What's next for impeachment, more hearings or a vote?

'Frankly, I want a trial,' says President Trump.

Posted: Nov 23, 2019 10:21 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — They’ve heard enough. With stunning testimony largely complete, the House, the Senate and the president are swiftly moving on to next steps in the historic impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump.

“Frankly, I want a trial,” Trump declared Friday, and it looks like he’s going to get it.

Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s staff and others are compiling the panel’s findings. By early December, the Judiciary Committee is expected to launch its own high-wire hearings to consider articles of impeachment and a formal recommendation of charges.

A vote by the full House could come by Christmas. A Senate trial would follow in 2020.

Congress’ impeachment inquiry, only the fourth in U.S. history, has stitched together what Democrats argue is a relatively simple narrative, of the president leveraging the office for personal political gain, despite Republicans’ assertions that it’s complex, contradictory and unsupported by firsthand testimony.

House Democrats may yet call additional witnesses first, notably John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser. But Senate Republicans are already looking ahead to their turn, the January trial that would follow House approval of impeachment charges.

Should they try to dispatch with such a trial in short order, which they may not have the votes to do, despite holding 53 seats in the 100-member Senate. Or should they stretch it out, disrupting the Democrats’ presidential primaries under the assumption that it helps more than hurts the GOP and Trump.

At this point it seems very unlikely the 45th president will be removed from office. And he knows it.

“The Republican Party has never been more unified," Trump declared on Friday, calling in to the appropriately named “Fox & Friends” to talk about his achievements for nearly an hour. The Democrats haven’t got anything to impeach him on, he claimed, and if the House proceeds their work will come crashing down in the Senate.

He wants that trial, he said.

It all stems from Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s newly elected president. In it, Trump asked Volodymyr Zelenskiy for “a favor,” which involved investigating Democrat Joe Biden and a theory — debunked by U.S. intelligence — that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in America’s 2016 election. In return, Democrats say, it was made clear to Zelenskiy by others that he would get a coveted Oval Office visit. And at the same time, Trump was holding up $400 million in military aid the East European ally relies on to counter Russian aggression at its border.

For Democrats, it amounts to nothing short of a quid pro quo “bribery,” spelled out in the Constitution as grounds for impeachment. They say they don’t need Bolton or anyone else to further a case they contend was well established by the White House’s rough transcript of the phone call — the transcript Trump himself implores America to read.

“We Democrats are tired of a president who is willing to put his own personal interests above the Constitution,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., a Judiciary Committee member. “I don’t think we should be waiting.”

Trump insists he did nothing wrong and Friday revived the Ukraine interference idea, which he relies on it to push investigations of Biden’s son Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine. Trump’s former security aide Fiona Hill warned Republicans in Thursday’s hearing that it’s a “false narrative ” dangerous for the U.S. and playing into Russia’s hands.

Now Trump ally Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, has asked the State Department for documents on the Bidens and Burisma, the gas company.

The Judiciary Committee chairman and other senators met with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone as Republicans consider Trump’s rebuttal to whatever impeachment articles may arrive from the House.

Another GOP Sen. Ted Cruz said if the White House wants to call Hunter Biden as a witness or the anonymous government whistleblower who alerted Congress to concerns about the phone call, “I think they should be allowed to call them,” he said on “The Ben Shapiro Show.”

Despite Trump’s denials, Democrat Schiff says the testimony in the hearings has largely confirmed the accusations against the president.

“What have we learned through these depositions and through the testimony?” Schiff said as he gaveled the final session closed late Thursday. “So much of this is undisputed.”

Bolton hasn’t been questioned. Other testimony has him fuming at the White House over what he called the “drug deal” Trump’s team was “cooking up” over Ukraine.

Bolton said he didn’t want to have any part of it and left his post in September, not long after the whistleblower filed the complaint.

A former United Nations ambassador, Bolton declined a request to appear before Schiff’s committee, standing by the White House’s instructions not to comply with the probe. But he suddenly resurfaced Friday on Twitter.

He said the White House had blocked and “never returned access to my Twitter.”

A senior Trump official said the White House did no such thing and wouldn’t even have the means to do so.

There’s also Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, who witnesses put at the center of it all, fueling the theory of Ukraine’s role in election interference and enlisting diplomats like Ambassador Gordon Sondland to push the Ukrainians to announce the investigations.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week no decisions have been made on further hearings.

“As I said to the president, if you have any information that is exculpatory, please bring it forth, because it seems that the facts are uncontested as to what happened,” she said.

In the Senate, much of the next steps will depend on Trump, whose shifting views have forced GOP senators to readjust their own. They left the White House meeting without consensus but plan to meet again, according to a person familiar with the session.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 453808

Reported Deaths: 6131
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin941381495
Ramsey40509748
Dakota33463350
Anoka31283368
Washington20471234
Stearns18051190
St. Louis13916247
Scott1213098
Wright11756107
Olmsted1073975
Sherburne827868
Carver703139
Clay657684
Rice621170
Kandiyohi556772
Blue Earth546833
Crow Wing489178
Otter Tail463167
Chisago458138
Benton423288
Winona394248
Douglas378466
Nobles374447
Mower372129
Goodhue355362
Polk330660
McLeod327947
Beltrami315048
Morrison314145
Lyon304738
Becker288839
Itasca287143
Isanti284842
Carlton283543
Steele278510
Pine269614
Freeborn253623
Todd233130
Nicollet227938
Brown217434
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Meeker201233
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Houston139814
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Fillmore12646
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Rock111912
Aitkin111233
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Murray9096
Jackson87310
Swift84418
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Marshall70315
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Lake66315
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Wilkin6349
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Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 310915

Reported Deaths: 4432
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46760465
Linn18037279
Scott15838172
Black Hawk14076243
Woodbury13111181
Johnson1228552
Dubuque11615159
Pottawattamie9146115
Dallas907772
Story879438
Cerro Gordo472572
Webster472077
Sioux459657
Warren458039
Clinton457768
Marshall430762
Buena Vista396230
Muscatine395878
Des Moines394943
Plymouth352870
Wapello349898
Jasper331659
Lee324132
Marion308953
Jones274650
Henry267331
Carroll258234
Bremer249848
Crawford234324
Washington222933
Boone222717
Benton213050
Mahaska197637
Jackson194932
Tama190159
Dickinson188329
Kossuth178544
Delaware176036
Clay172021
Wright166624
Fayette165924
Hamilton162230
Buchanan162024
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158162
Hardin156931
Cedar155519
Clayton153849
Butler150924
Page146415
Floyd141436
Cherokee140027
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek134924
Hancock131524
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123610
Calhoun12349
Grundy122528
Jefferson122125
Winnebago121729
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass114843
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112440
Sac112015
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Union111023
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Shelby105427
Guthrie104224
Franklin103318
Unassigned10110
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Montgomery88324
Keokuk86326
Howard85519
Monroe82220
Clarke8108
Pocahontas78111
Ida75930
Davis70121
Greene6977
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Monona67018
Lucas66610
Osceola64711
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Taylor5999
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