Senate acquits President Trump on both articles of impeachment

President Donald Trump departs following a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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UPDATED 2:25 PM PT — Wednesday, February 5, 2020

History was made on Wednesday following the Senate’s final vote in the impeachment trial of President Trump. Lawmakers formally struck down both articles of impeachment, acquitting the president on both charges.

The Senate voted 52 to 48 against Article One: Abuse of Power.

Sen. Mitt Romney was the sole Republican to side with Democrats, voting against the president on the first article.

However, Republicans stood united on Article Two: Obstruction of Congress. Lawmakers voted 53 to 47 to acquit the president on this charge.

“It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles,” stated Chief Justice Roberts.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the CenturyLink Center, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Bossier City, La. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Wednesday’s vote marked the end of a historic period in our nation’s history. It began last year with a whistleblower complaint, which was followed by House hearings, an impeachment vote and the Senate trial.

Following the final vote, President Trump said he would be delivering a public statement on Thursday to “discuss our country’s victory on the impeachment hoax.”

Original Article

Republicans fume over Dem threat of new impeachment articles: ‘Time to cut them off’

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House Democrats hint at impeaching President Trump again

Reaction and analysis from Trump 2020 campaign adviser Jenna Ellis.

Republicans ratcheted up their accusations that Democrats are overplaying their impeachment hand after court filings from the House Judiciary Committee indicated the two articles of impeachment adopted last week may only be the beginning.

GOP lawmakers already were fuming at Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her surprise decision to delay transmitting the articles to the Senate in a bid to extract favorable terms for President Trump's trial. But in the latest twist, the Democrat-led Judiciary panel referenced the possibility of yet additional impeachment articles in briefs filed Monday related to their quest for testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn and secret grand jury material from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

HOUSE DEMS RAISE PROSPECT OF NEW IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES, IN COURT BATTLE OVER MCGAHN TESTIMONY

If the court allows them to obtain the information they seek, their attorney wrote, "new articles of impeachment" could be considered based on the evidence. GOP lawmakers reacted with stunned disbelief.

"Democrats are treating impeachment as an open bar tab," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted Monday afternoon. "Time to cut them off, take their car keys away (put GOP in control of the House), and end this insanity."

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who sits on the House Judiciary Committee that filed the briefs, reacted by saying, "You've got to be kidding."

He added: "It’s gone from the Kangaroo Court Impeachment… …to the Keystone Cops Impeachment(s).. Will Pelosi send the Articles from the last Impeachment before drafting the next ones?!"

The notion of new articles of impeachment was floated as the committee justified their need to have McGahn testify and acquire Mueller's secret grand jury information. Previously, they had argued that their ongoing impeachment investigation presented an urgent need for both — but with the House already voting to impeach Trump, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals gave them until Monday afternoon to explain why the case was still relevant and should not be dismissed as moot.

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"If this material reveals new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the Articles adopted by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly–including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment," committee attorney Douglas Letter wrote in the grand jury material case.

Letter used nearly identical language pertaining to McGahn's testimony in his brief in that case.

Trump last week was impeached on accusations of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, related to his efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch politically beneficial investigations, all while withholding military aid (though Trump has maintained there was no "quid pro quo").

The latest filings did not detail what potential additional articles could be considered. Regardless, the briefs stated that even if McGahn’s testimony or the grand jury material do not lead to new articles of impeachment, they could be used in an upcoming Senate trial in relation to the obstruction of Congress allegations that Trump is currently facing.

Original Article

House Dems raise prospect of new impeachment articles, in court battle over McGahn testimony

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The lawyer for House Judiciary Committee Democrats revealed in a Monday court filing that there is a possibility lawmakers could pursue even more articles of impeachment against President Trump — despite having already adopted two of them last week following a grueling, historic and bitterly partisan debate.

The prospect of additional articles — while perhaps unlikely — was floated as part of a court battle over Democrats' bid to compel testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

Shortly before a 4 p.m. deadline imposed by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the committee counsel filed a brief making their case for why they still want to hear from McGahn, despite having already voted for impeachment.

Democrats originally sought McGahn's testimony in connection with his claims to then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team that Trump wanted him to have Mueller fired. Trump’s critics claimed this request constituted obstruction of justice.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS POISED FOR STARRING ROLE IN A TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

While the Mueller probe never factored into the impeachment articles that were adopted, House Democrats' counsel Douglas Letter argued that McGahn's testimony is still vital — and could even be relevant to "consideration of whether to recommend additional articles of impeachment" against Trump.

“If McGahn’s testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the Articles approved by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly—including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” the brief stated, noting that they still have “ongoing impeachment investigations.”

The filing did not detail what potential additional articles could be considered, beyond the already-adopted articles alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Regardless, the brief stated that even if McGahn’s testimony does not lead to new articles of impeachment, it could be used in an upcoming Senate trial — which is on hold pending Speaker Nancy Pelosi transmitting the articles to the chamber — in relation to the obstruction of Congress allegations that Trump is currently facing.

The White House has asserted longstanding executive privilege to bar McGahn from supplying documents and testimony to House investigators back when they were probing the Russia issue, saying internal White House deliberations must remain protected. The case was later tied into impeachment as the House Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., refocused on that inquiry.

Eric Shawn: The president vs. Congress with Don McGahn in the middleVideo

In an opposing court filing, the Justice Department claimed Monday that the McGahn case should be dismissed precisely because of its connection to the impeachment process.

"[T]he article of impeachment addressing purported obstruction of Congress relies in part on the judicial proceedings in this very case," the DOJ said in a brief submitted earlier Monday morning.

"Indeed, if this Court now were to resolve the merits question in this case, it would appear to be weighing in on a contested issue in any impeachment trial," the DOJ argued, before concluding that the court "should decline the Committee's request that it enter the fray and instead should dismiss this fraught suit between the political branches for lack of jurisdiction."

Alternatively, the DOJ argued that impeachment eliminates the committee's need for expedited consideration. The committee had previously claimed that "speedy judicial action is needed to avoid hampering the House's impeachment investigation," but the DOJ says this "justification no longer applies," so there is no need for anything to take place prior to the already scheduled Jan. 3 oral arguments.

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The committee disagreed, citing the upcoming Senate trial and “ongoing impeachment investigations,” as well as the public’s “significant interest ‘in immediately removing a sitting president whose continuation in office poses a threat to the Nation’s welfare.’”

Both sides also faced late-afternoon deadlines in a separate case where the House Judiciary Committee is seeking the secret grand jury material from Mueller’s investigation. Such material is generally secret, according to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which specify certain exceptions including judicial proceedings.

In that case, DOJ lawyers told the court Monday that the House committee request for Mueller grand jury materials is no longer relevant, as the impeachment articles did not involve the Russia probe.

“Neither article of impeachment adopted by the House, however, alleges high crimes or misdemeanors stemming from the events described in the Mueller Report. Accordingly, nothing appears to remain of the Committee’s alleged need for the grand-jury materials in the Mueller Report,” their filing said.

Fox News' Bill Mears and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Original Article

Pelosi stands by delay in sending impeachment articles to Senate, calls McConnell a ‘rogue leader’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended her decision to hold off on sending impeachment articles to the Senate, calling Mitch McConnell a "rogue leader" in an unusual press conference where she repeatedly tried to shut down questions about the impeachment process.

Pelosi spoke to reporters after Democrats passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump in a Wednesday evening vote. She indicated the House would eventually send the articles over to the upper chamber, but insisted it is up to the Senate to determine how the process develops going forward.

“The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate, then we’ll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward, and who we would choose,” Pelosi said during a Thursday morning press conference.

After an impeachment in the House, the articles are normally sent over to the upper chamber for an impeachment trial, but Pelosi signaled earlier that the House is waiting for the Senate to set out how Trump's trial will be conducted before they determine their next steps, such as designating impeachment managers who will represent them.

Earlier Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Democrats may be “too afraid” to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate after the House speaker abruptly held off on transmitting them.

"Looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet," the Senate GOP leader mused.

McConnell also criticized the impeachment in remarks on the Senate floor, calling it “a rushed and rigged inquiry.”

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On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had requested that the Senate issue subpoenas for documents and witnesses who had not testified during the House's impeachment inquiry. McConnell responded by stating that the House should have been more thorough, and it was not the Senate's role to do the House's "homework" for them.

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump says ‘Do Nothing Dems’ want to ‘Do Nothing’ with impeachment articles

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Trump: We're going to keep on working, fighting, winning

President Trump speaks at campaign rally in Michigan.

President Trump on Thursday said the “Do Nothing” Democrats now want to “Do Nothing” with the articles of impeachment adopted overnight, responding to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's suggestion that she could hold off on sending the case to the Senate for an impeachment trial.

“I got Impeached last night without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” Trump tweeted early Thursday. “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s the Senate’s call!”

He added: “’The Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.’ If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!”

The president riffed on his "Do Nothing Democrats" label after Pelosi, D-Calif., signaled late Wednesday that she wants reassurances that the Senate would hold a fair trial before sending over the two articles of impeachment.

“We’ll make a decision as a group, as we always have, as we go along,” Pelosi said Wednesday night, when asked what would qualify as a “fair trial” in the Senate.

HOUSE IMPEACHES TRUMP

“Again, we’ll decide what that dynamic is, but we hope that the resolution of that process will be soon in the Senate,” she continued.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will soon discuss the framework for a Senate trial—including the start date and how long it could last. Republicans hoped to vote on a resolution outlining these terms before members leave for Christmas recess, but if Pelosi holds up articles in the House, that would not be possible.

House Democrats address House voting to impeach President TrumpVideo

Pelosi has criticized McConnell, questioning his ability to hold a “fair trial.”

"Let me tell you what I don't consider a fair trial," she told the crowd of reporters. "This is what I don't consider a fair trial — that Leader McConnell has stated that he's not an impartial juror, that he's going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House counsel's office."

"It's up to the senators to make their own decision working together, hopefully in recognition of their witnesses that the president withheld from us, their documents that the president withheld from us and we would hope that that information would be available in a trial to go to the next step. Because that's another level in terms of conviction, in terms of this," Pelosi said. "But right now the president is impeached."

The House voted Wednesday to impeach him for “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” related to his dealings with Ukraine, making him the third American president ever to be impeached. The president, though, has touted the fact that not a single Republican voted for either article of impeachment proposed by the Democrats.

Meanwhile, just hours after he was impeached by the House, the president tweeted a meme of himself, saying Democrats’ impeachment push was an attack on his supporters.

“In reality, they’re not after me, they’re after you,” says the text over a black-and-white photo of the president. "I'm just in the way."

At the center of the impeachment inquiry is Trump’s efforts to press Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically related investigations—regarding former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine, as well as issues related to the 2016 presidential election. The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats have argued shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Fox News’ Nick Givas contributed to this report.

Original Article

Pelosi suggests she may wait to send impeachment articles to Senate: ‘We’ll make a decision … as we go along’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats may wait to send their articles of impeachment against President Trump to the GOP-controlled Senate, for fear that they are incapable of holding a fair trial.

Pelosi held a press conference on Wednesday following the House impeachment vote and was asked what would qualify as a "fair trial."

"We'll make a decision as a group, as we always have, as we go along," she replied.

Pelosi was then asked about possibly withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate until they get certain reassurances, and the Speaker refused to give a direct answer.

"Again, we'll decide what that dynamic is, but we hope that the resolution of that process will be soon in the Senate," she said.

GOHMERT SHOUTS AT NADLER ON HOUSE FLOOR AFTER 'RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA' ACCUSATION

Pelosi proceeded to read a statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about impeachment procedure and used it as an example of what she considers to be an unfair process.

"Let me tell you what I don't consider a fair trial," she told the crowd of reporters. "This is what I don't consider a fair trial — that Leader McConnell has stated that he's not an impartial juror, that he's going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House counsel's office."

She finally deferred to the Senate as the final arbiter of Trump's fate and accused the president of withholding vital documents from Congress.

"It's up to the senators to make their own decision working together, hopefully in recognition of their witnesses that the president withheld from us, their documents that the president withheld from us and we would hope that that information would be available in a trial to go to the next step. Because that's another level in terms of conviction, in terms of this," Pelosi said. "But right now the president is impeached."

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The Speaker then repeatedly fended off questions about withholding the articles, before saying it would ultimately be a joint decision between the House and Senate.

"We will make our decision as to when we're going to send — when we see what they're doing on the Senate side, but that's a decision that we will make jointly," she said.

The impeachment vote total on the abuse-of-power count was 230–197, with Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voting present. The obstruction vote total was 229–198, with Gabbard also voting present on that count too.

Original Article

Tulsi Gabbard votes ‘present’ on Trump impeachment articles, breaks with Dems

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Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard declined to vote in favor of two articles of impeachment against President Trump after a contentious debate Wednesday, choosing to vote "present" instead.

The House voted 230 to 197 to impeach Trump for abuse of power, mostly along party lines. Lawmakers also voted to impeach the president on a second article, obstruction of Congress, in a 229-198 vote.

Gabbard, a 2020 presidential hopeful, released a lengthy statement following the votes.

"Throughout my life, whether through serving in the military or in Congress, I’ve always worked to do what is in the best interests of our country. Not what’s best for me politically or what’s best for my political part," Gabbard said. "After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no."

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii speaks to Democrats gathered at the Spratt Issues Conference in Greenville, S.C., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. Gabbard voted "present" on both articles of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii speaks to Democrats gathered at the Spratt Issues Conference in Greenville, S.C., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. Gabbard voted "present" on both articles of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

She said she believes Trump is guilty of wrongdoing but that she could not vote in favor of impeachment, saying the process must not be a "culmination of a partisan process."

"When I cast my vote in support of the impeachment inquiry nearly three months ago, I said that in order to maintain the integrity of this solemn undertaking, it must not be a partisan endeavor," Gabbard said. "Tragically, that’s what it has been. "

The Hawaiian congresswoman's break from her party makes her the only White House contender to not favor impeachment.

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The impeachment now heads to the GOP-controlled Senate, where Trump is expected to be acquitted.

Original Article

House to vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump: live updates

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday will vote on two articles of impeachment against President Trump in what is expected to be a mostly party-line vote on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. The debate will begin at 9 a.m. ET.

Follow our live blog below. Mobile users click here.

Original Article

Judiciary Committee’s minority blasts articles of impeachment report, ‘anemic case’

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Rep. Adam Schiff defends Democrats' impeachment case against President Trump

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'

The House Judiciary Committee's minority blasted the committee's rush to impeach President Trump and wrote that history will not look kindly on how exculpatory evidence was ignored to meet a "self-imposed December deadline," according to the full articles of impeachment report released early Monday.

The minority, which is comprised of Republicans, blasted the Democrat-led majority for not making the case for impeachment and simply employing "holdover" arguments from other investigations to make their case. Despite the divide, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the committee, wrote for the majority that Trump is a threat to the Constitution and should be removed from office.

CHAD PERGRAM: CONGRESS COULD SEE ITS BUSIEST WEEK EVER

The committee released a 658-page report on the impeachment resolution that lays out the case against Trump. Democrats have raised two articles of impeachable offenses, including abuse of power by soliciting Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election and then obstructing Congress during its investigation.

NADLER BRUSHES OFF POSSIBLE DEM DEFECTION

The minority wrote that both articles are supported by assumptions and hearsay. The minority, headed by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the committee, wrote that the majority decided to “pursue impeachment first and build a case second.”

The majority ignored exculpatory evidence but proclaimed the "facts are uncontested,” the minority wrote.

"The facts are contested, and, in many areas, the majority's claims are directly contradicted by the evidence," the minority wrote. They continued that "not one of the criminal accusations leveled at the president over the past year—including bribery, extortion, collusion/conspiracy with foreign enemies, or obstruction of justice—has found a place in the articles. Some of these arguments are just holdovers from an earlier disingenuous attempt by the majority to weaponized the Russia collusion investigation for political gain."

The majority's actions were "unprecedented, unjustifiable, and will only dilute the significance of the dire recourse that is impeachment," they wrote.

The minority also claimed procedural missteps by the majority by not allowing a "minority day of hearings," despite several requests to Nadler. They called the denial “blatant” and “intentional.” They claim Nadler also refused a request to subpoena witnesses. They wrote that there was a complete absence of “fact witnesses” and the case rested with the testimony from four academics and another with a panel of Congressional staffers.

The majority claimed that they were transparent. The majority wrote that the minority wanted to hear testimony from the whistleblower, but the majority stressed the importance of protecting the person’s identity. The minority's request to hear from Hunter Biden—the son of Joe Biden—was "well outside the scope of the inquiry," the majority wrote.

At the heart of the first charge, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Democrats have relied on a whistleblower’s complaint that claimed that there was at least an implied quid pro quo during the phone conversation. Trump was also accused of using agents "within and outside" the U.S. government to compel Kiev to investigate the Bidens and their business dealings in the country. The claim is that Trump withheld $391 million in essential military funds to pressure Kiev on the investigations.

Both Trump and Zelensky deny there was ever any implied or explicit quid pro quo.

The newly released report also claims that Trump directed key players in the inquiry from participating.

Trump "interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘‘sole Power of Impeachment’’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives,” the report said.

The report listed John “Mick” Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, and Robert B. Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney, as officials who have denied subpoenas.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Sunday proposed in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that Mulvaney be subpoenaed to testify in an impeachment trial. McConnell told Fox News last week that the chances of Trump being removed from office are zero.

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Republicans say Democrats are impeaching the president because they can’t beat him in 2020. Democrats warn Americans can’t wait for the next election because they worry what Trump will try next.

The House is expected to vote on the articles next week, in the days before Christmas. That would send the impeachment effort to the Senate for a 2020 trial.

The majority claimed that the impeachment inquiry was performed in a fair manner and pointed out that the purpose of the inquiry was to determine if Trump “may have committed an impeachable offense.” Trump was offered the opportunity to participate, but he declined, the majority wrote. The president has refused to participate in the proceedings.

At about the time the impeachment report was being released, Trump was on Twitter touting his record and slamming the allegations. He wrote that despite the impeachment and "obstruction," he had one of the most successful presidencies in history.

The Associated Press and Bradford Betz contributed to this report

Original Article

Nadler calls for Trump’s removal in committee’s 658-page report on articles of impeachment

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House poised for final impeachment vote

Rep. Mike Johnson on House preparing historic floor vote on Trump impeachment.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote that President Trump is a threat to the Consitution and should be removed from office, according to the committee's 658-page report on the articles of impeachment resolution against Trump that was submitted early Monday.

The majority wrote that President Trump abused his office by soliciting the interference of Ukraine in the 2020 election and then obstructed the impeachment inquiry into his conduct.

The report was released at 12:30 a.m. ET., and included a dissent from the committee's minority that called the case for impeachment "not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments."

Trump is accused, in the first article, of abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden while holding military aid as leverage, and, in the second, of obstructing Congress by blocking the House’s efforts to probe his actions.

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The president insists he did nothing wrong and blasts the Democrats’ effort daily as a sham and harmful to America.

Nadler wrote that Trump should be removed and "disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

The committee's vote was strictly along party lines, and the floor vote is expected to be similar, with a few exceptions. No Republicans have so far signaled that they will support the articles of impeachment, but a small handful of Democrats who represent GOP-leaning districts have said they may join Republicans in voting against them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Original Article

Judiciary Committee approves articles of impeachment against Trump, as GOP slams ‘kangaroo court’

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The House Judiciary Committee begins process of voting on articles of impeachment

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to adopt two articles of impeachment against President Trump – capping a contentious three-day session that Republicans panned as a “kangaroo court.”

The committee adopted both articles, alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, on a party-line vote of 23-17. A final vote in the full House is expected next week, which could tee up a Senate trial in the new year just before presidential primaries are set to get underway.

REPUBLICANS ERUPT AS NADLER SUDDENLY POSTPONES IMPEACHMENT VOTE NEAR MIDNIGHT

But the committee vote was preceded by fireworks on Thursday night, when Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., infuriated Republicans by wrapping up the hearing just before midnight and postponing the votes until the morning.

"It is now very late at night," Nadler said. "I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days, and to search their consciences before we cast their final votes.”

That led to Republicans decrying what they called a “bush-league stunt” by Nadler to make sure the vote would be carried on daytime television.

"Mr. Chairman, there was no consulting with the ranking member on your schedule for tomorrow — you just blew up schedules for everyone?" Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said. "You chose not to consult the ranking member on a scheduling issue of this magnitude? This is the kangaroo court we're talking about.”

DEMS PLOW AHEAD WITH IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES IN HEATED ALL-DAY SESSION

Impeachment vote postponement a 'bush league stunt': Doug CollinsVideo

Republicans have repeatedly and loudly objected to the impeachment inquiry, which focuses on President Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he pressed Zelensky to “look into” supposed Ukraine interference in the 2016 election and the conduct of former Vice President Joe Biden (a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate) in the country.

Democrats have alleged that the conversation was part of a quid pro quo in which Ukraine would conduct politically related investigations into Trump’s political rivals in exchange for then-withheld military aid and a White House meeting. Trump has strongly denied those claims and decried the probe as a “witch hunt.”

The articles of impeachment being considered accuse Trump of “obstruction of Congress” and “abuse of power.”

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They are likely to pass in the House, although questions have been raised about moderate Democrats in districts that voted for Trump in 2016 — many of whom have not said whether they will vote for impeachment.

Should the articles pass the full House, the debate will shift to the Senate for an impeachment trial — where the Republican-controlled chamber would be expected to easily acquit the president.

Fox News' Gregg Re and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Original Article

Dems plow ahead with impeachment articles as initial vote looms

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Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Collins deliver their opening statements at impeachment markup meeting

Representatives Nadler and Collins deliver opening remarks.

The House Judiciary Committee is poised to be the scene of another major partisan clash Thursday as lawmakers press ahead with two articles of impeachment against President Trump, ahead of an initial vote expected by day's end likely to advance the measures to the floor.

The final "markup" process began Wednesday evening, immediately breaking out into fiery disagreement. Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., argued that it would be unsafe to wait until the 2020 election to remove Trump from office.

IMPEACHMENT NEEDLE NOT MOVING, MAJORITY OF VOTERS OPPOSE IMPEACHMENT

"We cannot rely on an election to solve our problems when the president threatens the very integrity of that election," Nadler claimed during Wednesday's session.

Democrats from districts that supported Trump in 2016, however, have been less enthusiastic. Recent polls have shown declining support for impeachment in key swing states, with two polls released Wednesday indicating that most Americans did not want Trump removed.

Politico reported earlier this week that the numbers were making a "small group" of moderate Democrats, who have held seats in districts where Trump won in 2016, nervous about how to vote. They instead have suggested Trump be censured, which would prevent the GOP from holding a potentially damaging Senate trial and give them political cover in the upcoming election.

The House is now composed of 431 current members, meaning Democrats would need 217 yeas to impeach Trump. There are currently 233 Democrats, so Democrats could lose only 16 of their own and still impeach the president. Among the House Democrats, 31 represent more moderate districts that Trump carried in 2016.

Freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich. – who flipped a GOP district in 2018 that Trump won by seven points in 2016 – told Fox News last month that she was tentatively weighing all the evidence. On Wednesday, she confirmed that she's still undecided.

"The phones are ringing off the hook," she told CNN. "We literally can't pick up the phones fast enough — and it's people on both sides of it."

Republicans, meanwhile, have vociferously opposed the impeachment effort. The committee's ranking member, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, stated that Democrats have been trying to impeach Trump since he took office. He echoed the White House's argument that the impeachment was politically motivated theater, long in the works and foreshadowed openly by Democrats for months, if not years.

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He and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., each argued that unlike previous presidents who have faced impeachment, Trump was not accused of an offense actually defined by law: neither "abuse of power" nor "obstruction of Congress" is a recognized federal or state crime. Those are the two offenses outlined in the articles of impeachment before the committee. (The separate charge of contempt of Congress, according to the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel, exempts the president for separation-of-powers reasons.)

The markup is expected to go until Thursday afternoon. If the committee votes to approve the articles of impeachment, as expected, there will likely be an impeachment vote on the House floor in the middle of next week.

The articles center on Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch an investigation into his political rivals – namely, former vice president Joe Biden – while withholding aid. Democrats argue Trump wrongly used U.S. aid and the prospect of a White House meeting as leverage, but Trump denies doing so.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump calls articles of impeachment ‘weak’ and only reason Dems agreed to USMCA

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Rep. Jim Banks: 'Shame on Speaker Pelosi' for politicizing impeachment and USMCA

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) shares his reaction to the House Judiciary Committee issuing two articles of impeachment against President Trump for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. He also weighs in on the GOP's biggest takeaways from the impeachment inquiry.

In his first public remarks since Democrats formally announced articles of impeachment against him, President Trump called the two charges leveled against him “weak” and said the only reason Democrats agreed to a modified North American trade deal was because of impeachment.

Speaking on the White House lawn before departing for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Trump called it a “disgrace” to “make impeachment out of nothing,” while touting both the strength of the economy and recent polling that showed him ahead of his Democratic rivals in the 2020 presidential race.

Trump’s comments came hours after House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against the president on Tuesday morning, saying that his actions toward Ukraine “betrayed the nation.” The specific charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

DEMOCRATS UNVEIL IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES, AS WHITE HOUSE SLAMS 'BASELESS AND PARTISAN' EFFORT

Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the Capitol, said they were upholding their solemn oath to defend the Constitution. Trump responded angrily on Twitter: “WITCH HUNT!”

Voting is expected in a matter of days by the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House. The charges, if approved, would then be sent to the Senate, where the Republican majority would be unlikely to convict Trump, but not without a potentially bitter trial just as voters in Iowa and other early presidential primary states begin making their choices.

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In the formal articles announced Tuesday, the Democrats said Trump enlisted a foreign power in “corrupting” the U.S. election process and endangered national security by asking Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, including Democrat Joe Biden, while withholding U.S. military aid as leverage. That benefited Russia over the U.S. as America's ally fought Russian aggression, the Democrats said.

Trump then obstructed Congress by ordering current and former officials to defy House subpoenas for testimony and by blocking access to documents, the charges say.

READ THE IMPEACHMENT ARTICLE TEXT

Shortly after Democrats introduced the articles of impeachment, the White House and Democrats announced reached an agreement on the revamped U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“There is no question of course that this trade agreement is much better than [the North American Free Trade Agreement]," Pelosi said when announcing the agreement, saying the pact is “infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration."

Trump said the revamped trade pact will “be great" for the United States.

Rep. Liz Cheney says no self-respecting elected official would support articles of impeachment against TrumpVideo

“It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions — tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!,” the president said in a tweet.

A U.S. House vote is likely before Congress adjourns for the year, and the Senate is likely to vote in January or February. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the vote on the trade deal will likely occur after an expected impeachment trial in the Senate.

Fox News' Kelly Chernenkoff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Democrats unveil articles of impeachment alleging abuse of power, obstruction

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House Democrats on Tuesday announced articles of impeachment against President Trump alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regarding his interactions with Ukraine, touching off a rapid-fire sequence that could result in a momentous floor vote in a matter of days.

“The framers of the Constitution prescribed a clear remedy for presidents who so violate their oath of office,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said. "No one, not even the president, is above the law.”

While Republicans have blasted the process as political, dubbing it the "focus group impeachment" in response to reports that Democrats tested different allegations with focus groups, Democrats are moving swiftly ahead of the holiday break.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., directed the Judiciary Committee to proceed with drafting the measures just last week.

"The clock and the calendar should not be the basis for impeachment," House Judiciary Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" minutes before the announcement.

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It is unclear, at this point, whether Democrats’ articles focused on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress will reach beyond the Ukraine controversy and into former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Mueller found no evidence of conspiracy or coordination between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election but left the door open to whether the president obstructed the federal probe — a point that Democrats have made in the public hearing phase of the House impeachment inquiry.

Absent from the planned charges is a “bribery” count, which Democrats have repeatedly accused the president of in regards to his highly controversial July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — in which he pressured him to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings with Ukraine.

Pelosi held a meeting in her office Monday night with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., after a hearing held by Nadler’s committee that featured lawyers laying out the evidence for and against impeachment.

In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the Constitution's high bar of "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

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At the center of the impeachment inquiry is Trump’s efforts to press Zelensky to launch politically related investigations—regarding Joe Biden's effort to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been looking into the natural gas firm where his son Hunter served on the board.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats have argued shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Original Article

Dems expected to announce at least 2 articles of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday

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Second Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment marked by partisan rancor

Open political warfare on display as House Judiciary Committee hears from Intelligence Committee lawyers; chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel reports from Capitol Hill.

House Democrats are preparing to announce at least two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday, Fox News has learned.

The articles of impeachment will focus on obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, but all details aren’t settled yet, Fox News is told. A markup session by the Judiciary Committee to prepare the articles would come either Wednesday or Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., convened the House chairmen leading the impeachment inquiry in her office after a daylong Judiciary Committee hearing that laid out the case against Trump as Democrats warned of the risk his actions toward Ukraine have posed to U.S. elections and national security

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The chairmen left the meeting late Monday at the Capitol with some saying an announcement would come in the morning.

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“I think there's a lot of agreement,” Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters. "You’ll hear about some of it tomorrow.”

What remained uncertain was whether Pelosi would reach beyond the Ukraine probe to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings of Trump's actions in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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“A lot of us believe that what happened with Ukraine especially is not something we can just close our eyes to,” Engel said. “'This is not a happy day. I don’t get any glee at this, but I think we’re doing what we have to do. We’re doing what the Constitution mandates that we do.”

In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the Constitution's ostensibly high bar of "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Democrats are racing to jam impeachment through on a “clock and a calendar” ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“They can't get over the fact that Donald Trump is the president of the United States, and they don’t have a candidate that can beat him," Collins said.

Republicans also revived criticism of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's decision to expose phone records of members of Congress. The inquiry showed that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in frequent contact with California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

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Collins accused Democrats of engaging in a “smear” campaign against lawmakers by disclosing phone records.

As the House pushes ahead toward votes, Giuliani said Monday he'll soon be releasing findings from his own recent visit to Ukraine.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Reporter’s Notebook: House votes on impeachment articles would be monumental decisions

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Pelosi requests House Democrats to proceed with articles of impeachment against Trump

Democrats in House Judiciary Committee work through the weekend ahead of impeachment hearing; David Spunt reports.

CAPITOL HILL – There are important roll call votes on Capitol Hill — but votes on articles of impeachment against President Trump would be monumental.

Think about votes cast in 2009 and and 2010 for or against ObamaCare. A failed effort to undo ObamaCare in 2017. Votes in 2008 to salvage the economy with the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Votes last Congress on tax reform. Various votes to fund the government and hike the debt ceiling. And, in the Senate, votes to confirm Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

News organizations and political firms have traved major votes on the floors of the House and Senate each year. Some of those votes may define a career. Look at the nay vote cast by the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to end Republican efforts to unwind ObamaCare. Separately, voters in Maine and Colorado respectively took note of the votes by Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Cory Gardner to confirm Kavanaugh last fall. That vote is sure to resonate in the reelection bids for Collins and Gardner next year.

All of those votes have been major, reverberating throughout a given Congress – and even for decades to come. Despite multiple efforts to gut ObamaCare, it has remained the law of the land. Still, “aye” ballots for ObamaCare proved to help end the congressional careers of many House and Senate Democrats. Republicans weaponized that vote against those Democrats. Some paid with their political lives in 2010 and beyond. Lots of House Republicans lost the House for the same reason last year because of their votes for the tax bill and for trying to repeal ObamaCare.

We won’t know if the votes by Collins and Gardner for Kavanaugh will sway the outcomes of their Senate contests next year. But, barring illness, the 54-year-old Kavanaugh could serve on the high court for decades. The decisions by Collins and Gardner to confirm Kavanaugh are likely to echo in American jurisprudence for years.

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These are all high-profile roll call votes, as weighty as can be. But, there is yet one more, hyper-elite classification of House and Senate votes, more consequential than the rest. These are votes to go to war and to impeach a president.

These momentous votes have filtered through the decades. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., is still known as the only House member to oppose the war resolution following Sept. 11, 2001. The late Rep. Jeannette Rankin, R-Mont., was the first woman ever elected to Congress, but in addition to her trailblazing for women, historians have recalled her votes opposing U.S. involvement in World War I and World War II.

“I cannot vote for war,” said Rankin when she opposed the U.S. declaring war against Germany in World War I. Rankin’s words about war were emblazoned on the base of her statue in the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center. It’s one of two statues from Montana in the official congressional collection.

Other lawmakers voted against the U.S. entering World War I. But, Rankin was the only member of either body to vote “nay” after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Many prominent members, including future Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, R-Ill., then a congressman, tried to persuade Rankin to vote “aye” so the tally would be unanimous. But, Rankin resisted. Her position was so unpopular that she abstained from voting on future war declarations against Germany and Italy. Her political career ended soon afterwards.

This brings us to present day.

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The House Judiciary Committee is likely to entertain three to five articles of impeachment for Trump. The House would not simply throw a broad resolution on the floor with members voting up or down to impeach. These articles would be honed and massaged, narrow and concrete. Members would focus on what they accused the president of doing, such as an indictment. It’s then up to the Judiciary Committee to actually approve the articles and send them to the House floor. The House must then vote to adopt or reject those articles.

Without question, these votes on articles of impeachment would be the most critical ballots cast in the 116th Congress. They could be the cardinal votes many lawmakers would make during their congressional tenures. That said, 55 House members who voted on the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton in 1998 have remained in the House.

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee considered five articles of impeachment and approved three for then-President Richard Nixon. Nixon resigned before the articles went to the House floor. In 1998, the Judiciary Committee prepared four articles of impeachment but the full House okayed only two of them.

Details of the articles would paramount, so members of Congress from both parties would want to evaluate the articles — study them, ponder them, and then, with a deep sigh, decide how to vote.

We always hear an array of TV commercials from upstarts and political neophytes just before each congressional election, boasting about how if you elect them, they’ll head to Washington and have the courage “to take the tough votes.”

Well, congratulations, members of the 116th Congress. You won the lottery.

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Americans are likely to remember how all current 431 members of the House voted, yea or nay, on each article of impeachment.

Think of the vulnerable, freshmen Democrats who helped propel their party to the majority in 2018, representing districts Trump won in 2016. There are 31 such Democrats. Look closely at how freshmen Democrats like Reps. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Anthony Brindisi of New York and Joe Cunningham of South Carolina vote.

Republicans wouldn’t be out of the woods yet, either. Consider the challenges of an impeachment vote for swing-district Republicans including Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan, John Katko of New York and Don Bacon of Nebraska.

Potential articles of impeachment have centered on “bribery” — specifically mentioned in Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution — abuse of power, contempt of Congress and obstruction of justice. All such potential articles would be fissionable enough to incinerate many a political career if a lawmaker were to vote the wrong way.

But, one potential article of impeachment would be practically thermonuclear: treason.

Again, Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution mentions “treason” as a defined transgression worthy of impeachment. One could see how House Democrats might try to make a case for treason with President Trump.

The House essentially accused Sen. William Blount of Tennessee of treason in the republic’s first impeachment in 1797. The House argued Blount covertly worked with Britain to acquire territory in the south. The House impeached Federal Judge West Hughes Humphreys in 1862 for supporting the Confederacy. No other House impeachments have ever wandered into treason as possible grounds for impeachment.

This speaks to why the House may impeach President Trump on some articles and not others. That’s why members are so curious to learn what the articles may be and decide how to vote on each individual.

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It’s just a simple question, right? Binary. Yea or nay? Members do this all day long.

But, votes on the impeachment of Trump are likely to be the most momentous of a lawmaker’s career. And, the decisions lawmakers make will pulsate through the American experience like no other ballot they cast before.

Original Article

Mueller allegations ‘on the table’ in possible impeachment articles, Cicilline says

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Rep. David Cicilline on next steps in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry

Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee, joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, revealed that when he and his colleagues draft articles of impeachment against President Trump, the scope may go beyond the president's request for Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and may include allegations stemming from Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Democrats mostly had stopped talking about the Mueller probe, which concluded that there was a lack of evidence to support allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, but made no decision on alleged obstruction of justice.

During a recent impeachment hearing, however, Democrats laid the groundwork for bringing Mueller's finding into impeachment efforts. Cicilline all but confirmed that articles of impeachment could draw on Mueller's investigation.

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"I think all of the potential articles of impeachment are on the table," Cicilline told "Fox News Sunday" when specifically asked about the Mueller's findings. He noted that he thought the Mueller report, taken in conjunction with the House Intelligence Committee's report on Trump's dealings with Ukraine, "will demonstrate and does demonstrate a pattern of behavior" in seeking election assistance from foreign powers.

While recognizing that a possible Trump impeachment may go beyond the issues covered in the Intelligence Committee's report — which was based on a fact-finding inquiry that included public hearings and closed-door interviews — Cicilline would not comment on when his committee would hold a vote. He also appeared hesitant to state whether there would be enough votes in the House even to impeach Trump at all.

"I don't think we know the timing of it," he said. "We're going to receive the evidence carefully, we're going to evaluate that evidence as it applies to the law that is set forth in the Constitution and make a judgment about what articles of impeachment, but the timetable, I think, is less clear."

Can the Mueller report resurface in the articles of impeachment?Video

When asked if he believed there was enough support for impeachment among his own party, Cicilline initially appeared to dodge the question by saying that the evidence "is overwhelming and uncontested," before anchor Chris Wallace cut him off and pressed the issue.

Cicilline then said he expected the "vast majority" of Democrats to "accept that evidence" and "move forward with impeachment."

MIKE PENCE: NOT A 'FOREGONE CONCLUSION' DEMS WILL SECURE IMPEACHMENT VOTES

Wallace also asked the congressman about the latest developments involving Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., releasing phone logs of calls that Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and his staff had with Rudy Giuliani and his associate Lev Parnas, who has since faced criminal charges for alleged campaign-finance violations. Records between Nunes' office and reporter John Solomon also were released.

Cicilline denied there was any problem with a congressional leader subpoenaing and releasing records of the private calls of a colleague on the other side of the aisle.

"Look, the Intelligence Committee has the solemn responsibility of collecting evidence relevant to the impeachment inquiry — all the evidence," he said, adding that its process was "lawful" and the "real question" was why Nunes' office was engaged in these communications.

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Nunes told Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" that he intended to take legal action against Schiff for this.

"You cannot release somebody's phone records, so for sure, that right has been violated," Nunes said, referring to California state law. "But, we also have to look at the constitutional aspects of this."

Fox News' Chris Wallace contributed to this report.

Original Article