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House attorneys spar over arguments for and against impeachment

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Democrats and Republicans clash in hearing as impeachment vote looms 02:19

Latest impeachment hearing updates

  • The House Judiciary Committee held its second impeachment hearing on Monday, the first since Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will go ahead with articles of impeachment.
  • The hearing lasted nearly 10 hours and included presentations from Democratic and Republican investigators about President Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
  • Download the free CBS News app to stream live coverage of the impeachment hearing.

Washington — Democrats and Republicans sparred over the evidence collected in the impeachment inquiry and the severity of the allegations against President Trump, laying out the case for and against impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee's second hearing.

Attorneys from the Intelligence Committee presented their findings from the first phase of the investigation, providing conflicting accounts of Mr. Trump's dealings with Ukraine as Democrats prepare to draft articles of impeachment. The hearing featured no new revelations, instead giving each side the opportunity to reiterate their positions.

Democratic Chairman Jerry Nadler and his counsel reiterated what is by now a familiar argument — that the president put his personal interests above the interests of the country to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee vigorously protested the proceedings and repeatedly tried to stall the hearing by offering motions that were doomed to fail. They argued the evidence collected in the probe is ambiguous and does not establish the central allegations at the center of the probe.

The marathon hearing lasted nearly 10 hours and served as the opening act of this chapter of the impeachment probe, one which could culminate with the introduction of articles of impeachment as soon as this week.

Monday's hearing featured testimony from Steve Castor, the Republican counsel on the Judiciary Committee; Daniel Goldman, the Democratic director of investigations on the Intelligence Committee; and Barry Berke, special oversight counsel for the Judiciary Committee.


Nadler says Trump "put himself before his country"

After nearly 10 hours, Nadler concluded the hearing by saying Congress has a constitutional duty to move forward on impeachment, chastising his Republican colleagues for their defense of the president.

"We know that President Trump has put himself before his country," Nadler said. "I am struck by the fact that my Republican colleagues have offered no serious scrutiny of the evidence at hand. They have talked about everything else, but they have offered not one substantive word in the president's defense."

Nadler said Republicans have avoided defending the president on the substance of the allegations "because there is, at base, no real defense for the president's actions."

"The facts are clear. The danger to our democracy is clear. And our duty is clear," Nadler said.

By Stefan Becket

Collins' closing statement: "This is not what the Judiciary Committee should be doing"

Collins, the ranking member, said the committee was focused on the wrong things. 

The Georgia Republican summarized the findings of the Justice Department's watchdog report, pointing to the investigation's handful of procedural missteps. He did not highlight the report's finding that the investigation was not politically biased. 

Collins said he thinks Monday's hearing will undoubtedly be the committee's final hearing, as the Democrats haven't agreed to a hearing day for the minority.

"It'll be the first impeachment that is partisan, and facts are not agreed to," Collins said as he closed out his remarks.

By Kathryn Watson

FBI director: "No information" indicating Ukraine interfered in 2016 election

In an interview with ABC News, FBI Director Christopher Wray refuted the notion that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 campaign, a key argument Republicans have deployed to defend the president's actions.

"We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election," Wray said. He added that "as far as the [2020] election itself goes, we think Russia represents the most significant threat."

By Stefan Becket

9 hours in, Nadler says hearing will go until votes are called

Day 7, Part 10: Committee members continue grilling witnesses on impeachment 47:43

As the hearing entered its ninth hour, Nadler announced the hearing would continue until House votes are called around 6:30, and if the hearing hasn't finished by that point, members would return to conclude the proceedings after votes.

At this point, nearly all Republicans have concluded their five-minute rounds. Nadler also said he has no announcements about any further impeachment hearings at this point.

By Kathryn Watson

Trump to meet with Russian foreign minister at White House on Tuesday

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shown in a picture posted online with President Trump during a closed-door meeting at the Oval Office on May 10, 2017. Twitter/@mfa_russia

A senior administration official said the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House on Tuesday to "discuss the state of the bilateral relationship."

White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the administration was working on setting up the meeting in the interest of "reciprocity."

"When Pompeo has gone to Russia, Putin's seen him. And one of the things that we've said with the Chinese and the Russians and others, is we want reciprocity," O'Brien said.

By Stefan Becket

18 lawmakers left to ask questions

Approaching the eight-hour mark of the hearing, 18 members have yet to get their five minutes of questioning. Here's who's left: 

  • Tom McClintock, Republican of California
  • Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland
  • Debbie Lesko, Republican of Arizona
  • Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington
  • Guy Reschenthaler, Republican of Pennsylvania
  • Val Demings, Democrat of Florida
  • Ben Cline, Republican of Virginia
  • Lou Correa, Democrat of California
  • Kelly Armstrong, Republican of North Dakota
  • Mary Gay Scanlon, Democrat of Pennsylvania, vice chair
  • Greg Steube, Republican of Florida
  • Sylvia Garcia, Democrat of Texas
  • Joe Neguse, Democrat of Colorado
  • Lucy McBath, Democrat of Georgia
  • Greg Stanton, Democrat of Arizona
  • Madeleine Dean, Democrat of Pennsylvania
  • Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Democrat of Florida
  • Veronica Escobar, Democrat of Texas
By Stefan Becket

Jordan takes aim at Sondland: "That's the best they got?"

Republican Congressman Jim Jordan claimed House Democrats have built their case against Mr. Trump around testimony provided by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and knocked his political opponents for hanging impeachment on a witness who had to revise his testimony.

"That's the best they got? The guy who had to file an addendum to his testimony? The guy that had to file the clarification?" Jordan asked Castor.

The Ohio Republican accused Democrats of basing a case for impeachment "around a lot of hearsay," including from Sondland. Jordan added that the ambassador testified that Zelensky would not get a meeting or call with Mr. Trump, or military assistance from the United States unless Zelensky announced an investigation into Biden, but was incorrect in that Zelensky received all three.

"The guy who said none of that was going to happen is the guy they built their case around," he said.

By Melissa Quinn

Gohmert suggests Biden could be impeached if he wins

Representative Louie Gohmert decried the standards Democrats are using to build a case for impeaching Mr. Trump. The outspoken Texas Republican blasted what he described as a congressional "kangaroo" court.

Gohmert said he's "scared" for his country, considering what Democrats find impeachable. He suggested that Republicans could impeach a potential President Biden under the same standard being applied to Mr. Trump.

"Just think, we've had people already mention, you know, 'the next president, Joe Biden.' We're told, 'Gee, he may be the next president.' Well, we've already got the forms. All we have to do is eliminate Donald Trump's name and put Joe Biden's name in there, because he's on video," Gohmert said. "He and his son. He basically has admitted to the crime that's being hoisted on the president improperly. So I'm scared for my country, because I've never seen anything like this."

By Kathryn Watson

Republican Sensenbrenner calls on Schiff to "man up"

As the hearing resumed with questioning from members, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, brought up the Justice Department inspector general's report and the use of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, expressing concern that the U.S. is becoming a "surveillance state." 

As he railed against the use of FISA warrants, Sensenbrenner said that if Schiff decided to "man up" and testify before the committee, "I think we could have gotten to the bottom of this." 

By Kathryn Watson

Committee breaks for recess

The committee is breaking for recess for roughly 15 minutes. After that, members will resume five-minute rounds of questioning.

By Kathryn Watson

Collins calls release of phone records featuring Nunes a "gratuitous drive-by"

Nadler launched the five-minute rounds of member questioning, which will alternate between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats shot down a Republican's motion for a 30-minute break in a party-line vote, an indication of how divided the committee is.

Collins then began his five-minute round of questioning, circling back to the subpoenaed phone records. The Georgia Republican slammed Democrats for including call records with Nunes' name in their impeachment report, declaring it a partisan smear.

"It was a drive-by. It was a gratuitous drive-by," Collins said, accusing Democrats of smearing Nunes. "That was nothing more than a smear campaign."

Collins concluded his round without asking Goldman any specific questions.

In response to Nadler earlier, Goldman emphasized the phone records include the numbers involved in the calls and their duration, not the contents of the calls themselves. He said the committee did not issue subpoenas for records of calls by any members of Congress or staff members.

By Kathryn Watson

"Where's Adam?": Republicans demand to hear from Schiff

Beginning his round of questioning, an animated Collins — seated feet from a poster of a milk carton with Schiff pictured as "missing" — asked, "Where's Adam?" and insisted he appear to testify.

The top Republican on the committee vigorously questioned Goldman over how the committee obtained call records that were included in that committee's report last week. The logs included calls involving Representative Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, among others. 

Collins pressed Goldman to say who ordered the subpoenas, but Goldman declined to give specifics. Goldman did say that records were only subpoenaed for those who had already been subpoenaed by the committee. 

"I'm done with you for right now," an annoyed Collins said. 

As the questioning continued, Representative Matt Gaetz yelled at Goldman, "The implication is we want Schiff in that chair, not you!" 

That outburst irked Nadler, who called the hearing to order and suggested that Gaetz calm down.

By Kathryn Watson

Justice Department watchdog releases report on Russia probe

Report on origins of Russia investigation released by Justice Department inspector general 03:06

The Department of Justice inspector general released a much-anticipated report on the legality and legitimacy of surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide and the origins of the investigation that became special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

The inspector general did not find the FBI showed political bias in the investigation.

"We did not find any documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI's decision to conduct these operations," the report said.

The report finds that the FBI investigation opened in July 2016, also known as "Crossfire Hurricane," was justified and properly predicated.

"We found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication," the report said.

Read more here.

By Stefan Becket

Republicans protest Berke's questioning of attorneys

GOP Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas and Andy Biggs of Arizona, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, both objected to questioning of Goldman and Castor by Berke, who earlier in the hearing delivered an opening statement as the Democrats' special oversight counsel for the House Judiciary Committee.

"It is unprecedented for a persons to come and sit, who you've described as a witness, to then return to the bench and begin questioning," Biggs said of Berke, who is seated next to Nadler on the dais.

Gohmert, meanwhile, protested Nadler's description of Berke earlier in the hearing as a "witness."

"You don't get to be a witness and a judge in the same case," he said.

Nadler ultimately permitted Berke to continue questioning Castor and Goldman.

By Melissa Quinn

GOP counsel disagrees that Biden was a "leading Democratic contender"

Day 7, Part 7: Democrats question witnesses on evidence in impeachment inquiry 52:57

As questioning controlled by the chairman got underway, Berke, the Democratic counsel, asked Castor if he would agree that Biden was a "leading Democratic contender to face President Trump in 2020."

"I wouldn't agree with that," Castor replied.

"You disagree with it?" Berke replied. "So sir, it's your testimony that President Trump did not view Biden to be a legitimate contender?"

"I don't know what President Trump believed or didn't believe. But it's too early," Castor said.

By Stefan Becket

Republican counsel: Evidence doesn't support allegations against Trump

Day 7, Part 6: Stephen Castor presents Republicans' report on impeachment inquiry 46:03

Castor appeared before lawmakers once more to present the findings of House Intelligence Committee Republicans' report on the impeachment inquiry.

He rejected assertions from Democrats that the evidence shows Mr. Trump abused his power by withholding a meeting or military assistance to Ukraine to pressure Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. He also rejected the notion that the president obstructed Congress during its impeachment investigation.

Castor highlighted statements from Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials, who have said they did not feel pressured to investigate Biden. Additionally, Castor there was a "legitimate basis" for Mr. Trump to have concerns about Hunter Biden's role on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, and said witness testimony about corruption in Ukraine and Zelensky's status as a relatively unknown politician explained Mr. Trump's hesitancy to meet with the new Ukrainian president.

By Melissa Quinn

Nadler denies GOP requests for subpoenas

In a letter to Collins, Nadler rejected Republicans' requests for eight subpoenas for testimony, including for the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

Nadler pointed to committee votes to reject motions to compel testimony from Schiff and the whistleblower and said he sees "no reason to reconsider those requests."

"Moreover, the Intelligence Committee report has adduced independent evidence for its conclusions that do not rely upon the whistleblower in any way," Nadler wrote.

He rejected the five other witness requests that were also made by House Intelligence Republicans, citing Schiff again, who said during earlier hearings that he would not allow the impeachment inquiry to "serve ... as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016" and that the requests are outside the scope of the inquiry.

Nadler said the same is true of the one other request that was not made by House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee — the intelligence community official who spoke with Vindman about the call. 

By Rebecca Kaplan

Committee takes 15-minute recess

The committee is taking a 15-minute recess before the presentation by Castor, the Republican counsel. He will speak for 45 minutes, followed by 90 minutes of questioning by Nadler and Collins or their designated attorneys. Then the hearing will move into five-minute rounds for members to ask questions.

By Rebecca Kaplan

Goldman presents Democrats' key findings from impeachment probe

In closing his presentation, Goldman laid out four "critical findings" from the Intelligence Committee's report on the investigation:

  • "First, President Trump directed a scheme to pressure Ukraine into opening two investigations that would benefit his 2020 reelection campaign, not the U.S. national interest."
  • "Second, President Trump used his official office and the official tools of U.S. foreign policy — the withholding of an Oval Office meeting and $391 million in security assistance — to pressure Ukraine into meeting his demands."
  • "Third, everyone was in the loop — from the Vice President and the Acting Chief of Staff, to the Secretary of State and Secretary of Energy."
  • "Fourth, despite public discovery of this scheme, which prompted the President to release the aid, he has not given up. He and his agents continue to solicit Ukrainian interference in our election, causing an imminent threat to our elections and our national security."
By Stefan Becket

Democratic counsel lays out Intelligence Committee report

Day 7, Part 5: Daniel Goldman presents Democrats' report on impeachment inquiry 55:04

Goldman started off, condensing the House Intelligence Committee Democrats' findings and described the president's actions as a "clear and present danger" to the nation's elections and to national security.

"President Trump directed a months-long scheme to solicit foreign help in his 2020 reelection campaign, withholding official acts from the government of Ukraine in order to coerce and secure political interference in our domestic affairs," Goldman testified in his prepared remarks.

"As part of the scheme, President Trump applied increasing pressure on the president of Ukraine to publicly announce two investigations helpful to his personal reelection efforts," Goldman said. "He applied this pressure himself and through his agents within and outside of the U.S. government by conditioning a desperately-sought Oval Office meeting and $391 million in taxpayer-funded, congressionally-appropriated military assistance — vital to Ukraine's ability to fend off Russian aggression — on the announcement of political investigations helpful to his personal interests."

Goldman also suggested the process has been fair, and claimed Republicans have had ample opportunities to make their own counter arguments.

By Kathryn Watson

Intelligence Committee counsels sworn in

Republican staff attorney Steve Castor, left, and Democratic staff attorney Daniel Goldman and are sworn in to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, December 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill. Alex Brandon / AP

Castor, the Republican counsel, was sworn in, along with Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman.

The two lawyers conducted the questioning during the House Intelligence Committee's portion of the impeachment proceedings and are presenting the findings from the investigation. Goldman and Castor will have 45 minutes each to present their case.

By Kathryn Watson

Republican counsel defends Trump from Ukraine allegations

Day 7, Part 4: Stephen Castor's opening statement 25:35

Stephen Castor, House Judiciary Committee counsel for the Republicans, delivered an opening statement asserting Mr. Trump's conduct does not constitute a high crime or misdemeanor.

But before Castor could begin speaking, Congressman Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, raised a point of order claiming Berke violated a House rule by using the language that impugned the motives of the president and motioned for some of Berke's words to be removed from the record.

Nadler, however, said committee witnesses are not subject to the rules of decorum, and after a party-line committee vote, the motion was tabled.

Castor accused House Democrats of launching a partisan impeachment probe that is lacking in proof and said articles of impeachment will be drafted based on a thin record.

"Democrats seek to impeach President Trump not because they have evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor, but because they disagreed with his policies and his actions," Castor said, reading several statements from House Democrats earlier this year vowing to impeach Mr. Trump.

Castor walked through the numerous investigations congressional Democrats have launched into Mr. Trump since taking control of the House, and suggested their efforts were aimed solely at finding an impeachable offense.

"This unfair process reflects the degree to which Democrats are obsessed with impeaching President Trump by any means necessary," he said. "The Democrats went searching for a set of facts on which to impeach the president — the emoluments clause, the president's business and financial records, the Mueller report and allegations of obstruction there — before settling on the Ukraine phone call."

By Melissa Quinn

Democratic counsel presents case for impeachment

Day 7, Part 3: Barry Berke's opening statement 34:32

Barry Berke, special oversight counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, launched into a summary of witness testimony over the last few weeks, making the case that the president withheld security assistance to Ukraine to further his own political interests.

Berke used video clips of witnesses including former National Security Council official Fiona Hill and State Department official David Hale.

"A president cannot abuse his power to secure an election. He cannot do that at the expense of the American people," he said. "That is an impeachable offense."

By Kathryn Watson

Republicans object to hearing in heated exchange

Before the Democratic counsel began his presentation, Republicans — particularly Collins and Trump-allied Representative Matt Gaetz — loudly voiced their objections to the hearing itself. 

Collins attempted to object, and was gaveled over by Nadler. 

Then Gaetz interjected, yelling that unelected lawyers shouldn't be given so much time to present their claims while elected members of Congress have to sit quietly. 

"You will not attempt to disrupt the proceedings," Nadler responded, dismissing Gaetz and pounding his gavel. 

Republicans have repeatedly resorted to procedural objections in an attempt to stall the impeachment hearings.

By Kathryn Watson

Collins declares hearing a waste of time

Day 7, Part 2: Doug Collins' opening statement 16:49

Representative Doug Collins, the top Republican on the committee, suggested Monday's hearing is pointless, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already called for the drafting of articles of impeachment. 

Collins, delivering his opening statement, said anyone who doesn't see the impeachment process as a "baked deal" is fooling themselves, and Democrats have been trying to impeach the president since he took office. 

The top Republican declared Monday's hearing a "focus group" hearing, saying Democrats still have to convince the American people of their case for impeachment.

By Kathryn Watson

Protester who interrupted hearing is Infowars host

The pro-Trump protester who interrupted the first minutes of the House Judiciary Committee's hearing is Owen Shroyer, a host for Infowars.

Shroyer livestreamed himself shouting not long after Nadler gaveled in the hearing and accused the chairman of committing crimes and "treason." Shroyer posted the five-minute video to his Twitter account.

"America is done with this. America is sick of the treason committed by the Democrat Party," Shroyer shouted. 

Shroyer was escorted out of the hearing room by Capitol Police and left the building where the hearing is being held.

By Melissa Quinn

Nadler gavels in hearing and is immediately interrupted by protester

Nadler gaveled in the hearing shortly after 9 a.m., kicking off the second House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Barely two minutes into the hearing, a pro-Trump protester in the crowd stood up and shouted that Nadler is committing "treason," and the president is "innocent." The protester was immediately escorted by Capitol Police.

"Americans are sick of your impeachment scam," the protester said.

After reminding the public that demonstrations are not allowed in the hearing room, Nadler continued with his opening statement.

The Democratic chairman recalled why the founding fathers created the option of impeachment in the first place. It's meant to address "serious threats" to democratic institutions, like "free and fair" elections, Nadler noted.

"President Trump put himself before country," Nadler said. "We agree that when the elections themselves are threatened by enemies foreign or domestic, we cannot wait until the next election to address the threat. We surely agree that no public official — including and especially the president of the United States — should use his public office for private gain."

By Kathryn Watson

Impeachment hearing schedule: How the hearing will play out

After opening statements from Nadler and Ranking Member Doug Collins, the committee will hear presentations from the Judiciary Committee lawyers, followed by the presentations from the attorneys for the Intelligence Committee. 

After the presentations, Nadler and Collins will each control 45 minutes for questioning, which they can delegate to staff counsel. Nadler can extend these periods of questioning. If he doesn't, it will then move to five-minute rounds from members, alternating between parties.

By Stefan Becket

White House won't participate in hearing

The White House said last week that it won't send lawyers to participate in Monday's hearing. In a letter to Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote that "House Democrats have wasted enough of America's time with this charade."

"As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness," Cipollone wrote. "Nevertheless, the speaker of the House yesterday ordered House Democrats to proceed with articles of impeachment before your committee has heard a single shred of evidence ... Whatever your course, you should choose, as the president has recently stated: '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.'"

By Stefan Becket

Who's appearing at Monday's impeachment hearing?

Impeachment hearing: Lawyers from both sides to lay out evidence 02:23

The Judiciary Committee will hear testimony from four individuals: the Democratic and Republican attorneys for the Judiciary Committee, and the Democratic and Republican attorneys for the Intelligence Committee.

The Intelligence Committee lawyers will present their respective reports on the impeachment investigation. Democrats' report ran 300 pages and documented efforts by the president and his associates to pressure Ukraine to open investigations to benefit him politically. The account drew on testimony from dozens of witnesses in public and behind closed doors.

Republicans' report defended the president's actions and accused Democrats of waging a politically motivated witch hunt to overturn the results of the 2016 campaign. 

Both reports were released last week. 

By Stefan Becket

Nadler sends impeachment material to White House

In a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Nadler said he was sending the White House the records from the initial phase of the impeachment inquiry, led by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees.

"I am furnishing you copies of reports, records, and other materials committees having custody of records or other materials relating to whether sufficient grounds exist to impeach President Trump have transmitted to the House Judiciary Committee pursuant to H. Res. 660," Nadler wrote, referring to the resolution governing the processes of the impeachment inquiry.

By Rebecca Kaplan

How to watch Monday's impeachment hearing

By Stefan Becket

Meadows: Impeachment not "inevitable if you follow the facts"

Mark Meadows on House impeaching Trump: "I don't think it's inevitable" 06:10

Congressman Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina, said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday he does not believe it's "inevitable" the House of Representatives will impeach Mr. Trump and predicted no House Republicans will join their Democratic counterparts if articles of impeachment are brought to a vote.

"I don't think it's inevitable if you follow the facts," Meadows, a close ally of Mr. Trump, said.

Read more here.

By Melissa Quinn
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