U.S. Democrats set the stage for Trump impeachment with key hearing

What are the Constitutional grounds for impeachment

Adam Schiff first witness for House Judiciary Committee Republicans, Doug Collins says

The White House said Sunday that it would not participate in the first political trial hearings before the House Judicial Committee while the Democrats were preparing to approve a report justifying the removal of President Donald Trump.

The House Judiciary Committee will then hold its first hearing on Wednesday to consider articles of impeachment, with a panel of expert witnesses testifying.

The Trump side was invited to attend the hearing.

Mr. Schiff is slated to release his report late Monday and give members 24 hours to look at it before a vote that sends it to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who would draft articles of impeachment.

President Trump will be in London for the upcoming North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit at the time of the hearing, which was cited by Cipollone among other things to question the fairness of the impeachment along with other factors.

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Republicans on the Intelligence committee are expected to produce their own report on the investigation, which is likely to reiterate the complaints that GOP lawmakers have made since the inquiry began - that the process was unfair and did not provide the president or his legal team to respond to allegations.

The House Intelligence Committee concluded its public hearings prior to the Thanksgiving recess after it heard testimony from a series of current and former Trump administration officials and has spent the Thanksgiving recess drafting a report of its findings.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler announced last week that the panel would hold its first hearing on Trump's impeachment this Wednesday.

McClintock said it is understandable that President Trump "is upset at the illegitimate process that we saw unfold in the Intelligence Committee", calling the impeachment inquiry a "quasi-judicial proceeding".

The Democrats, he says, have no respect for due process, they won't let Republicans call witnesses or have lawyers, they only act in secret, and they won't let Trump defend himself.

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Democrats have been looking into the Republican president's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden, a former Democratic vice president who is seeking his party's nomination to face Trump in the 2020 presidential election, and his son Hunter Biden, who was a board member of a Ukrainian energy company. "President Trump has always been concerned about foreign aid".

Mr Cipollone lambasted Mr Nadler's claim that the process was "consistent" with historical impeachment inquiries, arguing that President Bill Clinton had a fairer hearing in 1998.

Collins tried to turn the tables on Democrats, saying Republicans want Schiff, the House impeachment manager, to testify. "The evidence does not support the accusation that President Trump covered up the summary of his phone conversation with President Zelensky".

Schiff hasn't commented on whether he would refuse to testify if called to do so, but said Republicans would show a "fundamental lack of seriousness" if they subpoenaed him. And I will just say this, they do so at their own peril.

"I think once the vote is taken by Congress to impeach him and he's wearing the "I" on his chest, you're going to see that movement grow even more".

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"The unfortunate collateral damage of the Democrats' impeachment inquiry is the harm done to bilateral U.S. -Ukraine relations, the fulfillment of Russian President Vladimir Putin's desire to sow discoed within the United States, and the opportunity costs to the American people", the report states. Reaching that tally would require 20 Republicans to side with Democrats and vote to remove Trump from office.

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