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Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: House Democrats hope for vote this week

House judiciary committee to meet on Monday and determine impeachment charges

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler is looking to move forward with drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler is looking to move forward with drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Members of the US House of Representatives are to hold a vote to impeach President Donald Trump as early as this week, the chair of the House judiciary committee said.

As Democrats prepare for the last stages of the impeachment hearings, Jerrold Nadler said on Sunday that he wanted to bring formal charges against the sitting president as quickly as possible.

“My goal is to do it as expeditiously and as fairly as possible, depending how long it takes,” Mr Nadler told CNN’s State of the Union.

If a vote is not held this week, many observers believe it will be called before Christmas.

Democrats opened the impeachment inquiry in September.

A whistle-blower revealed that Mr Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a phone call to investigate Joe Biden, Mr Trump’s main rival in the US 2020 presidential election, and his son Hunter.

The Trump administration is accused of withholding critical military aid until Ukraine began the investigation.

Mr Nadler said that Mr Trump’s conduct in Ukraine indicated “that the president put himself above this country several times”.

He said that Democrats had presented “a very rock-solid case” and Mr Trump would have “a guilty verdict in three minutes flat” if the case was presented to a jury.

But Mr Nadler would not say if the case would include evidence of obstruction of justice that was detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into the role of Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Democrats are split on whether to include evidence from the report, which did not implicate or exonerate the president.

Mr Trump fired back on Twitter on Sunday, quoting an article from The Wall Street Journal that said the Democrats had not “come up with a smoking gun”, inferring the impeachment inquiry was likely to fail.

On Monday, the judiciary committee will hold a crucial hearing on the impeachment inquiry, where lawyers from both parties from the House intelligence committee will testify.

After that, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will decide on the charges to include in the articles of impeachment.

On Saturday, Mr Nadler’s committee issued a document laying out the constitutional ground for impeachment.

Mr Trump responded by saying the inquiry was “a witch hunt” and a “total hoax”.

He said at the weekend that his personal lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, would provide Congress and the Attorney General William Barr “with a lot of good information” about his recent trip to Ukraine.

Updated: December 9, 2019 03:00 AM

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