The Latest: Nadler says Trump actions meet impeachment test

Politics

George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley gives an opening statement as he testifies during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on the constitutional grounds for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on House hearings on the impeachment of President Donald Trump (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler says President Donald Trump’s actions in pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate a political rival meet a three-part test for impeachment.

Nadler says Trump committed impeachable offenses when he withheld an official White House meeting and vital military aid from a vulnerable ally “to obtain that private, political advantage.”

Second, Nadler says Trump’s offense was grave enough that it’s worth putting the country through the drama of impeachment. Finally, he says a majority of the country and of the House support impeaching Trump over the Ukraine scandal.

Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona says Democrats have not revealed any impeachable offense, and nothing that is worth putting the country through the pain of impeachment. She says Nadler “and the House Democrat leadership are tearing apart the country.”

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5:55 p.m.

A Democratic witness at the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing is apologizing for bringing up the name of President Donald Trump’s 13-year-old son, Barron.

Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan said Wednesday that ‘’it was wrong of me to do that,” adding, ‘’I do regret it.”

Karlan’s apology came after she faced a firestorm of criticism from Republicans, including first lady Melania Trump, who tweeted that “a minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics.”

Karlan had joked earlier Wednesday that the president can “name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.” Karlan was trying to make a point that Donald Trump is a president, not a king.

Melania Trump said Karlan “should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”‘

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5:30 p.m.

Melania Trump says a Democratic witness at the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing should be “ashamed” for bringing up the name of her 13-year-old son, Barron.

The first lady has tweeted at Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan that “a minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics.”

At one point during Karlan’s testimony, she said that while President Donald Trump can “name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.” Karlan was trying to make a point that Trump is a president and not a king.

Melania Trump says Karlan “should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”‘

Karlan said later: ”It was wrong of me to do that. … I do regret it.”

The hearing was called to explore the constitutional basis for impeaching Trump over his effort to pressure Ukraine’s president to investigate a political rival.

3:30 p.m.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are trying to undercut the Democrats’ case for impeaching President Donald Trump.

One GOP congressman, Louie Gohmert of Texas, complains the committee hasn’t had enough time to review the House Intelligence Committee’s report on impeachment. He also says none of legal scholars at Wednesday’s hearing had firsthand knowledge of the events in question.

The impeachment inquiry centers on a July 25 phone call Trump had with the new president of Ukraine. The Intelligence Committee’s report lays out evidence that Democrats say show Trump was trying to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have used their five-minute allotments to criticize the impeachment process and defend Trump, rather than ask questions of the law professors.

Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot calls the impeachment process an partisan exercise and that impeachment pushed by Democrats is inevitable because they don’t like Trump.

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1:20 p.m.

A law professor and witness for the Republicans is explaining to lawmakers why he thinks impeaching President Donald Trump would be wrong.

Jonathan Turley teaches at George Washington University and is one of four professors testifying Wednesday in the House impeachment inquiry.

Turley tells members of the House Judiciary Committee that he thinks the impeachment proceedings are being rushed for no reason. He says removing a president “takes time” and work and “is not an impulse buy item.”

Turley also says the evidence against Trump isn’t strong enough to meet the threshold of an impeachable offense. He says the president’s conduct doesn’t rise to any reasonable interpretation of crimes such as bribery.

The other three professors who testified Wednesday disagreed, saying the evidence was there for impeachment.

The impeachment inquiry centers on a July 25 phone call Trump had with the new president of Ukraine. The Democratic-written impeachment report by the House Intelligence Committee lays out evidence that Trump was trying to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, effectively intervening in the upcoming 2020 U.S. election.

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11:25 a.m.

Four law school professors are giving lessons on American history and presidential politics as they testify in the House impeachment inquiry.

Several of the experts say they think President Donald Trump’s conduct with Ukraine meets the definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” required in the Constitution for impeachable offenses.

Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law School says Trump’s encouragement to Ukraine’s president that the Ukrainian leader investigate Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden is an “especially serious abuse of power because it undermines democracy itself.”

Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School says the Founding Fathers thought it was essential that an American president could be removed from office and not be regarded as above the law. Feldman tells lawmakers that Trump’s behavior “embodies the framers’ concern that a sitting president would corruptly abuse the powers.”

But another professor, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, is warning against trying to impeach Trump. Turley says he thinks the impeachment case would “collapse” and had insufficient evidence and proof.

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11:20 a.m.

A “joke.”

That’s how President Donald Trump describes the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report.

Trump is addressing the impeachment inquiry as he attends a NATO summit in London.

The president says impeachment is a “dirty word” that should be reserved for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The impeachment inquiry centers on a July 25 phone call Trump had with the president of Ukraine. The Democratic-written report lays out evidence that Trump was trying to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, effectively intervening in the upcoming 2020 U.S. election.

Trump says that in this case, there’s been “no crime” — not even a “tiny crime.”

He recounts how the president of Ukraine said he felt “no pressure” and he contends that Ukrainian officials don’t understand what the impeachment inquiry is all about.

Trump complains that House Democrats are holding impeachment hearings while he’s out of the country at the NATO meeting.

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11:15 a.m.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says the House “cannot wait for the election to address the present crisis” as the committee holds its first hearing to consider impeaching President Donald Trump.

Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York says that if Congress doesn’t hold Trump in check now, he “will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain.”

The committee is deciding whether to write articles of impeachment after a House investigation concluded that Trump misused the power of his office for personal political gain when he urged Ukraine’s president to investigate U.S. Democrats.

The committee’s top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, says the impeachment process being led by majority Democrats is a “disgrace”and a “sham.”

Republicans tried to disrupt the start of the hearing by calling for repeated procedural motions and votes.

Collins says “this is not impeachment, this is a simple railroad job.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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