The full House is expected to vote on the articles before Christmas. If approved, there would be a Senate trial.

President Trump said he's willing to let his closest advisers testify in a Senate trial, where he says the process will be fair, unlike what he calls the 'sham' process in the House.

Trump's approval ratings have stayed pretty locked in and voter's opinions haven't changed since the start of the hearings: 47 percent support removing Trump while 43 percent are opposed.

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