WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats are planning a rapid start to their push for impeachment of President Donald Trump, with hearings and depositions starting this week.
Democratic leaders have instructed committees to move quickly — and not to lose momentum — after revelations that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his potential 2020 Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, and his family. The action is beginning even though lawmakers left town Friday for a two-week recess.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says his committee is moving “expeditiously” on hearings and subpoenas. That committee, as well as the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have scheduled depositions starting this week for State Department officials linked to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
A look at next steps as Democrats march toward an impeachment vote:
A BUSY RECESS
Members of the House Intelligence Committee have been told to be prepared to return to Washington during the break. California Rep. Jackie Speier said she has already canceled some of her previous commitments.
“We’re expected to be here,” Speier said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told the Democrats they need to “strike while the iron is hot” on impeachment, sending the committees into overdrive. Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat, said a plan is “being formed very rapidly.”
“What I know for sure is that momentum will not slow,” Himes said.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said they will have to “work harder” and “sleep less.”
LONG WITNESS LIST, QUICK TIMELINE
Schiff’s committee has been negotiating to interview the whistleblower who began the firestorm by reporting to the inspector general for the intelligence community that Trump had urged the investigations on a July phone call with Zelenskiy.
Schiff told ABC’s “This Week” that his panel had reached agreement to hear from the whistleblower, who would testify “very soon.” Schiff said the exact date would depend in part on how quickly acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire completes the security clearance process for the whistleblower’s lawyers. “We’ll keep obviously riding shotgun to make sure the acting director doesn’t delay in that clearance process,” Schiff said.
The complaint from the whistleblower, whose identity is not publicly known, was released last week after Maguire withheld it from Congress for weeks. In the complaint, the whistleblower said White House officials moved to “lock down” the details of Trump’s call by putting all the records of it on a separate computer system.
The inspector general who handled that complaint, Michael Atkinson, is slated to testify to the Intelligence Committee in private on Friday, according to a person familiar with the committee who was spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Lawmakers on the committee say they also want to speak to White House aides who were present for the call and to Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who urged the investigations. Giuliani told ABC on Sunday that he “wouldn’t cooperate” with Schiff, but if Trump “decides that he wants me to testify, of course I’ll testify.” Schiff says he hasn’t decided whether he wants to hear from Giuliani.
Democrats say they hope to finish the investigation in a matter of weeks — perhaps even before Thanksgiving.
ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT
Once the committees have finished their own investigations, the committees will submit their findings to the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees the impeachment process.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said the Intelligence Committee will be the “star of the show” as it investigates Trump’s activities related to Ukraine. Articles of impeachment would be drafted by the Judiciary Committee and, if adopted, sent to the House floor.
The Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has said he wants resolution on impeachment by the end of the year. Jayapal said that deadline “absolutely” stands, and that the plan is to be done before January, or “perhaps sooner.”
Republicans have focused their ire about impeachment on the Democrats, criticizing the probes as a rerun of a two-year investigation into Russian election interference in the 2016 election.
California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said Democrats “don’t want answers, they want a public spectacle.”
“They have been trying to reverse the results of the 2016 election since President Trump took office,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
If the House votes to approve charges against Trump, the Republican-led Senate would then hold a trial.
Some Senate Republicans have expressed concerns about Trump’s interactions with Ukraine, but there are few signs that there would be enough discontent to convict the president, who still has strong support in the GOP ranks. If Trump were impeached, it would take a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict him and remove him from office. A memorandum from Senate Republicans circulated over the weekend acknowledged it would be hard for McConnell to block an impeachment trial, but he could deflect any House-approved impeachment articles to a committee.
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has said his committee will investigate the Ukraine matter but “don’t expect us to move at light speed — that will probably happen in the House.”
A NOD TO HISTORY
Trump would join a rare group if the House moves forward toward impeachment. Only two presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Both won acquittal in the Senate.
President Richard Nixon, who faced impeachment proceedings, resigned from office in 1974.
Four People Killed, Three Injured In Early Morning Mass Shooting In Brooklyn
(NBC) — Four people are dead and three injured after an early morning shooting on Saturday in Brooklyn, New York, law enforcement officials said.
The shooting happened at 6:55 a.m. in the Crown Heights neighborhood at what New York Police Department officials described as “an illegal gambling location.”
At least 15 shots were fired, and as of Saturday morning, police had recovered two guns so far — a nine-millimeter handgun and a revolver. NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said he would not be surprised to find more.
“We have four males deceased inside,” Shea said, adding that their ages range from 32 to 49. “They are still at the scene. We are waiting on the medical examiner’s office.”
Three other people, two men, and one woman were injured by gunfire. Shea said they are being treated at a hospital and their wounds are not life-threatening. An eighth person was injured as he tried to escape the firefight.
Two of the dead men were from out of town, while the others resided in Brooklyn. It is unclear if the men who are not from Brooklyn came specifically to play at the gambling hall, which Shea said appeared to focus on card and dice games.
One Injured In New Hampshire Church Shooting
(ABC) — Authorities are investigating a shooting at a church in Pelham, New Hampshire, on Saturday morning, the governor said.
“State officials are on scene assisting local first responders in the response and investigation of a shooting in Pelham, NH,” Governor John Sununu said on Twitter.
A spokeswoman for Lowell General Hospital in Massachusetts said they are treating one victim from the shooting, but did not release any additional information.
This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates.
Live coverage of the shooting below.
Four Stabbed at Manchester Shopping Centre
Four people injured following an stabbing incident at Arndale shopping centre in Manchester.
Greater Manchester Police has confirmed it’s officers were responding to an incident at the Arndale shopping centre.
— John Greenhalgh (@JohnGre07881147) October 11, 2019
North West Ambulance Service said four people were being treated outside the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester and confirmed the callout was related to reports of a stabbing.
Videos on social media are circulating showing a man being taken into custody by police officers with tasers drawn.
This is a Breaking News Story and will be updated.