House makes impeachment rules official
The House took its first formal vote on impeachment Thursday, paving the way for the next phase of the probe into President Trump — including establishing the process for public hearings and procedures to allow the White House and Trump's counsel to participate.
For weeks, Republicans have denounced the proceedings, claiming closed-door nature and lack of due process amounted to a "Soviet-style" investigation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the formal resolution provides transparency into the process and will help inform lawmakers whether to impeach the president or not.
"As the inquiry proceeds, we will decide whether we'll go forward with impeachment," Pelosi said in her floor speech on Thursday. "That decision has not been made."
Impeachment investigation inches to a close
The House vote came as Tim Morrison, the outgoing senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, testified for more than eight hours after Democrats issued a subpoena for his testimony.
Morrison was one of the officials who listened to Mr. Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and told lawmakers that he was "not concerned that anything illegal was discussed."
Republicans claim Morrison's testimony proved no wrongdoing by Mr. Trump, while Democrats say he corroborated a central allegation against the president: that a U.S. ambassador told a high-ranking Ukrainian official that the release of military aid was contingent on an investigation into the Bidens.
Fiona Hill — who served in the post before Morrison assumed it — testified earlier this month that former national security adviser John Bolton directed her to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council about the effort by Gordon Sondland, Rudy Giuliani and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to pressure Ukraine for political help.
Sondland's testimony is now under scrutiny as Hill, National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and the acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor have contradicted Sondland's recollection of events.
Sondland told CBS News he would be willing to testify publicly in the next phase of the process if subpoenaed, as would Vindman if asked.
As for Bolton -- Democrats are eager for the former national security adviser to testify, but his lawyers told CBS News he would not appear without a subpoena.
According to the Associated Press, Schiff says the three separate House panels investigating impeachment could begin releasing transcripts of all the closed-door witness depositions by early next week.
"Face the Nation" Guest Lineup:
- House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R - California (@GOPLeader)
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland (@LeaderHoyer)
- Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California (@RepSpeier)
And, as always, we'll turn to our political panel for some perspective on the week:
- David Drucker of the Washington Examiner (@DavidMDrucker)
- David Nakamura of the Washington Post (@DavidNakamura)
- CBS News Chief Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes (@nancycordes)
- John Hudson of the Washington Post (@John_Hudson)
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