Impeachment Hearings Led By House Judiciary Committee | NBC News (Live Stream Recording)

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Published: 12/05/2019 01:21 AM

Livestream of the Judiciary Committee hearings in the next phase of the Trump impeachment effort following the hearings led by the Intelligence Committee. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection...

>: this is an nbc news, special report. the impeachment hearings. here's lester holt. we're coming on to bring you live coverage of the house judiciary. Committee. , a important new phase in this inquiry is unfolding, just as the president himself is meeting with allied leaders in london to mark the 70th anniversary of nato and where, in a surprise, development, he cancelled a news conference th ...
t had been scheduled to end within the hour. Let'S go right to christian welker covering the president in london and she can walk us through what transpired here. In the last several hours. , it's just beena remarkable turn of event. As you say, president trump, cancelling a planned press, conference.

he's going to hold a few more meetings and then head home early. He wanted this nato trip to be a chance for him to show leadership on the world stage to try to turn the page, at least temporarily, from the impeachment hearings back at home, and yet he has been beset by new controversies. Let me read you the tweet and then give you the broader context. , the president tweeted. When today's meetings are over, i will be heading back to washington. I won't be doing a press conferenceat, the close of nato, because we did so many over the past two days. safe travels to all. Now this comes after a stunning piece of video emerged overnight, showing some of the president's closest allies.

The prime minister of canada, justin trudeax, the prime minister of the u. k. boris johnson appearing to mock president trump, although they didn't mention him by name. But they talked about the fact that he took so many questions during their bilateral meetings with him that he essentially held up the day. They mocked him in other ways. President trump responded calling him two faced. take a look atthose pieces of video.

Well, he's two faced. and honestly he's a nice guy. I find him to be a very nice guy. , , so president trump calling him two faced and it comes amid tensions with other world leaders over a range of different issues. Here. , but the big take away is that president trump was going to use this press conference to try to counter program what is happening in washington. This impeachment hearing that is about to get underway. There'S the hearing room. , keep in mind no fact witnesses today.

This will be a chance for the members of the committee tohear from constitutional scholars to talk about the meaning of impeachment. , what rises to the level of impeachment. So it will still be a spirited discussion, because this is a fairly partisan committee here. They now have that scathing impeachment report. what is next in all of this. Well, with this hearing today, the trump impeachment inquiry enters a new chapter. One way to think about it is the house intelligence committee layed out all of the evidence.

Now the house judiciary committee will layout the law. now they're set to hear from four witnesses and four constitutional scholars that will help explain the constitutional basis for impeachment and whether he conducts his interaction with his ukrainian counter part meets the bar for removal from office. they're. Using the same format for interviewing witnesses, but that's where the similarities end, because to your point, this committee is just as large. In fact it's twice as large and has a well earned reputation for being more partisan. You might say a more rowdy bunch. They use this to sharpen the case for impeachment, and you can bet house republicans are going to do what they can to undermine it. Thank you joining us this morning is chuck todd and andrea mitchelland with me here in the studio justice department, veteran and legal analyst chuck rosenberg. jeff layed out the environment of this particular committee.

These constitutional scholars do they come in --. They come in obviously picked by one side or the other, but do we view them through a partisan lenses or a fact-based lenses? ? That was one of the questions that i had. I started reading their opening statements at least the first two. noah feldman from harvard and pamela are taking a position that the president ought to be impeached for his conduct. I didn't know if they were just going todrive down the middle of the road and analyze that the impeachment clauses of the constitution mean or try to apply the facts. We have deduced to the law as we know, it. they seem to be taking a position. So i'm very curious to see how that plays out in front of the members of the house, judiciary, committee.

, >, >. I don't think a lot of it is going to come out of it, but discussions about how much do you include in it? What is the definition of an impeachment offense. you're, going to see some on the democratic side? Look for the ability to expand the definition of what fits into what should be considered impeachment. But you get to something that i think is a bit of a conundrum. Is their report revealed? They have more leads to follow up. Now they can't follow up some of them, because the white house and rudy giuliani and various players aren't cooperating so they're at a stand still, and yet they did say one of the associates of rudy giuliani is starting to deliver. Some -- or respond to the subpoena for documents that they were asking for. Why stop this investigation. ? And i don't know how much we hear aboutthat today, but i think it is a conundrum the house democrats have where they look at the political calendar and the political situation and the road block on the republican side, and yet they follow these leads.

You heard the gavel fall. , the chairman gerald nadler and you'll also hear from the ranking member doug collins. Let'S take you to the hearing room now as this hearing begins. >. Well, the mics are open. They seem to be in place, but the hearing has not begun. How important is it --, the house committee on the judiciary will come to order. Mr.

chairman, you arereserving the right to object. objection is noted. I reserve the right to object. pursuant to clause rule 11 minority day of hearings on this subject signed by all the republican members. I could not understand what you were: saying. pursuant to clause 2-j-1 of rule 11. I'M furnishing you with demand for minority day of hearings on this subject signed by all the republican members of the committee, and i would request that you set this date before the committee votes on any articles of impeachment. I with draw my reservation.

We will rule on this later. decorumis present. This is the first hearing pursuant to house resolution 660 and the special procedures that are described in section 4-a of that resolution. Here'S how the committee will proceed for this hearing. I will make an opening statement and recognize the ranking member for an opening statement. Each witness will have ten minutes to make their statements and then we will proceed to questions. I will now recognize myself for an opening statement.

Mr. chairman parliamentary inquiry. I have the time for an opening statement. The facts before us are undisputed. On july 25th, president trump called president zalenski of ukraine and inpresident trump's words asked him for a favor. that was part of a concerted effort by the president and his men to solicit a personal advantage in the next election. This time, in the form of an investigation of his political adversaries by a government.

, he withheld an official white house meeting from the newly elected president of a fragile democracy and withheld vital military aid from a vulnerable ally. When congress found out about this scheme and began to investigate president trump took extraordinary and unprecedented steps to cover up his efforts and to with hold evidence from the investigators. and when witnessesdisobeyed him. When career professionals came forward and told us the truth, he attacked them viciously. Calling them traitors and liars and promising they would go through some things. Closed, quote. Of course. This is not the first time that president trump has engaged in this pattern of conduct. In 2016, the russian government engaged in a sweeping and systematic campaign of interference in our elections.

In the words of special counsel, robert mueller quote the russian government perceived. It would benefit from a trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome. The president welcomed that interference. we saw this inreal time when president trump asked russia to hack his political opponents. The next day, a russian military intelligence unit attempted to hack that political opponent. , when his own justice department, tried to uncover the extent to which a foreign government uncovered our laws. President trump took extraordinary and unprecedented steps to order subpoenas and order the creations of false records and publicly attacking and intimidating witnesses. Then now this administration's level of obstruction, southern land without precedent.

, no other president vowed to quote fight all the subpoenas unquote as president trump promised. In the 1974 impeachment proceedings, president nixon produced dozens of recordings. in 1998. President clinton physically gave his blood. president trump by contrast, has refused to produce a single document and directed every witness not to testify. Those are the facts. Before us. , the impeachment inquiry moved back to the house judiciary committee and, as we begin, a review of the facts, the president's pattern of behavior becomes clear. President trump welcomed foreign interference in the 2016 election.

In both cases he got caught and in both cases he did everything in his power to prevent the american people from learning the truth about his conduct. The special counsel testified before thiscommittee. He emplored us to see the threat to this country. over the course of my career. I have seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The efforts to interfere in our elections is among the most serious. This deserves the attention of every american, close quote.

, ignoring that warning. President trump called the ukrainian president, the next day to ask him to investigate the president's political opponents. , as we exercise our responsibility to determine whether this pattern of behavior constitutes an impeachment offense. It'S important to place president trump's conduct into historical context. Since the founding of our country, the house of representativeshas impeached only two presidents. , a third was on his way to impeachment when he re-signed. This committee voted to impeach two presidents for obstructing justice. We voted to impeach one president from obstructing a congressional investigation.

To the extent it fits these categories, there's precedent for recommending impeachment here. , but never before have we been forced to consider the conduct of a president that appears to have solicited personal political favors from a foreign government. Never before has a president engaged in the course of conduct that included all of the acts that most concerned the framers. , the patriots that founded our country werenot, fearful men. before the war they witnessed terrible violence. They overthrew a king. as they met the frame work of the constitution, those patriots still fearing one threat above all. , barring interference in our elections. They just opposed the tyrant.

They were deeply worried that we would lose our newfound liberty, not through a foreign war, but through corruption from within and in the early years of the republic. They asked each of us to be vigilant to that threat. washington warned us to be constantly awake since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most vainful foes of republican government. hamilton's warning was more specific and more dier. in the federalist papers. He wrote that the most deadly adversaries of republican government would almost certainly attempt to raise a creature of their own to the chief magistry of the union. We should expect our foreign adversaries to target our elections and find ourselves in great danger. If the president willingly opens the door to their influence. , what kind of president would do that. ? How would we know if the president betrayed his country in this manner? How will we know if he betrayed his country in this manner for personal gain.

, hamilton, hada response to that as well. , he wrote when a man on principled and private life, desperate in his fortune and bold in his temper, possess the considerable talents when such a man Mount the hobby horse of popularity to join the cry to take every opportunity of embarrassing the general government and bringing it under suspicion. It may justly be expected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind. Ladies and gentlemen, the storm in which we find ourselves in today was set in motion by president trump. I do not wish thismoment on the country. It is not a pleasant task that ween undertake today. He invited foreign interference in our elections.

He used the powers of his office to try to make it happen. He sent him to make sure that this is what he wanted and definded. It does not matter that president trump got caught and ultimately released the funds that ukraine so desperately needed. It matters that he enlisted a foreign government to intervene in our elections in the first place. It does not matter that president trump felt that these investigations were unfair to him. It matters that he used his office not nearly to defend himself but to instruct investigators at every turn.

We are all aware that the next election is looming, but we can't wait for the election to address the present crisis. The integrity of the election is one of the very things at stake. He has shown us his pattern of conduct. if we do not act to hold him in check. Now. president trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain. Today we will begin our conversation where we should. Our witness panel will help us to guide that conversation.

In a few days we willreconvene and hear from committees that work to uncover the facts before us and when we apply the constitution to the facts. If it's true that president trump committed an impeachment offense or multiple impeachment offenses, we must move swiftly to do our duty and charge him accordingly. I thank the witnesses from being there today. the gentleman from georgia with his opening statement. Mr. chairman, may i make a parliamentary inquiry. I recognize the ranking member for an opening statement.

I believe some of the things that i'm going to discuss today because we're coming here today in a different arena. for everybody who has not been here before. It'S a new room, it's new rules. , it's a new month. We even have cute stickers, so we can come in and make this important, and this is impeachment because we have done such a terrible job of it in this committee before. But what is not new is basically what has been reiterated by the chairman. What'S not new is the facts. What'S not new is its the same sad story.

We'Re also saying the attention to the american people should be on foreign interference. I agree with him completely, except the american people did not include the judiciary committeebecause, we didn't take it up. , we didn't have hearings. We didn't do anything to delve into this issue. we had election builds but did not get into the indepth part of what mr. mueller talked about taking his own report and having hearings about that. So i guess that doesn't include the house judiciary. Committee.

, interesting. We also just heard an interesting discussion, we're going to have a lot of interesting discussion today about the constitution and other things, but we also talk about the founders. The chairman talked about the hearing and what he also didn't quote was the founders being really really concerned about politicalimpeachment. , because you just don't like the guy. You haven't liked him since november of 2016. The chairman has talked about impeachment since last year, when he was elected. Chairman. , two years before he was even sworn in as chairman.

So don't tell me, this is about new evidence and you things and new stuff. We may have a new hearing, room and chairs that aren't comfortable, but this is nothing new folks. This is sad. So what do we have here today? Do you know what i'm thinking -- i looked at this two things have become clear. This impeachment is not really about facts. If it was theywould have sent over recommendations about impeachment. if it goes badly, they want to blame adam schiff's committee, but they're already drafting articles.

, don't be fooled. they're already getting ready for this. We already went after this after numerous failings with mueller and the list goes on. , but the american people, if you want to know what is really driving this there's two things. , it's called the clock and the calendar. the clock and the calendar. most people in life. If you want to know what they truly value, you look at their checkbook and their calendar. That'S what they value.

That'S what this committee values. time. ! They want do it before the end of the year. So we have to do this. Now. , the clock and the calendar is what's driving impeachment and not the facts. When we understand this, that's what the witnesses say, today. What is really interesting today and for the next few weeks is america will see why most people don't go to law. School.

no offense to our professors, but please really we're bringing you in here today to testify on stuff that most of you have already written about for the opinions that we already know out of the classrooms that you're getting ready for finals in. , unless you're really good. On watching the hears for the last couple of weeks, you couldn't have possibly actually digested the adam schiff report from yesterday or the republican response in any real way. We can be theoretical all we want, but the american people are really going to look at this and say huh. What are we doing? There'S no fact witnesses planned for this committee. That'S an interesting thing. ! I'M still not sure what they want us to present on and nothing else. no plan. I asked the chairman to stay in touch.

Let'S talk about what we have, because history will shine abright light on us, starting this morning. crickets. Until i asked for a witness the other day and let's just say that didn't go well. she's not afforded the protection of identity. , it's not in the statute. , it's just something by adam schiff. He said yesterday in a press conference. , i'm not going to i'll send staff to do that. he's not going to, but to me, if he's going to he'd come begging to us. , if we don't impeach the president he'll get reelected.

If you want to know what's happening here, we go. , why did everything i say up to this point about no fact witnesses nothing for this judiciary committee, which spent 2. 5 weeks before this hearing was even held under clinton. 2. 5 weeks. ? We didn't even find your names out until less than 48 hours ago. I don't know what we're playing hide. The ball on. , it's pretty easy, what you're going to say, but we can't get that straight.

So what are we doing for the next two weeks? I have no idea. , the chairman set an ambiguous hearing on the report. if we're not going to have fact witnesses when we are hiding out back the very rubber stamp. The chairman talked about 20 years ago. What a disgraceto this committee. to have the committee of impeachment? Simply take from other entities and rubber stamp it. Why does the things i say matter about fact, witnesses and hearings and due process, because by the way, a couple of months ago, the democrats got all sort of dressed up if you would and we're going to have due process protection for the president and good fairness Throughout this. , this is the only committee that the president would even have a possibility, but no offense to you, the law, professors. The president has nothing to ask you. you're not going to provide anything.

He can'tread and his attorneys have nothing else. put witnesses in here. That can be fact witnesses that can be actually cross. Examined. , that's fairness, and every attorney on this panel knows that. This is a sham. , but you know what i also see here is quotes like this. There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or impeachment supported by one of our major political parties or imposed by another. It will produce divisively and bitter ps and politics for years to m coand call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions.

The american people are watching. , they will not forget. you havethe vote. , you may have the muscle, but you do not have a national consensus or constitutional imperative. It will go down in infamy in the history of the nation. How about when the democrats, offed amendmenteds to say we should first discuss and adopt standards for impeachment, voted down or ruled out of order. when we say the important thing is to start looking at the question before we simply have a vote with no real inquiry. First, that was voted down and ruled out of order and the whole question of what materials should be released and secondary. But that's all we discussed. the essential question whichis to set up a fair process is to whether the country put this country through an impeachment.

Proceeding that was ruled out of order. The republicans refused to let us discuss it. Those were all chairman nadler before he was chairman. I guess 20 years makes a difference. it's an interesting time. we're having a factless impeachment. You just heard a one sided presentation of facts about this president.

Today we will present the other side, which gets so conveniently left. Out. Remember, fairness does dictate that, but maybe not here. I have a democratic majority. That'S poll tested what they think the president did. wow. That'S not following the facts. We have just a deep seeded hatred of a man that came to the white house and did what he said he was going to do.

The most amazing question i got in the first three months from reporters was this: can you believe he's putting forward those ideas? I said yes, he ran on them. , he told the truth and he did what he said. The problem here today is. This will also be one of the first impeachments. the chairman mentioned. There were two of them in which the facts, even by democrats and republicans, were not really disputedand. This one they're not only disputed they're countdictive of each other. This is where we're at today. So the interesting thing that i have come to with most everybody here is this may be a new time and new place and we may be looking pretty for impeachment.

This is not impeachment. This is a simple railroad job and today is a waste of time. This is where we're at. It started in brooklyn in november 2017, when an election was lost. We'Re here, no plan, no fact witnesses simply being a rubber stamp for what we have, but we have law professors here. Mr. chairman, before iyield back, i have a motion.

under rule 11. The gentleman was recognized for the purpose of his opening statement and not purpose of making statement. a yield back and recognize. gentleman is recognized. I move to require the attendants of chairman schiff before this committee and transmit this letter. Accordingly. seek recognition. motion is made and debatable. all in favor, say: aye. >, >, opposed.

, no. The motion to table is agreed. To. recorded vote is requested. >, > parliamentary inquirement. , . Just a reminder. Any no is you don't want him? Coming. the clerk willcall, the role. mr. nadler.

aye. , aye. aye. , mr. johnson of georgia votes aye. mr. richmond. mr. richmond votes, yes. mr. jeffreys votes, aye. votes, aye.

yes. , mr. lou. votes, aye. mr. scanlin votes; aye. , miss garcia votes, aye. , aye. , : let's go very quickly to explain: what's happening, here. ! As expected, you have a republican try to offer up a motion that would bring forward adam schiff, the house intelligence committee chairman to come testify before this committee. So what they're voting on right now is a motion to table or basically kill this whole effort and because democrats control, the committee democratswe, expect fully will be successful in killing this motion. and republicans wanted this on the record with the roll call which we're Seeing right, now.

we'll take you back into the area. Has everyone voted that wishes to vote > the clerk will report. Mr. chairman, there are 21 i's and 17 noes. The motion to table is agreed, to. , . I have a parliamentary inquiry. states that members of the committee can raise objections relating to the admissibility of testimony and evidence, but it doesn't say what rules apply to admissibility.

So i'm hoping that you can explain to us what objections maybe made under this clause and if you intend to use the federal rules of evidence, -- , the gentleman will suspend. that's not a proper parliamentary inquiry. , . It is. I stated a rule. Mr. chairman. , you can ignore it and not answer it, but you can't say it's not a proper inquiry. , i'm asking for the application of the rule and application. We will apply the rules period.

You won't help us understand that . There'S no clarity, there. How are you citing that. and they would be applied according to therules. , and if so, when -- gentleman will suspend. That is not a proper parliamentary inquiry. With that objection, all other opening statements will be included in the record.

I will now introduce today's witnesses. mr. chairman. Mr. chairman, i seek recognition. I am not going to recognize you now. I am introducing the witnesses. Mr.

chairman, i just have -- noah feldman is professor at harvard law school. He authored 7 books, including a biography of james madison and constitutional law book, as well as many on constitutional subjects. He received his undergraduate degreefrom, harvard college and doctor of philosophy. and the united states supreme court. pamela serves as the professor of public interest law and the co-director of the supreme court litigation clinic at stanford law school. She is the co-author of several leading case books, including a monograph entitled keeping faith with the constitution and dozens of articles. She served as a law clerk and is a deputy assistant attorney general in the civil rights division. , and professor carlin earned three degrees in yale.

University. Michael is the distinguished professor of juris, prudence and director of unc's center on law and government. he's the author of manybooks, including the federal impeachment process, a constitutional and historical analysis, as well as more than 50 publications on a diverse range of topics in constitutional law and The legislative process. he received it from the university of chicago law school. his ms from the london school of economics and his b. a. from yale university. jonathan is the j b and mauricec. shapiro at the law. School. , after a stint at tulane law school, he joined the g.

w. law faculty in 1990 and in 1998 became the youngest chaired professor in the school's history. He has written over three dozen academic articles for a variety of leading law, schools, -- of leading law journals and his articles on legal and policy issues appear frequently in national publications. , a chicago native. He earned degrees from the university of chicago and northwestern university school of law. We welcome all of our distinguished witnesses. We thank them for participated in today's hearing. If you will please rise i'll begin by swearing, you in.

, let the record show the witnesses answered in the affirmative. Thank you and please be seated. Please note that each of your written statements will be entered into the record in it's entirety. Accordingly, i asked that you summarize your testimony in ten minutes. to help you stay within that time. There is a timing light on your table. when the light switches from green to yellow. You have one minute to conclude your testimony. when the light turns red.

It signals your ten minutes have expired. professor feldman, you may begin. , i don't think you're in the mic. mr. chairman --, , mr. chairman and members of the committee. Mr. chairman, i have a motion. Mr. chairman, i seek recognition for privilege motion.

mr. chairman and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunityto appear. My name is noah feldman -- witness will proceed. I serve as the professor of law at the harvard law: school --, . I seek recognition, -- , my job -- . The gentleman will suspend. The time is the witnesses.

A privileged motion needs to be recognized. You can call it not a privileged, but it needs to be recognized. in between the witnesses. It may be recognized. , the witness will proceed. we'll entertain the motion after the first witness. My job is to study and teach the constitution from its origins until the present. I am heretoday to describe three things. why the framers of our constitution included the provision for the impeachment of the president.

What that provision providing for impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors means and last how it applies to the question before you and before the american people. Whether president trump committed impeachment offenses under the constitution. , let me begin by stating my conclusions. , the framers provided for the impeachment of the president, because they feared that the president might abuse the power of his office from personal benefits, to corrupt the electoral process and re-election or To subvert the national ofthe united states. on the basis of the testimony and the evidence before the house, president trump has committed impeachment high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency. Specifically, president trump has abused his office by corruptly soliciting the president of ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election. Let me begin now with a question of why the framers provided for impeachment in the first place. , the framers borrowed the concept of impeachment from england, but with one enormous difference, the house of commons and the house. Oflords could use impeachment in order to limit the ministers.

But they could not impeach the king, and in that sense the king was above the law. in stark contrast. The framers, from the very outset of the constitutional convention, made it crystal clear that the president would be subject to impeachment in order to demonstrate that the president was subordinate to the law. If you will, i would like for you to think now about a specific date. In the constitutional convention. july, 20th 1787. , it was the middle of a long hot summer, and on that day two members of the constitutional convention actually moved to take out the impeachment provision from the draft constitution. and they had a reason for that and the reason was They said well, the president will have to stand for re-election and if the president has to stand for re-election, that is enough. , we don't need a separate provision for impeachment. when that proposal was made significant disagreements, ensued. the governor of north carolina, a man called william davy Immediately said, if the president cannot be impeached, he will spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself reelected.

George mason of virginia said no point was more important, was includedin the constitution. Shall any man be above justice. He asked. james madison, the principle. Draftsman of the u. s. constitution then spoke up. He said it was quote indispensable that some provision be made for impeachment.

Why? Because he explained it was quote, not a sufficient security against presidential misconduct or corruption. A president he said, might betray his trust to foreign powers. A president who, in a corrupt fashion, abused the office of the presidency, said james madison quote, might be fatal to the republic closed quote. and then a remarkable thing happened in the convention. He got up and actually said the words iwas wrong. He told the other framers present that he had changed his mind on the basis of the debate on july 20th and that it was now his opinion that, in order to avoid corruption of the electoral process, a president would have to be subject to impeachment. Regardless of the availability of a further election. , the upshot of this debate is that the framers kept impeachment in the constitution, specifically in order to protect against the abuse of office, with a capacity to corrupt the electoral process or lead to personal gain.

Now, turning to the language of the constitution, the framers used the words high crimes and misdemeanors to describe those forms of action that they considered impeachment. These were not vague or abstract. Terms. high crimes and misdemeanors represents very specific language that was well understood by the entire generation of the framers. Indeed, they were borrowed from an impeachment trial in england that was taking place as the framers were speaking, which was referred to, in fact by george mason. The words high crimes and misdemeanors referred to abuse of the office of the presidency for personal advantage or to corrupt the electoral process or to subvert the national security of the unitedstates. And that means connected to the office of the presidency.

connected to office. , the classic forum. That was for the framers was the abuse of office for personal gain or advantage, and when the framers specifically named bribery as a high crime and misdemeanor, they were naming one particular version of this abuse of office. The abuse of office for personal or individual gain. The other forms of abuse of office abuse of office to effect elections and abuse of office to compromise national security were further forms that were familiar to the framers. Now, how does this language of high crimes and misdemeanors applyto president trump's alleged conduct. ? Let me be clear: the constitution gives the house of representatives that is, the members of this committee and the other members of the house quote sole power of impeachment. It'S not my responsibility or job to determine the credibility of the witnesses that appeared before the house. Thus far.

, that is your constitutional responsibility. My comments will therefore follow my role, which is to describe and apply the meaning of impeachment offenses to the facts described by the testimony and evidence before the house. , in particular the memorandum and other testimony relating to the phone call between thetwo presidents. More than sufficiently indicates that president trump abused his office by soliciting the president of ukraine to investigate his political rivals in order to gain personal political advantage, including in relation to the 2020 election. Again, the words abuse of office are not mythical or magical. they're very clear. The abuse of office occurs when the president uses a feature of his power: the awesome power of his office, not to serve the interests of the american public, but to serve his personal, individual, partisan, electoral interests. That is what the evidence before the house indicates.

Finally, let me be clear that on itsown soliciting the leader of a foreign government, in order to announce the investigations of political rivals and perform those investigations, would constitution a high crime and misdemeanor. But the house also has evidence before it that the president committed two further acts that also qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors. In particular, the house heard evidence that the president placed a hold on critical u. s. aid to ukraine and conditioned it's release on announcement of the investigations of the bidens and of the discredited crowd strike conspiracy theory. , the president of the united states would take any means whatever. So ensurehis re-election, and that is the reason that the framers provided for impeachment. In a case like this one. , the gentleman is recognized.

I offer a motion to postpone to a date certain. I move to table the motion. motion to table is heard. and is not debatable. all in favor of the motion -- all in favor of the motion - -- . May we have the motion read please the motion was stated. May we have the motion, read please . The motion will be read as to what date. The motion will be read to a date certain wednesdaydecember 11th 2019.

So we can actually get a response to the 6 letters. The gentleman stated his motion, the motion to table is made. , motion to table is made and not debatable. All in favor motion to table say: aye. >, >, opposed. , >, > no. The motion to table is agreed: to. , >, >, roll call. , roll call is requested. , .

Well, once again, the partisanship that we told you would be on strong display in this committee is on case, as we take up another issue. i'll go back to jeff on the hill. That reads: this stuff. explain: what's: happeningthis time. , i suspect, we'll see this happen at least a few more times as this hearing progresses. What they're doing here is they're trying to add delays and obstacle to this hearing that they clearly object to as a way to undermine it and as a result of that really testing chairman nadler's grip on this overall proceeding. So the latest motion was one to basically put this entire thing off to a later date. So now they're taking a roll call vote and we expect that this vote is going to go the way. The last one did.

it's going to be a partyline vote. 24-17 democrats will prevail and they'll table this, and the next witness will have the chance to speak. We had expected theatrics from both sides, but this is going to blunt the testimony. We heard some very strong legal opinion there on impeachment. is the goal of some of this to blunt testimony that we're going to hear. ? The goal is to, i think, get all of us in the press corps to write about the process and disruptions and sort of to try to dismiss what you're hearing. I found the first witness very compelling. I think he did agood job telling an oral history of sorts of explaining the debate about whether to put impeachment in the constitution or not.

It'S called call a motion. I guess. , so here we go. Thank you for the opportunity to testify. twice. I had the privilege of representing this committee and it's leadership in voting rights cases before the supreme court. once when it was under the leadership of the chairman. It'S good to see you again, sir, and with one of my other clients and once under the leadership of chairman conyers. It was a great honor to represent this committee because of the key rolein ensuring that american citizens have the right to vote in free and fair elections.

Today, you're being asked to consider whether protecting those elections requires impeaching, a president. - that is an awesome responsibility. that everything i know about our constitution and it's values and my review of the record, and here mr. foreman collins. I would like to say to you, sir, that i read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing, because i would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts, so i'm insulting by the suggestion that as a law professor, i don't Care about those facts, but everything i read on those occasions tells me that, when president trump invited indeed demanded foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this a republic to which we pledge allegiance. That demand, as professor feldman just explained, constituted an abuse of power. Indeed, as i want to explain in my testimony, drawing a foreign government into our elections is an especially serious abuse of power, because it undermines democracy, itself. and the legitimacy of our government and voting is preservative of all rights.

So it is hardly surprising that the constitution is marvelled with provisions governing elections and guaranteeing governmental accountability. Indeed, a majority of amendments to our constitutions, since the civil war dealt with voting or with terms of office and among the most important provisions of our original constitution is the guarantee of periodic elections for the presidency. america kept that promise for two centuries and has done So, even during wartimes. , for example, we have invented the idea of absentee voting so that union troops that supported president lincoln could stay in the field during the election of 1864. And since then, countless other americans have fought and died to protect our right to vote. , , but theframers of our constitution realize that elections alone could not guarantee that the united states would remain a republic. Now you already heard two people give william davey his props. hamilton got a whole musical and william davey is only going to get the committee hearing. He warned that a president might spare no efforts or means whatsoever to get himself reelected and george mason insisted that a president that procured his appointment in the first instance through improper and corrupt acts should not escape punishment.

By repeating his guilt and mason. Was the person responsible for adding high crimes and misdemeanors to the listof impeachable offenses. ? So we know from that that the list was designed to reach a president that acts to subvert an election. to protect our government and our democratic process from outside interference. For example, john adams, during the ratification expressed concern with the very idea of having an elected president writing to thomas jefferson, that you are apprehensive of foreign interference. Intrigue influence, so am i, but as often as elections happen, the danger of foreign influence recurs. and in his fairwell address president washington warned the history, and experience proved that foreign influence is one of the most vainful foesof republican government. They would try to foam at disagreement. Among the american people and influence what we fought. , the very idea that a president might seek the aid of a foreign government in his re-election campaign should have horrified them.

, but based on the record. That is what president trump has done. the list of impeachment offenses, that the framers included in the constitution shows that the essence of an impeachment offense is a president's decision to sacrifice the national interest for his own private ends. treason. The first thing listed individuals giving aid to a foreign enemy. , that's putting a foreign enemy's interests, abovethe interest of the united states. bribery occurred when an official solicited received or offered a personal favor or benefit to influence official action, risking that he would put his private welfare. Above the national interest and high crimes and misdemeanors captured the other ways in which a high official might, as the story explained, disregard public interest in the discharge of the duties of political office. , based on the record before you. What has happened in the case today is something that i do not think that we have ever seen before. a president who has doubled down on violating his oath to faithfully executethe laws and to protect and defend the constitution.

The evidence reveals the president, who used the powers of his office to demand that a foreign government participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency. As president john kennedy declared the right to vote in a free american election is the most powerful and precious right in the world. , but our elections become less free when they are distorted by foreign interference. There'S widespread agreement that russian operatives intervene to manipulate our process. , but that is magnified. if a sitting president abuses, the powers of his office, actually to invite foreign intervention. youcan, see why. , imagine living in a part of louisiana or texas that is prone to devastating hurricanes and Flooding. , what would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that congress has provided for? What would you think if that president says i would like to do you --? I would like you to do us a favor i'll meet with you and i'll send a disaster relief once you brand my opponent, a criminal. , wouldn't you know in your gut that such a president had abused his office.

Afrtd are andthat. He was trying to corrupt the electoral process. I believe that record shows wrongful acts on that scale here. It shows a president that delayed meeting a foreign leader and provided assistance that congress and his own advisers believed showed our national interest in limiting russian aggression. saying russia. If you're listening, you know a president that cared about the constitution would say russia if you're listening, butt out of our elections, and it shows a president that did this to strong arm a foreign leader into smearing. One of the president's opponents in our on going election. Season. , that's not politics as usual. atleast, not in the united states or not in any mature democracy.

It is instead why the constitution obtained an impeachment power. a president should resist foreign interference in our elections. , not demand it and not welcome it. If we are to keep faith with our constitution and with our republic, president trump must be held to account. thank you. thank you. , professor. thank you. It'S an honor and a privilege to join the other witnesses to discuss a matter of grave concern to our country and to our constitution, because this house has the sole power of impeachment. and whether that standardhas been met.

In the case of the current president of the united states. , as i explained in the remainder and balance of the opening statement, the record compiled shows the president has committed several impeachment offenses, including bribery abuse of power and benefit himself personally objecting justice and objecting congress. Our hearing today should serve as a reminder of one of the fundamental principles that drove the founders of our constitution, to break from england and to draft their own constitution. The principle that in this country, no one is king. We have followed that principle since, before the foundingof, the constitution. , it's recognized around the world as a fixed, inspiring american ideal. In his third message to congress in 1903, president roosevelt delivered one of the finest articulations of this president.

He said no one is above the law and no man is below. Nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey. It. obedience to the law is demanded as a right. , not as a favor. No one, not even the president, is above the law. first in the british system. They have no choice and in our constitution the framers allowed elections to serve as a crucial means for insuring presidential accountability. second. In the british system, the king could do no wrong.

and no other parts of the government could check him. in the british system, everyone, but the king was impeachment. They rebel against the monarch. They saw as corrupt and entitled to do no long. In our declaration of independence, they set forth those and when they later convened to draft our constitution, they were united around a simple, indisputable principle. That was a major safe guard for the public. We, the people against tyranny of any kind. , a people that had overthrown a king were not going to turn around and create an office that likethe king was above the law and could do no wrong.

The framers created a chief executive to bring it to the administration of federal laws, but to be accountable to congress for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. The framers concern was evidence about the convention. here. I must thank my friends that referred to william davy. I will talk about james, that was appointed to the supreme court and assured the president is of a very different nature from a monarch. He is to be personally responsible for any abuse of the great trust placed in him. end quote. This brings us to the crucial question: we're here to talk about today.

the standard for impeachment. , the constitution defines treason and the term bribery basically means using office for personal gain, or, i should say misusing office for personal gain. and attempts to subvert the constitution. When the president dares to use the power and breaches public, trust and serious injuries to the republic and the federalist papers, alexander hamilton declared they are those.

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