Friday February 28th, 2020 4:21PM

Judiciary panel to take reins on Trump impeachment inquiry

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Judiciary Committee is moving to the forefront of President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry, starting with a hearing Wednesday to examine the “high crimes and misdemeanors” set out in the Constitution.

It’s a moment many Democrats on the panel have been waiting for. Several had agitated for Trump’s impeachment in response to the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller in April. Then came revelations in September from an intelligence community whistleblower about Trump’s political pressure on Ukraine, a watershed event that brought most other Democrats on board.

Should Democrats draft articles of impeachment against Trump, as is expected, and approve them with a House vote, then impeachment managers would be appointed to present the case to the Senate. Traditionally, those managers have come from the House Judiciary Committee, which is stacked with lawyers and former prosecutors.

There are no set rules about who can be appointed an impeachment manager. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also could choose members of the House intelligence panel, which led the Ukraine investigation, or draw from other committees.

In 1998, 13 Republicans were picked from the Judiciary Committee to argue for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Those impeachment managers made the case at a Senate trial, but Clinton was acquitted.

An early look at members to watch as the Judiciary Committee takes over the probe:


The Judiciary panel was temporarily sidelined as the House intelligence committee and two other panels investigated Trump’s conduct on Ukraine and held public hearings. But Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is now returning to a major role, with the panel expected to help write articles of impeachment and hold hearings and votes in December.

Nadler was an earlier supporter of impeachment, declaring in August that his panel would hold impeachment hearings related to Mueller’s investigation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a former federal prosecutor, is expected to remain in the mix. He led the investigation up to this point and would be expected to participate in a Senate trial, should the House impeach Trump.

Schiff said in a letter last week that he expects to submit a report to Judiciary “soon after” Congress returns from its Thanksgiving break.



Second in seniority to Nadler on the Judiciary panel is Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., a close ally of Pelosi who has been in Congress for almost 25 years. Lofgren was an aide to a member on the Judiciary panel in the 1970s when Democrats were making the case for President Richard Nixon’s impeachment. She was one of the panel’s least vocal members on Trump and impeachment, holding off on endorsing the move until Pelosi supported it.

Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas are aggressive questioners who have sat on the panel for many years. Cohen has faced some criticism, though, for bringing a ceramic chicken to a hearing when Attorney General William Barr didn’t show up, and Lee had to give up her chairmanship of a Judiciary subcommittee earlier this year following a lawsuit from a former employee who said her sexual assault complaint was mishandled.

Another experienced lawmaker on the panel is Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

OTHER VETERANS: Reps. Ted Deutch of Florida, Karen Bass of California, Hank Johnson of Georgia.



As Pelosi resisted impeachment in the spring and summer, a small group of Judiciary members went public with their support. Three of the most vocal impeachment backers were Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a former constitutional law professor; David Cicilline of Rhode Island, a member of Democratic leadership; and Pramila Jayapal of Washington, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The impeachment hawks met with other Democrats to try and get them to support the effort and saw their role as educating the caucus. Many who had been initially reluctant gradually signed on and the numbers supporting an inquiry ticked up — giving Pelosi a wide base of support when she launched the Ukraine impeachment investigation in September.

OTHER IMPEACHMENT HAWKS: Reps. Ted Lieu of California, Eric Swalwell of California, Val Demings of Florida. Swalwell and Demings sit on the intelligence panel, as well.



Pelosi could want some freshmen to represent the House if there is a Senate trial, as those new members helped Democrats win the House majority. The freshmen on the Judiciary panel were some of the sharpest questioners during hearings on the Mueller investigation.

Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon is the committee’s vice chairwoman, a position that has given her an elevated role. Scanlon and her Pennsylvania colleague, freshman Rep. Madeleine Dean, have been aggressive in questioning Trump administration witnesses and were early impeachment supporters.

Rep. Joe Neguse, the first African American to represent Colorado in the House, was also an early impeachment supporter, pushing Pelosi on the issue with others in a May meeting. Neguse is a member of House leadership, helping to represent the freshman class.

OTHER NEWBIES: Reps. Veronica Escobar of Texas, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida and Greg Stanton of Arizona.



While it has been tradition to use members of the Judiciary Committee as impeachment managers, the Constitution doesn’t require it.

Schiff and other members of the intelligence panel have become familiar faces through two weeks of impeachment hearings, and many of those lawmakers are also lawyers.

Other committees have participated in the process as well. The first phase of the impeachment investigation, closed-door depositions, was led by the intelligence panel, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee. New York Rep. Eliot Engel is chairman of the Foreign Affairs panel and New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney took over Oversight after the October death of Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings.

House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., have also been instructed to submit investigative reports to Judiciary.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online - Georgia News
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Shelley Morrison, Rosario on ‘Will & Grace,’ dies at 83
Shelley Morrison, an actress with a 50-year career who was best known for playing a memorable maid on “Will & Grace,” has died
12:24AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Case signals new interest in 2nd Amendment by Supreme Court
Supreme Court turning to gun rights for the first time in nearly a decade with case brought by gun owners in New York City
12:23AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Judiciary panel to take reins on Trump impeachment inquiry
A look at the House Judiciary Committee as it takes over Trump’s impeachment inquiry
12:23AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Asian stocks rise after China factory activity improves
Asian stocks rise after Chinese factory activity improves ahead of possible US tariff hike
11:59PM ( 49 minutes ago )
UN chief warns of ‘point of no return’ on climate change
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the world’s efforts to stop climate change have been “utterly inadequate" so far and warns that “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon.”
11:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
White House says it won’t participate in impeachment hearing
‘Baseless and highly partisan’: White House declares it won’t participate in the first impeachment hearings before the House Judiciary Committee
8:40PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Iraqi parliament accepts prime minister’s resignation
Iraqi parliament accepts prime minister’s resignation, but many legal questions loom
12:36PM ( 12 hours ago )
Justices take up gun case, though disputed law has changed
The Supreme Court is turning to gun rights for the first time in nearly a decade, even though New York City gun owners already have won changes to a regulation they challenged in court
11:46AM ( 13 hours ago )
Iraqi MPs accept premier’s resignation amid ongoing violence
Iraq’s parliament approved the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi on Sunday, amid ongoing violence and anti-government demonstrations in the capital that saw one protester shot dead
7:44AM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Devoe's late score pushes Georgia Tech past Bethune-Cookman
Michael Devoe scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, including a three-point play with seven seconds left, and Georgia Tech survived terrible free throw shooting to hold on for a 68-65 win over Bethune-Cookman
8:45PM ( 4 hours ago )
Injuries, ejection drain No. 4 Georgia for SEC title game
No. 4 Georgia may need new help on offense against LSU in SEC championship game
6:18PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Top 25: Alabama out of top 5 for first time in 4 years
Alabama dropped to No. 9 in The Associated Press college football poll, snapping the Crimson Tide’s record streak of 68 appearances in the top five
2:37PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Shelley Morrison, Rosario on ‘Will & Grace,’ dies at 83
Shelley Morrison, an actress with a 50-year career who was best known for playing a memorable maid on “Will & Grace,” has died
12:24AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Case signals new interest in 2nd Amendment by Supreme Court
Supreme Court turning to gun rights for the first time in nearly a decade with case brought by gun owners in New York City
12:23AM ( 25 minutes ago )
July 25 forecast: Sunny, with cloud of impeachment for Trump
If there was one day that crystallized all the forces that resulted in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, it was July 25
12:22AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Technology to keep lights on could help prevent wildfires
A new technology being tested by California utilities is aimed at diagnosing problems before they could cause power outages or spark wildfires
12:21AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Democrats aim to catch up to Trump’s 2020 cash advantage
Democrats are narrowing President Donald Trump’s early spending advantage ahead of next year’s election
12:17AM ( 31 minutes ago )