Published: Mon, December 02, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump faces two deadlines as U.S. Congress ramps up impeachment focus

Trump faces two deadlines as U.S. Congress ramps up impeachment focus

The House Intelligence Committee is set to start reviewing a report on Monday summarizing the findings of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The committee will reportedly vote on whether to adopt the report on Tuesday.

The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee, which is due to begin weighing possible articles of impeachment against Trump next week, sent a two-page letter to the president setting a deadline of 5 pm EDT (2200 GMT) on December 6 for the president's counsel to specify intended actions under the committee's impeachment procedures.

"If they go down this road, it shows a fundamental lack of seriousness; a willingness to try to turn this into a circus, like the President would like", the Democratic leader said.

The first-in-a-series of expected Judiciary proceedings will hear testimony on the impeachment process established under the U.S. Constitution from a panel of legal experts that has yet to be named.

While it would be to Trump's advantage to have his lawyers participate, it's understandable that he's upset about the "illegitimate process", Republican Representative Tom McClintock of California, also a member of the Judiciary Committee, said on ABC.

The public phase of the formal impeachment inquiry, launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in late September, recently came to a close.

Mr. Collins said Mr. Trump's actions can be explained. The committee is then expected to draft and vote on articles of impeachment, teeing up a full House vote before the Christmas recess.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, signaled that the GOP would continue to use demands for particular witnesses to try to attack the integrity of the process.

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However, she said not all misconduct is unequivocally impeachable.

Trump has made clear he intends to portray the hearings as a partisan distraction from more urgent work of the nation.

He tweeted Saturday: 'I will be representing our Country in London at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, while the Democrats are holding the most ridiculous Impeachment hearings in history.

Since the announcement of the inquiry, House impeachment investigators have collected hundreds of hours of closed-door depositions and public testimonies from 17 current and former officials on Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to open investigations that could help his reelection campaign.

In the now-famous July 25 call with Zelensky - in which a White House-released call record has the USA leader asking his Ukrainian counterpart to "do us a favor, though" - McClintock said Trump was merely talking like the brash Manhattan real estate developer he once was, rather than using the "delicate language of diplomacy".

He added: "But I think he is a person of interest in the sense that he was at the Ukraine desk when Joe Biden was there when Hunter Biden was working for the Ukrainian oligarch". Senior Democrats have said they want to keep the inquiry focused on the Ukraine scandal.

But other Democrats, including several on the Judiciary Committee, have pushed back, arguing that they should expand their investigation to include the obstruction of justice allegations detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report and other alleged misdeeds committed by the president.

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