Chairman Jerry Nadler closed his opening statement by pushing back against some Republicans’ argument that Democrats should postpone the impeachment investigation, given that the 2020 election is less than a year away.
“We cannot wait for the election to address the present crisis,” Nadler said at the start of his panel’s first public impeachment hearing. “The integrity of that election is one of the very things at stake.”
Chairman Jerry Nadler pointed to the report from special counsel Robert Mueller, which outlines Trump’s obstruction of his investigation, to argue there is “precedent for recommending impeachment here.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, the storm in which we find ourselves today was set in motion by President Trump,” Nadler said in his opening statement. “I do not wish this moment on the country. But we have each taken an oath to protect the Constitution, and the facts before us are clear.”
Chairman Jerry Nadler used his opening statement to outline the accusations against Trump and criticize the president for not cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.
Nadler noted the two other modern presidents who have faced impeachment — Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton — turned over considerable evidence to congressional investigators. “President Trump, by contrast, has refused to produce a single document and directed every witness not to testify,” Nadler said.
Chairman Jerry Nadler could not even begin his opening statement before he was interrupted twice by Republican members of the House judiciary committee raising procedural questions. Viewers of the hearing can expect a lot of those motions from the minority today.
House judiciary committee’s first impeachment hearing begins
Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House judiciary committee, has gaveled in his panel’s first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry — which will feature testimony from legal experts on the constitutional standard for impeaching a president.
The first public impeachment hearing conducted by the House judiciary committee is set to get underway in just a few minutes, but House Democrats are simultaneously meeting to discuss next steps in the inquiry.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi enforced unusually strict rules for members entering the meeting, not even allowing staffers to attend.
Trump’s abrupt decision to cancel his press conference at the end of the Nato summit prompted surprise and frustration from the reporters gathered in London to pose questions to the president.
Meanwhile, over on Capitol Hill, Republicans on the House judiciary committee are following the example of their intelligence committee counterparts by displaying signs disparaging the impeachment inquiry.
Trump cancels press conference after being apparently mocked for comments to reporters
Trump has just announced that he will depart the Nato summit in London today without holding his press conference, which was scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m. ET.
While taking questions from reporters this morning, Trump had suggested he may cancel the scheduled press conference, but more details were not immediately available from the White House.
Now the president has confrmed he will not be holding the press conference after talking to reporters for more than two hours yesterday. But the abrupt decision may have less to do with his lengthy comments yesterday and more so to do with his fellow foreign leaders appearing to mock him yesterday for his rambling press conferences.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied that he, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were mocking Trump yesterday when they were caught on a hot mic joking about someone’s late appearance at an event due to a long press conference.
Follow the Guardian’s UK politics live blog for more updates from Jonhson’s press conference at the Nato summit.
Today’s impeachment hearing conducted by the House judiciary committee will feature testimony from four law professors — Noah Feldman from Harvard University, Michael Gerhardt from the University of North Carolina, Pamela S. Karlan from Stanford University and Jonathan Turley from George Washington University.
The opening statements from the four witnesses were released this morning, and they feature some drastically varying interpretations of the president’s actions, as described during last month’s hearings conducted by the House intelligence committee.
“If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning, and, along with that, our Constitution’s carefully crafted safeguards against the establishment of a king on American soil,” Gerhardt intends to say. “No one, not even the president, is beyond the reach of our Constitution and our laws.”
But Turley, the only witnesses called by Republicans on the House judiciary committee, argues in his opening statement that a Trump impeachment could set a dangerous precedent.
“I get it. You are mad. The President is mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My Republican friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog is mad . . . and Luna is a golden doodle and they are never mad,” Turley intends to say. “We are all mad and where has it taken us? Will a slipshod impeachment make us less mad or will it only give an invitation for the madness to follow in every future administration?”
Trump calls Trudeau ‘two-faced’ after hot mic comments
As the House judiciary committee prepares to hold its first public impeachment hearing, Trump continues to insult world leaders at the Nato summit in London.
The US president called Justin Trudeau “two-faced” after the Canadian prime minister was caught on video apparently mocking Trump for his long press conferences. (Trump spoke to reporters for more than two hours yesterday between three different appearances.)
“Well, he’s two-faced,” Trump said when asked about the comments by a reporter. But he quickly added, “And with Trudeau, he’s a nice guy. I find him to be a nice guy, but the truth is, I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2%, and I guess he’s not very happy about it.” During his press conference with Trudeau yesterday, Trump urged Canada to contribute more toward Nato defense spending.
In the original video, Trudeau is heard joking to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron, “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.” Trudeau doesn’t explicitly say Trump’s name, but it seemed to be a clear reference to the US president, given his multiple press conferences yesterday.
House judiciary committee to hold its first public impeachment hearing
Good morning, live blog readers!
We are about an hour away from the next public hearing in the impeachment inquiry, the first to be held by the House judiciary committee. The hearing will feature testimony from a panel of legal experts on the constitutional standard for impeaching a president.
There is almost 0% chance of any major bombshells coming out of this hearing, unlike last month’s hearings conducted by the House intelligence committee. These witnesses will not be providing new details about the Ukraine controversy, instead offering insight into whether the president’s actions (as described at last month’s hearings) would justify impeachment.
But according to the opening statements released this morning, the witnesses do not intend to hold back. “The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favor from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president, including what previous presidents who faced impeachment have done or been accused of doing,” Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor, intends to say.
However, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who was called to testify by House Republicans, will argue the allegations against Trump do not meet the Founders’ standard for impeachment and could set a dangerous precedent for the future.
These clashing viewpoints — combined with the combative messaging strategy being pursued by the president’s allies — could add some fireworks to this morning’s technical legal debate.
Here’s what else the blog is keeping an eye on:
- Trump is still at the Nato summit in London and is scheduled to hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET.
- The Atlantic Council think tank will hold a discussion on “US Strategic Interests in Ukraine” with lawmakers at the Capitol.
- Elizabeth Warren will appear on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon.
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.