Nov 22, 2019

What's next for impeachment

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos via Getty Pool

After seven public hearings with 12 different witnesses, the impeachment inquiry is moving on to the next stage: a public report and a handoff to the Judiciary Committee.

What's next: House Intelligence Committee staffers have been drafting a report that they plan to deliver to the Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks that lays out their case for impeachment, two sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

  • It will also lay out their recommendations on how to proceed.
  • As of Friday morning, it was still unclear when the report will be released.
  • Republican staffers are working on a report of their own, GOP aides say, and will likely release it once Democrats publish theirs.

What we're hearing: There is a desire by some Democratic members on the Intelligence committee to continue investigating the president — with regard to Ukraine and other areas of concerns — even after the inquiry is passed over to Judiciary.

  • "There was more on our plate before Ukraine," Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told Axios. "The foreign influence into our national elections is real and it's compelling and it's frightening, so I don’t think we're going to be in a position to not oversee that kind of review moving forward."

Timing: Democratic members on the Intelligence Committee say they expect the impeachment inquiry to be handed off to Judiciary soon after Thanksgiving recess, if not immediately upon Congress' return.

  • "There haven't been any decisions made yet about next steps," a Democratic leadership aide said. "But those conversations will happen in the next few days."
  • The aide told Axios that the Judiciary Committee will at least hold a hearing addressing what they see as Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors, and that Chairman Jerry Nadler will have a significant role in the impeachment process.
  • In addition to serving on the Intelligence Committee, Democratic Reps. Eric Swalwell and Val Demings, as well as GOP Reps. Jim Jordan and John Ratcliffe, are also on the Judiciary Committee and are expected to play a lead role when the inquiry ultimately lands there.
  • There has also been discussion that some Intelligence Committee staffers — who have worked on impeachment for weeks — may be loaned to the Judiciary Committee to help expedite the proceedings.

House Democratic leadership is still hoping to wrap their role in the impeachment process by the end of 2019, but they are hesitant to lay out a distinct timeline in case key witnesses close to Trump — like his former national security advisor John Bolton — decide to comply.

  • Yes, but: Several Democratic members and their aides have made it clear they do not plan to wait for a court ruling forcing them to do so.
  • "I feel as though our work is almost done. Given the witnesses available to us," Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) said. "After this, we're all going to regroup as a committee and figure out if there are other witnesses that we have to call. But I don't suspect that unless some of those principal people agreed to come in," he added.
  • "The utility of [more hearings] has started to diminish — unless they're extraordinary witnesses with extraordinary testimony," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).

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