House panel to vote on Ukraine report as Trump mulls defence

House panel to vote on Ukraine report as Trump mulls defence

House panel to vote on Ukraine report as Trump mulls defence

The hearing, titled "The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment" will address the historical and constitutional basis of impeachment and the examine the intent and understanding the framers of the Constitution had when they used the term "high crimes and misdemeanors". But the report is expected to mostly focus on whether Trump abused his office by withholding military aid approved by Congress as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch investigations into Trump's political rivals.

After weeks of deriding the process as a sham, Trump has yet to say whether he or his attorneys will participate in the Judiciary hearings.

The Judiciary panel will decide whether to send impeachment charges to the full House for a vote.

The deadlines have been imposed as the impeachment inquiry into Trump enters a phase that could result in charges against the president, according to Reuters.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, calling the impeachment inquiry a "witch hunt".

While the White House has yet to signal whether attorneys for the president will be present during the panel's proceedings, the president himself will be outside of London attending a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit as Wednesday's Judiciary Committee unfolds in Washington.

The hearing, the first in a series of proceedings expected before the committee, 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.

He said Schiff himself should be called to testify before the panel.

If House Judiciary Republicans get their way, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) would be the first witness called as the impeachment inquiry moves forward.

In keeping with committee rules, panel members are expected to be able to review the report starting at 6 p.m. Monday, 24 hours before the scheduled meeting.

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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.

If the Democrats decline to call Schiff, Collins said on "Fox News Sunday", then "I really question his veracity in what he's putting in his report".

"The president may well look at this, or his counsel may well look at this, and say: Why would we want to get in here and legitimize this process, when it was made illegitimate at the beginning by shutting us out?" said Republican Rep. Tom Cole.

"I do not believe it, so I'm not going to answer a hypothetical which is created to simply say that the president did something improper", Collins remarked, adding that "he did nothing improper".

Collins has called for a wider array of witnesses at the first hearing.

"I think we all may want to hear from John Bolton".

"If he has not done anything wrong, we're certainly anxious to hear his explanation of that", Demings said. The White House has blocked the testimony of senior aides and refused to hand over requested documents relating to the probe, and Trump's congressional supporters have said little about the substance of the allegations against him.

If Democrats in the House vote to impeach Trump, the president will have a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on November 27 showed that 54% of Americans disapprove of Trump's job performance, while 43% approve.

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