Politics: Trump Undecided on Role in Trial, Aide Says: Impeachment Update

Today in History: December 9

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House Democrats leading the panels running the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump announced their next steps during a news conference Tuesday in Washington.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal and Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney took part, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Here are the latest developments:

Trump Undecided on Role in Trial, Aide Says (1:39 p.m.)

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said on Fox News she doesn’t know yet if Trump would participate in a Senate trial.

”Oh, I don’t know yet. I’m not going to get ahead of what he may do,” she said. “But I’m sure we will participate in some way, certainly with our counsel. And we’re going to be calling on witnesses and we’ll hope they will participate.”

Her last point contrasts with the view of one of Trump’s private lawyers, Jay Sekulow, who said on his syndicated radio show that he leans toward trying the case in the Senate “on the record that has been submitted” rather than calling additional witnesses or having other depositions.

House begins historic impeachment debate over President Trump – live updates

  House begins historic impeachment debate over President Trump – live updates If the House votes to impeach Trump, the Senate would hold a trial, expected in January. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office.The House will debate the articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – for six hours and then vote separately on each of them, under parameters that the House Rules Committee recommended Tuesday. The rules for floor debate must still be adopted by the full House after an hour of debate Wednesday morning. If the House approves the articles, lawmakers will immediately take up a resolution naming managers who will serve essentially as prosecutors in the Senate trial, which is expected to begin in January.

Trump’s legal team hasn’t decided that question, he said.

“Whether there are additional witnesses called, or other depositions, or whether they just try the case on the record that has been submitted, the case is very, very weak so that is kind of where I would lean right now. It’s early to say,” Sekulow said.

House Judiciary Panel Releases Resolution (11:12 a.m.)

The Judiciary Committee released the two impeachment articles, combined in a single resolution.

The resolution said Trump “warrants impeachment ant trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

In the abuse of power article, the resolution states that Trump “abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit.”

“He also betrayed the nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.”

In the obstruction article, it states that “no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impeded so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’”

“President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self governance and the rule of law,” the resolution says.

— Billy House

Trump to Address Charges in Senate, Aide Says (10:11 a.m.)

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, “The president will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong.”

Grisham called the impeachment effort “a baseless and partisan attempt to undermine a sitting president” and added that House Democrats “have determined that they must impeach President Trump because they cannot legitimately defeat him at the ballot box.”

The president expects to be represented by counsel in the Senate, according to a person familiar with the matter. -- Jordan Fabian

Mulvaney Says He Would Testify for Trump (9:39 a.m.)

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said that he’d testify at impeachment proceedings if Trump wanted him to.

“Part of me really wants to,” Mulvaney said Tuesday at a Wall Street Journal event in Washington. “We’ll do whatever the president wants us to do.”

Trump has told Mulvaney not to testify.

— Jordan Fabian

Democrats Target Abuse of Power, Obstruction (9:10 a.m.)

House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstructing Congress’s efforts to investigate his dealings with Ukraine.

When Trump was caught, he “engaged in unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance” of Congress’s investigation, Nadler told reporters.

The Judiciary Committee will consider the articles later this week, Nadler said.

The committee leaders spoke a day after his panel concluded its second hearing into whether Trump used his office to pressure the newly elected Ukraine president to announce politically motivated investigations for Trump’s personal and political benefit.

Nadler said Trump’s actions toward Ukraine “compromised our national security and threatened the integrity of our elections.”

Schiff said that allowing Trump’s conduct to stand would leave future leaders free to be “as corrupt” as they want.

“The argument ‘why don’t you just wait’ amounts to this: Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election,” Schiff said. “Why not let him have foreign help one more time.”

“The president’s oath of office appears to mean very little to him,” Schiff said, but he added that Congress “can show that our oath means something to us.”

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement, “Americans don’t agree with this rank partisanship, but Democrats are putting on this political theater because they don’t have a viable candidate for 2020 and they know it.”

— Billy House



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House begins historic impeachment debate over President Trump – live updates .
If the House votes to impeach Trump, the Senate would hold a trial, expected in January. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office.The House will debate the articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – for six hours and then vote separately on each of them, under parameters that the House Rules Committee recommended Tuesday. The rules for floor debate must still be adopted by the full House after an hour of debate Wednesday morning. If the House approves the articles, lawmakers will immediately take up a resolution naming managers who will serve essentially as prosecutors in the Senate trial, which is expected to begin in January.

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