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US House Judiciary Committee Will Hold First Impeachment Inquiry Hearing December 4

© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteJudiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., questions Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., questions Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. - Sputnik International
The US House of Representative Judiciary Committee has announced it will hold its first impeachment inquiry hearing on December 4, when the legislature returns from holiday. The announcement follows news Monday the House Intelligence Committee would submit a report handing off the inquiry to the Judiciary Committee.

A Democratic aide declined to comment to Reuters Tuesday as to whether or not the Intelligence Committee's report would be issued before the Judiciary Committee's first hearing next Wednesday, December 4. On Monday, Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said the report would be issued after the Thanksgiving break and that the "next phase" of the impeachment inquiry would begin under Judiciary Committee tutelage, but didn't say things would necessarily happen in that order.

The aide indicated to Reuters the hearing - which will be public, just like the previous round of testimonies - would feature legal experts as witnesses.

House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent US President Donald Trump a letter Tuesday notifying him of the new hearing and inviting him and his counsel to participate. Trump stated last week he was "considering" testifying at the Democrats' "phony impeachment witch hunt," as he has termed the impeachment inquiry.

“As Chairman Schiff indicated yesterday, the impeachment inquiry is entering into a new phase," Nadler said in a Tuesday statement. "Today, we noticed a hearing on the ‘Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment.’  That hearing will take place next Wednesday, December 4th at 10:00 a.m.  Our first task is to explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct like those against President Trump."

“I have also written to President Trump to remind him that the Committee’s impeachment inquiry rules allow for the President to attend the hearing and for his counsel to question the witness panel.  At base, the President has a choice to make: he can take this opportunity to be represented in the impeachment hearings, or he can stop complaining about the process. I hope that he chooses to participate in the inquiry, directly or through counsel, as other Presidents have done before him," Nadler said.

​Trump tweeted earlier on Tuesday he would also "love to have [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo, [former Energy Secretary] Rick Perry, [Director of the Office of Management and Budget and acting White House Chief of Staff] Mick Mulvaney and many others testify about the phony Impeachment Hoax" in an effort to prove that the Democrats' suspicions amount to nothing.

​The Democrat-led inquiry seeks to unearth possible illegal actions by Trump with regards to diplomacy with Ukraine. Central to the probe is whether or not Trump sought a "quid pro quo" arrangement with Kiev by threatening to withhold military aid unless the Ukrainian government opened an investigation of former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, an investor in the Ukrainian gas sector. Originally the hearings were held behind closed doors, but two weeks ago, Democrats began a new phase of public hearings, featuring testimonies by Trump administration functionaries and diplomats from various European postings.

The White House has attempted to block officials from participating in the probe, resulting in a dearth of evidence from the executive branch, but many have violated those orders and testified. On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee, which is also part of the probe, sued US Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a bid to force a stop to the stonewalling.
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