(WASHINGTON) — The House Judiciary Committee on Monday will hear testimony from Democratic lawyers laying out their case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, setting off a busy two weeks on Capitol Hill expected to end with a House floor vote on the charges ahead of Christmas.As they prepare to release articles of impeachment against Trump — as early as this week — lawmakers will hear attorneys from the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees lay out evidence from the Democrats’ Ukraine investigation and argue their case that Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations that could benefit him politically.With the White House refusing to participate in the House hearings and accusing Democrats of launching unfair and “baseless” proceedings, Republicans from the same House panels are expected to argue against Democrats’ impeachment efforts and could offer some defense of the president’s actions towards Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
Here is how the hearing is unfolding:8:40 a.m.ABC’s Benjamin Siegel and Allison Pecorin reported a Democratic official told reporters on Saturday that Democrats intend to use Monday’s hearing to make their “theory of the case” against President Donald Trump and his abuse of power.Democrats, according to the official, plan to argue on Monday that Trump’s use of his office for personal political gain ahead of the election represents the “framers’ nightmare,” by acting in a way that “betrays our national security and corrupts our elections using a foreign power.”They will argue that Trump’s actions were part of a “repeated pattern,” and that the Ukraine episode is important because it represents a “future pattern,” highlighting the urgency of moving quickly to impeach the president ahead of the 2020 election.8:35 a.m.As members start to take their seats in the hearing room, ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce reports House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a difficult challenge making the final call on how broad articles of impeachment will be.She says Pelosi has to be especially mindful of the views of Democrats in swing districts.GOP Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, tells ABC News’ Tom Llamas that there is no evidence of any impeachment conduct, that Democrats can’t point to any “crimes committed.””This whole thing has been a farce,” she says.
Democratic members and aides spent the weekend in Washington preparing for the upcoming hearings. Judiciary Committee Democratic staff also released a report highlighting the historical and legal arguments behind their impeachment efforts against Trump.On Saturday, they huddled with Harvard Law School professor and constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, who’s been advising the caucus throughout the impeachment process. They also prepared for the upcoming hearing in the stately Longworth Office Building hearing room, which has hosted weeks of public impeachment proceedings.Working with committee and leadership staff behind closed doors, they prepared their questions for Monday’s hearing, with former Hill staffers playing the roles of committee Republicans, according to sources familiar with the preparations.They also discussed the potential charges against Trump, which they’re expected to introduce and approve in the Judiciary Committee later this week.”We need to make it clear within those articles that there is a pattern of conduct here, that Ukraine was the most egregious example of the president abusing his office while he was president of the United States, shaking down a foreign nation to interfere in our elections,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said Sunday. “We need to be focused, we need to be clear, we need to present the best possible case if we are moving in this direction.”In an interview with CNN Sunday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., did not commit to including evidence of obstruction of justice from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in the forthcoming articles.”We have a very rock-solid case,” Nadler said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “I think the case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat.”House Republicans are expected to argue that the Democrats’ case falls short, that they lack sufficient firsthand evidence to conclusively charge Trump with abusing his power and undermining U.S. national security in his dealings with Ukraine.In requests for additional witnesses and information, they have outlined a potential GOP strategy for a Senate impeachment trial that could focus on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his business dealings in Ukraine, as well as the intelligence community whistleblower behind the complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
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