House Judiciary Committee Invites Trump to Testify in First Impeachment Hearing

(INSET: Donald Trump) House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) speaks during a news conference, on Capitol Hill to highlight the MORE Act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act) legislation in Washington, DC on November 19, 2019. (Photo by Olivier Douliery / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty, Mark Wilson/Getty

The House Judiciary Committee announced Tuesday that the panel will hold its inaugural impeachment hearing next week and has invited President Donald Trump to testify.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said the December 4 hearing, called the “the constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment,” is expected to feature legal experts weighing on purported evidence of President Trump committing impeachable offenses during his July 25 telephone call with the leader of Ukraine.

In a whistleblower complaint, a partisan CIA officer mischaracterized President Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, alleging the president pressured the European leader to investigate allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, in exchange for U.S. military aid. The White House countered this framing of the call with a transcript of the conversation showing neither Trump nor Zelensky tying the potential investigation to the aid money.

Nadler’s announcement comes after the House Intelligence Committee held a series of public hearings on impeachment. The House Democrats’ decision to shift inquiry into the public view came after weeks of pressure from Republicans, who accused House intelligence panel chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) of conducting closed-door depositions in a bid to selectively leak witnesses’ transcripts to the media to boost the public’s approval of impeachment.

During last week’s high-stakes hearings, several witnesses testified that they believe no “quid pro quo” occurred on the Trump-Zelensky call, with the exception of U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, who claimed the contrary. However, in a significant exchange with Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), Sondland confirmed nobody told him that the president sought to tie the aid to an investigation into the Bidens.

Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) requested documents from the State Department as part of an effort to illuminate former vice president Joe Biden’s role in the firing of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who at the time, was probing into Burisma Holdings — the Ukrainian gas firm where Hunter Biden was paid up to $83,000 per month as a board member while his father was in the White House.

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