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Donald Trump impeachment latest: House business suspended to mourn Elijah Cummings

Mark Meadows remembers Elijah Cummings
Mark Meadows remembers Elijah Cummings 02:52

The latest news on the impeachment inquiry:

  • The House has suspended business for the rest of the week to mourn Congressman Elijah Cummings.
  • Dozens of Senate Republicans are supporting a resolution introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham condemning the impeachment inquiry.
  • On Wednesday, more than 20 Republican lawmakers refused to leave a secure hearing room to protest closed-door impeachment proceedings, delaying a deposition for more than five hours.
  • Top Republicans demanded Democrats call the whistleblower to testify publicly.
  • On the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump urged Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

Washington — The House has suspended business for the rest of the week to mourn Congressman Elijah Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who died last week at age 68. Cummings, who was the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee, was a key figure in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Democrats and Republicans, who have spent the last month fighting over the inquiry, largely put their rancor aside momentarily to pay their respects to Cummings. On Thursday, members of Congress eulogized him and on Friday, two former presidents — Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well as Hillary Clinton — will be speaking at his funeral in the hometown he loved, Baltimore.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed Cummings as the House's "North Star," and Republican Representative Mark Meadows, one of the president's closest allies, delivered a touching tribute to his frequent sparring partner Thursday.

"He's called a number of things — father, husband, friend, chairman. For me, I was privileged enough to call him a dear friend," a visibly emotional Meadows said. "Some have classified it as an unexpected friendship. But for those of us that know Elijah, it's not unexpected, or surprising."

The House canceled votes on Thursday in honor of Cummings, and the committees leading the impeachment inquiry postponed hearings until Saturday. 

The mood in the Capitol was far different a day earlier when, on Wednesday, House Republicans launched a two-pronged offensive against the impeachment inquiry, staging a five-hour sit-in to protest the closed-door proceedings while issuing a formal request for the whistleblower to testify in public.

House rules stipulate that only committee members and authorized staff members are permitted to attend depositions like the one on Wednesday. The Republicans serving on the three committees carrying out the impeachment inquiry are able to take part in the proceedings. 

The members delayed the deposition of Laura Cooper, a Defense Department official who deals with Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, for more than five hours before it eventually got underway Wednesday afternoon.

"It's finally reached the point where members just said they're so frustrated at the idea that they can't be a part of this and see what's going on," said Republican Representative Jim Jordan, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee. "So we're at a standstill."

This week, CBS News obtained a letter from the Republican ranking members of the committees demanding the whistleblower testify in public. The request was the first time Republicans formally asked Democrats to call witnesses, a possible indication they intend to pursue more traditional channels to counter the investigation even as some GOP members seek to disrupt the proceedings themselves.

Read the full story here.

On Thursday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a resolution co-sponsored by about three dozen of his colleagues, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, condemning the House for what it called a lack of transparency in the impeachment inquiry.

"Every American should be disturbed by what is taking place in the House of Representatives regarding the attempt to impeach President Trump," Graham said in a news release.

The resolution calls on Democrats in the House to hold a formal vote to initiate an impeachment inquiry, allow the president to call witnesses in his defense and give Republicans in the House minority the ability to issue subpoenas.

"It is imperative the President be able to confront his accuser, call witnesses on his behalf, and have a basic understanding of the accusations against him that would form any basis for impeachment," Graham said. "We cannot have a country where every American has rights except Donald Trump. I find the current process illegitimate and dangerous to the future of the presidency."

Democrats have dismissed the idea of holding a formal vote on opening an inquiry, which is not required under the Constitution. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has said Democrats will eventually take testimony in public and release transcripts of the closed-door proceedings.

Read the full story here.

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