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Chairman: Impeachment charges could be presented this week

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said articles

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said articles of impeachment could be drafted this week. Credit: EPA-EFE/Shutterstock/Michael Reynolds

WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler said Sunday the panel could take up a vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump by the end of the week, asserting that House Democrats have a "rock solid" case as lawmakers are set to reconvene on Monday for the latest impeachment hearing.

Nadler (D-N.Y.), appearing on a pair of Sunday morning political talk shows, said House Democrats will decide after Monday’s hearing “what articles of impeachment should be drafted," adding that it is "possible" a committee vote comes this week. House Democratic leaders have previously signaled that a full House vote could come before Christmas.

Monday’s hearing will feature presentations from Democratic and Republican staff attorneys for the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, who will argue the case for and against impeachment. The attorneys will present evidence collected after weeks of testimony from State Department and White House officials who detailed Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate one of his American political rivals against the backdrop of withheld foreign aid.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone on Friday rejected an invitation by Nadler for the White House legal team to participate in the hearing.

Nadler, whose committee is tasked with overseeing impeachment proceedings in the House, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that House Democrats “have a very rock solid case," and were looking to proceed "as expeditiously but as fairly as possible."

“The case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat,” Nadler told CNN’s Dana Bash.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Nadler said “presumably” House Democrats would present articles of impeachment this week.

"This is a matter of urgency to deal with because we have to make sure the next election is conducted with integrity and without foreign interference,” Nadler said when asked about the fast-moving impeachment process.

Nadler dismissed concerns raised by Trump and congressional Republicans that the House Democrats’ case relies on a series of career government officials rather than direct testimony from Trump and other top administration officials. Nadler noted that the White House has refused to comply with all of the subpoenas issued by House oversight committees seeking testimony and documents.

“It ill behooves a president or his partisans to say you don't have enough direct evidence when the reason we don't have even more evidence is the president has ordered everybody in the executive branch not to cooperate with Congress in the impeachment inquiry,” Nadler said on CNN.

Trump has denied he acted improperly when asking the president of Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, one of his leading 2020 Democratic presidential rivals, and to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory that strips Russia of responsibility for hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016.

The president on Sunday took aim at the upcoming hearing, calling it an “impeachment hearing hoax.”

Trump's House Republican allies, appearing on the Sunday show circuit continued to denounce the impeachment proceedings as unfair and partisan.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told CBS' "Face the Nation" he did not foresee any House Republicans breaking ranks to vote in favor of impeaching Trump.

"Based on my conversations with them I don’t see a single Republican defecting. They’ve looked at the facts; they know where we are on this," Meadows said.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" said while it was likely the Democratic-majority House would vote in favor of impeachment, an effort to remove Trump from office would likely be blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate.

"It’s going to go to the Senate, it's going to go nowhere. And I think the American people know this is a waste of time and this is Democrats putting on a circus," Cruz said.

House Democrats defended the pace of the impeachment probe that was launched in mid-September after a U.S. intelligence whistleblower filed a complaint that detailed Trump's push to have Ukraine investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was his office. Ukrainian officials have said the Bidens have not been accused of wrongdoing, though government watchdog groups have raised questions about possible conflicts of interest. The former vice president has denied having knowledge of his son's business affairs.

"There is overwhelming evidence that the president sought to coerce Ukraine into interfering in our election, essentially sought to cheat in our next election,” said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, during an interview with "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan. “That is an ongoing threat to the country, and one that simply can’t wait."

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who sits on the Judiciary Committee, told ABC's "This Week" she was confident that Democrats had sufficient evidence to weigh for articles of impeachment despite the White House not providing subpoenaed documents and access to officials.

“The question is, with the evidence we have, can we make a sound conclusion?” Lofgren said. “I think we can, but when we get our presentation tomorrow from the Intelligence Committee … can we reach a conclusion and move forward as our responsibility under the Constitution provides, and I think the answer is likely yes.”

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