Updated Dec 4, 2019

House Judiciary Committee tees up likely articles of impeachment

Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler signaled at today's televised hearing that the committee is broadening the scope of the impeachment inquiry to include Robert Mueller's findings.

Driving the news ... Democrats displayed three impeachable offenses on the screens in the room: Abuse of power and bribery, obstruction of Congress, and obstruction of justice.

Why it matters: This is the clearest sign yet that these could be the articles of impeachment ultimately drafted by the committee.

The big picture: Outside of a few tense exchanges, the hearing hasn't had the fire of the pre-Thanksgiving witnesses.

  • Some Republicans looked bored throughout the hearing.
  • Lawmakers' questions, as in the case of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), were often to cast doubt on witnesses' credibility with insinuations about their partisan motives. [Updated]

Today's agenda: Legal professors walked the panel through whether the evidence gathered in the impeachment inquiry so far meets the historical definition of impeachment.

The Democratic witnesses:

  • Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan: "Everything I know ... tells me that when President Trump invited — indeed, demanded — foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this country the 'republic' to which we pledge allegiance."
  • Harvard law professor Noah Feldman: "President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency."
  • UNC-Chapel Hill law professor Michael Gerhardt: "The president’s serious misconduct ... are worse than the misconduct of any prior president."

The Republican witness:

  • George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley: "[O]ne can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous."

Watch:

Go deeper

Legal scholars called by Democrats say Trump has committed impeachable offenses

The three constitutional scholars that Democrats called to testify in the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday were "unanimous" in their assessments that President Trump committed impeachable offenses in his dealings with Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 4, 2019

Legal scholar: If Trump's Ukraine dealings are not impeachable, nothing is

Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, said at the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing on Wednesday that if President Trump's dealings with Ukraine are not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

GOP's legal scholar suggests Democrats are abusing power with rushed impeachment

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University and the sole Republican witness at Wednesday's impeachment hearing, cautioned against impeaching President Trump for obstruction and said that Democrats would be abusing their power by not allowing the courts to rule on subpoenas.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019