House Judiciary Committee releases report outlining historical arguments for impeachment

The House Judiciary Committee released a report ahead of Monday's impeachment hearing laying out historical arguments for impeachment. CNN's Jeremy Herb reports.

Posted: Dec 8, 2019 2:10 PM
Updated: Dec 8, 2019 2:10 PM

The House Judiciary Committee on Saturday released a report ahead of Monday's impeachment hearing laying out historical arguments for impeachment.

The report does not accuse President Donald Trump of committing impeachable offenses, but it lays the groundwork for Monday's hearing, where evidence against Trump will be presented by the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, as well as the possible introduction of articles of impeachment next week.

"The Framers worst nightmare is what we are facing in this very moment," House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement. "President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment. The safety and security of our nation, our democracy, and future generations hang in the balance if we do not address this misconduct. In America, no one is above the law, not even the President."

The report is an update to the Judiciary Committee reports that were issued in 1974 and 1998 during the impeachment proceedings of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

"The earlier reports remain useful points of reference, but no longer reflect the best available learning on questions relating to presidential impeachment," Nadler wrote in a forward introducing the report. "Further, they do not address several issues of constitutional law with particular relevance to the ongoing impeachment inquiry respecting President Donald J. Trump."

Democrats plan to conduct Monday's hearing 'like a trial'

House Democrats are providing more details about their plans for Monday's impeachment hearing. It will go down like this, according to a Democratic official working on the impeachment inquiry:

- Nadler and Republican Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member of the committee, will first deliver opening statements

- House Judiciary Committee counsels will then present opening arguments for an hour (30 minutes for each side). It will be "like a trial," the official said, presenting "our theory of the case." The Democratic counsel will be Barry Berke and GOP counsel will be Steve Castor. They will not take questions.

- House Intelligence Committee counsels will then present findings from their respective reports. First, Democratic counsel Dan Goldman will present for 45 minutes with Castor presenting the GOP report for 45 minutes. Both will take questions afterward.

- Nadler and his counsel will then have a 45-minute round of questioning followed by a 45-minute round of questioning by Collins and his counsel.

- Each member will then get their 5-minute round of questioning.

The Democratic official did not comment on any hearings after Monday. The official also did not say when articles of impeachment may be introduced or whether evidence from former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report would be included.

"No decision has been made to recommend any article of impeachment," the official said.

What you can expect Democrats to argue Monday is that Ukraine is a "part of a repeating pattern" of Trump abusing his office, the source said.

"That's why Ukraine is so important," the source said. They plan to argue that the abuse of power "betrays national security" and involves "corruption of our elections," the source added. "This is the framers' nightmare."

House Judiciary Democrats met Saturday to prepare for the session, including staging a mock hearing in the same room where Monday's session hearing will take place. Also during Saturday's session: Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe spoke to committee Democrats, according to a separate source familiar with the matter.

On Saturday evening, Collins called for Democrats to postpone Monday's hearing.

"Chairman Nadler has no choice but to postpone Monday's hearing in the wake of a last-minute document transmission that shows just how far Democrats have gone to pervert basic fairness," Collins said in a statement.

The statement alleges that Democrats "transmitted thousands of pages of documents to House Judiciary Republicans less than 48 hours before Judiciary's hearing scheduled to examine impeachment presentations from Intelligence and Judiciary Committees."

CNN has reached out to Nadler for comment on Collins' letter.

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