Latest impeachment updates
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the Judiciary Committee to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump.
- The committee will hold its next hearing on Monday, December 9, at 9 a.m.
- President Trump tells Democrats "if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast."
- The House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing of the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, featuring testimony from four constitutional law experts over the course of eight hours.
Washington -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the time has come to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump, following testimony from four constitutional scholars on Wednesday.
"Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders, and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment," Pelosi said in a statement on the Speaker's Balcony Thursday.
Her announcement comes after the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the constitutional grounds for impeachment over the course of eight hours from four experts, three of whom testified to their belief that the president committed impeachable offenses in his dealings with Ukraine.
The committee announced its next hearing will be held Monday. It held its first hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, featuring testimony from constitutional law scholars Noah Feldman, Pamela Karlan, Michael Gerhardt and Jonathan Turley, a CBS News legal analyst.
Feldman, Karlan and Gerhardt were called to testify by the Democratic members, and were in agreement in their belief that Mr. Trump had committed impeachable offenses under the Constitution.
"If what we're talking about is not impeachable, than nothing is impeachable," Gerhardt said.
Turley was called by the Republicans and was the sole witness to say he did not believe impeachment was warranted, based on the findings of the House investigation. Republicans relied on his testimony to bolster their arguments about the unfairness of the proceedings and lack of evidence of wrongdoing.
"If you're going to accuse a president of bribery, you need to make it stick, because you're trying to remove a duly elected president of the United States," Turley testified.
Democrats rejects criticisms of pace of impeachment inquiry
4:16 p.m.: Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill pushed back against the argument by Republicans that they are pushing forward with voting on impeachment too quickly. Jonathan Turley, the legal expert called by Republicans to testify before the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, argued that going "fast is not good for impeachment."
"Narrow, fast impeachments have failed," Turley testified.
However, Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu pointed out that the House voted to impeach President Clinton just 72 days after voting to begin an inquiry. He also said the body of evidence was enough to impeach Mr. Trump.
"You already have a huge amount of evidence, and the most damning evidence came out first. It was the White House call record," Lieu said, referring to the memo summarizing Mr. Trump's July 25 call with the Ukrainian president. "If the president had exculpatory evidence, he would present it. If Mick Mulvaney could clear this up, he would have had him testify already."
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal condemned the White House for refusing to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry.
"We have had enormous amounts of information put before us. It's just that the Republicans have refused to engage at any level. So for them to now say that, you know, the process is moving too quickly -- they should have engaged with us a long time ago," she argued.
Congressman Eric Swalwell, one of the few members who sits on both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, also argued the perceived swiftness of the process was due to obstruction from the White House.
"In Professor Turley's perfect world, the president allows documents to be turned over, witnesses to come forward and does not invoke upcoming elections. But that's not the situation we have," Swalwell said. -- Grace Segers
Intel Committee didn't subpoena call records of lawmakers or their staff, spokesman says
2:34 p.m.: A spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee said the committee did not issue subpoenas for call records of members of Congress, including the top Republican on the committee, Devin Nunes.
"The Committee did not subpoena call records for any member of Congress or their staff, including Ranking Member Nunes, or for any journalist, including Mr. Solomon," spokesman Patrick Boland said in a statement, referring to John Solomon, a journalist who reported allegations about the Bidens by Ukrainian officials. "Any questions about the fact that Members, congressional staff, or journalists appear in call records released by the Committee should be directed at those individuals, who were in contact with individuals of investigative interest to the impeachment inquiry."
Nunes and Solomon both appear in call logs included in the Intelligence Committee's report on the impeachment investigation. The report includes records of calls the two had with Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas, his now-indicted business associate, in April.
In an interview with conservative commentator Mark Levin on Wednesday, Nunes said Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff informed him about a subpoena for the call records on September 30, which led to the production of 3,000 pages of phone records in November. Nunes said he only recognized Giuliani's number in the records, and claimed Schiff and the Democratic members were using the records to "smear" him in the report. -- Olivia Gazis and Stefan Becket
Why George Washington is a "model" for the presidency
2:26 p.m.: On "CBS This Morning," "60 Minutes" correspondent John Dickerson offered context as to why the Constitution is "at the absolute center of the presidency," best exemplified by George Washington.
"What's the question at stake here? Did the president use his powers of office for himself and not his country? When they created the Constitution, they sat George Washington at the front of the room as a model for building the presidency. Why? Because twice in his career he'd given up power and not done the thing for himself but protected the republic. And they said that's what we want in a president," Dickerson said. "He both did it when he gave up his commission as commander of the Continental Army and also when his soldiers tried to stage a coup against the government. Washington heard about the coup and said, 'How dare you, don't you do that, you must protect the republic.' That was the model for the office."
Read more here.
White House: Pelosi pursuing "selfish political desires" on impeachment
12:55 p.m.: White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham reacted to Pelosi's announcement, saying the "sham" impeachment inquiry "is a blatant, purely partisan attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election" and an attempt to "advance her selfish political desires."
"Democrats in Congress have clearly abused their power. Democrats in Congress have lied to the American people. Democrats in Congress have made a mockery of the law," Grisham said in a statement. "How many Democrats will join her driving right off the cliff with this illegitimate impeachment hoax?"
Grisham said the inquiry "has violated every precedent" and "moves this Country toward the most partisan and illegitimate subversion of the Constitution in our history." -- Stefan Becket
White House preparing for full Senate trial
12:17 p.m.: The White House is preparing for the possibility of a full Senate trial, which is what Mr. Trump has repeatedly and publicly said he wants. The plan is divided into two parts -- reviewing the existing record and preparing witnesses.
That said, two senior administration officials advise to hit "pause" on reports they're going to put "live witnesses" on the stand instead of using taped depositions.
"Unless you know exactly what's going to come out of someone's mouth for every possible answer, it's always dangerous to put someone on the stand," one senior administration official noted.
The cost-risk analysis depends on what the House does, and the senior administration officials point to the fact that the preparation will be very different once Democrats actually draft articles of impeachment. The specific articles will drive the strategy and the decision on whether to have live witnesses. Pelosi called for the drafting of the articles in an announcement Thursday morning.
Senior administration officials suggested vulnerable Democrats might only be willing to vote for some articles, but not all of them.
As for studying the record, the White House's legal team has gone over all the available transcripts, witness testimony, and other pieces of evidence to get ready for a trial. Despite what Mr. Trump "prefers," senior administration officials say there's still a chance Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a swift vote. -- Weijia Jiang
McCarthy says Pelosi's impeachment announcement has "weakened" the country
11:43 a.m.: In his weekly press conference, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy lambasted Pelosi for her morning announcement, saying that it had "weakened this nation," and he said it was a "sad day."
"It's not a day I hope America ever repeats," McCarthy said. He also accused Democrats of moving through the process too quickly.
McCarthy also addressed Pelosi's reply to a reporter's question about whether she hates the president. She said that "as a Catholic," she doesn't hate anybody. McCarthy said that he would "take the speaker at her word, but if she paused for a moment, and listened to the facts, she would not have made that determination" about impeachment. -- Grace Segers
Pelosi declines to say whether Mueller report will be included in articles of impeachment
11:01 a.m.: Speaking in her weekly press conference less than two hours after calling for articles of impeachment to be drafted, Pelosi declined to say whether the articles would include evidence collected by special counsel Robert Mueller.
"I'm not going to talk about that. My chairmen will be making the recommendation," she said, referring to the chairs of the committees who will be drafting the articles.
She also denied again that the decision to vote on impeachment was not a political one.
"This has absolutely nothing to do with politics," Pelosi said. Asked whether she was worried about how the vote would affect the country, Pelosi replied, "I'm really sorry the president made this necessary by his complete disregard for the vision of the founders."
Pelosi also had a very sharp response to a reporter who asked whether she hated the president.
"As a Catholic I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me ... So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that," she said. -- Grace Segers
House Judiciary Committee schedules its second hearing
11:00 a.m.: The House Judiciary Committee said Thursday will hold its second hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Monday, December 9 at 9 a.m.
That hearing will consist of presentations from counsels for the intelligence and judiciary committees. Both the majority and minority counsels of the committees will be presenting evidence related to the impeachment probe.
The House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing Wednesday, during which lawmakers heard testimony from four constitutional scholars. -- Melissa Quinn and Grace Segers
Trump tweets warning in reaction to Pelosi's announcement
10:18 a.m.: Mr. Trump tweeted his reaction to Pelosi's announcement later on Thursday morning, excoriating the "Do Nothing, Radical Left Democrats."
"The Do Nothing, Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING. They already gave up on the ridiculous Mueller "stuff," so now they hang their hats on two totally appropriate (perfect) phone calls with the Ukrainian President," Mr. Trump wrote.
"This will mean that the beyond important and seldom used act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind. The good thing is that the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!" he continued in a second tweet.
....This will mean that the beyond important and seldom used act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind. The good thing is that the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2019
-- Grace Segers
Trump to Democrats: If you're going to impeach, "do it now, fast"
9:55 a.m.: President Trump accused House Democrats of "demeaning" the country and dared them to impeach him quickly to allow for a "fair trial" in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Mr. Trump took to Twitter to chide House Democrats for the ongoing impeachment inquiry they launched in September, as well as the hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, which featured testimony from four constitutional law scholars.
"The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business," Mr. Trump said in a pair of tweets.
"We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is," he added. "I was elected to 'Clean the Swamp,' and that's what I am doing!"
The president then took to Twitter again after Pelosi's announcement calling for articles of impeachment to be drafted.
"The Do Nothing, Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING. They already gave up on the ridiculous Mueller 'stuff,' so now they hang their hats on two totally appropriate (perfect) phone calls with the Ukrainian President," the president tweeted an hour after Pelosi's announcement.
"...This will mean that the beyond important and seldom used act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind. The good thing is that the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!" he continued.
-- Melissa Quinn
White House press secretary says they look forward to Senate trial
9:30 a.m.: Moments after Pelosi called for the drafting of articles of impeachment, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham took to Twitter to both condemn Pelosi and say the White House looks forward to a "fair trial in the Senate."
Grisham's statement assumes the president will indeed be impeached.
"@SpeakerPelosi & the Democrats should be ashamed. @realDonaldTrump has done nothing but lead our country - resulting in a booming economy, more jobs & a stronger military, to name just a few of his major accomplishments. We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate," she wrote on Twitter.
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale suggested the push for articles of impeachment cannot be taken seriously with Election Day less than one year away.
"We are less than a year away from Election Day 2020 and Democrats can't possibly explain to the American people why they want to take the decision of who should be president out of the hands of voters," Parscale said in a statement. "But impeaching the President has always been their goal, so they should just get on with it so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and expose The Swamp for what it is. Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Schiff, and Hunter Biden should testify, and then we can get back to the business of our country."
Pelosi: "I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment"
9:20 a.m.: In a statement on Thursday morning, Pelosi called on Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump.
"Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders, and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment," Pelosi said.
Speaking on the Speaker's Balcony in the Capitol, Pelosi said that Mr. Trump had "abused his power for his own personal political benefit" when he asked the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival and a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.
"The president's actions have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when he says and acts upon the belief, Article II says I can do whatever I want. No, his wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution, a separation of powers, three co-equal branches, each a check and balance on the other," Pelosi said.
"Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections," she continued. -- Grace Segers
Giuliani meets Ukrainian lawmaker in Kiev
7:46 a.m.: A member of Ukraine's parliament said Thursday that he had met with Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, in Kiev about creating a group focused on stopping corruption in Ukraine.
Andriy Derkach confirmed the meeting with Giuliani on his Facebook page, where he posted photos of their meeting and lamented that Ukraine has ended up at the center of corruption scandals. Derkach said he and Giuliani discussed the alleged abuse of U.S. funds by Ukrainian officials.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Giuliani was traveling to Budapest and Kiev to meet former Ukrainian prosecutors as he works on a documentary about the ongoing impeachment inquiry. The former New York City mayor tweeted Tuesday that he was working with One America News Network, a conservative television outlet, on a project "intended to bring before the American people information Schiff (recently disclosed investor in Franklin Templton) 'Star chamber' proceedings have covered up."
Giuliani has mentioned Derkach in interviews before. In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News in October, he parroted unconfirmed claims from Derkach that Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company that employed Hunter Biden, paid former Vice President Joe Biden $900,000 in lobbying fees. -- Melissa Quinn
Pelosi to deliver statement on impeachment inquiry status
6:30 a.m. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be delivering a statement on the status of the impeachment inquiry at 9 a.m. ET.
On Wednesday morning, at a Democratic caucus meeting, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff presented his report on impeachment and according to the statement of a senior Democratic aide, "received a standing ovation from Members for the work of his committee."
Pelosi then spoke about the gravity of the moment, the aide said, and told the caucus that members "must give room for their colleagues to reach their own conclusions as the inquiry proceeds."
Democratic lawmakers then talked about what they were hearing in their districts from constituents and "overwhelmingly indicated that they want to continue to advance the inquiry on its current deliberative path - one step at a time." -- Rebecca Kaplan
White House staffer Kash Patel denies he was back channel to Trump on Ukraine
6:00 a.m.: As a special assistant to the president, Kash Patel's area of responsibility includes counterterrorism, but over the last few weeks, he's also been enmeshed in Ukraine. One witness suggested he may have been part of a back channel to the president on Ukraine, and the 300-page impeachment report released by House Intelligence Committee Democrats Tuesday said that Patel spoke with Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, in the spring, before nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was suspended.
According to the call records revealed in the report, Patel had a 25-minute phone conversation with Giuliani on May 10. Five minutes after their call, Giuliani spoke with an unidentified number for 17 minutes and then with associate Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American who has been accused of illegally funneling foreign money to U.S. political candidates and of aiding Giuliani in his Ukraine investigations.
In an exclusive interview with CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge, Patel denied the Giuliani call touched on Ukraine.
Read more here.