Democrats announce witnesses for hearing: Impeachment update

Billy House

The House Judiciary Committee plans a hearing Wednesday to discuss the constitutional grounds for impeachment as the next step of the inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Here are the latest developments:

Democrats Announce Witnesses for Hearing (4:15 p.m.)

In this March 7, 2019, file photo, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speak to reporters at the Capitol in Washington. The House Judiciary Committee is moving to the forefront of President Donald Trump's impeachment, starting with a hearing Wednesday, Dec. 4 to examine the "high crimes and misdemeanors" set out in the Constitution.

The House Judiciary Committee will hear on Wednesday from Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.

The first three are being called to testify by Democrats, while Turley has been called by the committee’s Republican members. Feldman is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist.

GOP Says Democrats Didn’t Prove Offenses (3:30 p.m.)

A Republican document contends the Democratic-led House investigation of Trump failed to establish any impeachable offenses, instead painting a picture of “unelected bureaucrats” disagreeing with the president’s style, world view and foreign policy decisions.

Both the GOP report and the findings of the Democratic majority are expected to be sent to the Judiciary Committee ahead of that panel’s first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

The Republican document asserts the Democrats’ impeachment case rests “almost entirely on hearsay, presumption and emotion” to arrive at a “predetermined outcome.” It says Trump was justified in citing corruption as a reason to hesitate on meeting with Ukraine’s new president and to withhold security assistance that had already been approved by Congress.

“Where there are ambiguous facts, the Democrats interpret them in a light most unfavorable to the president,” Republicans wrote. “For Democrats, impeachment is a tool for settling political scores and re-litigating election results with which they disagreed.”

Zelenskiy Disputes U.S. Claims of Corruption (10:09 a.m.)

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during a news conference following his meeting with Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said claims by some in the U.S. that his country is corrupt harm its ability to get investments from the rest of the world.

“The United States of America is a signal, for the world, for everyone,” Zelenskiy said in an interview, Time magazine reported. “When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals.”

“For me it’s very important for the United States, with all they can do for us, for them really to understand that we are a different country, that we are different people,” Zelenskiy said, according to Time, which was among four publications that interviewed Ukraine’s leader.

He said he never discussed with Trump any connection between a delay in U.S military aid and Trump’s request for investigations.

“I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo,” Zelenskiy said. “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”

German news magazine Der Spiegel, which also was involved in the interview, reported that Zelenskiy said he didn’t speak with Trump “in such a way, like, you give me this, I give you that.’”

Later, Trump wrote on Twitter: “The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls.”

Trump Attacks Democrats’ Plan for Hearing (9:32 a.m.)

President Donald Trump turns to speak with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington.

Trump attacked Democrats’ plans for a House Judiciary Committee hearing that will examine whether the president’s actions detailed in evidence gathered so far warrant articles of impeachment.

“The Do Nothing Democrats get 3 Constitutional lawyers for their Impeachment hoax (they will need them!), the Republicans get one,” Trump said in a tweet on Monday, referring to witnesses to be called at the hearing. “Oh, that sounds fair!”

Trump’s lawyer on Sunday told the Judiciary panel the White House wouldn’t take part in the panel’s first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, but kept open the possibility he would be represented at future sessions.

The panel plans to explain the constitutional framework for impeachment and the term “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Catch Up on Impeachment Coverage

Key Events Trump and his attorney are invited to participate in the Judiciary Committee hearings. The panel will decide whether to write articles of impeachment and forward them to the full House for a vote.