Democrats are looking to move quickly on impeachment as, besides them trying to complete the process by the first Democratic primary presidential election next year, new national polling is showing impeachment fatigue among voters starting to set in.
As a result of the hurried process, Politico reports Democrats have scheduled a hearing on December 4th for constitutional experts to discuss what actions constitute an impeachable offense and the impeachment process as a whole.
This sort of hearing is customary before an actual House floor vote to officially impeach the president. Such a vote is expected to clear the chamber, forcing the Senate to take up the impeachment process.
“Republicans held a similar hearing at the outset of proceedings against President Bill Clinton in 1998, and Democrats say the move is a necessary prerequisite to drafting articles of impeachment,” Politico adds.
In a statement, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said his chamber was looking into the “framework” laid forth in the Constitution to impeach the president and his party would be pursuing it accordingly.
“The impeachment inquiry is entering into a new phase,” he said per Politico. “Our first task is to explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct like those against President Trump.”
In the statement, Nadler also said Democrats invited President Trump and his legal team to participate in the hearing.
“At base, the president has a choice to make: he can take this opportunity to be represented in the impeachment hearings, or he can stop complaining about the process,” the Judiciary Committee chairman said. “I hope that he chooses to participate in the inquiry, directly or through counsel, as other presidents have done before him.”
Next week's hearing will give Trump and his legal team the option to participate https://t.co/Gxc9YOcNWQ
— POLITICO (@politico) November 29, 2019
Most notably, the hearing will give Trump and his legal team the option to participate. The president and his allies have blasted Democrats over their impeachment inquiry, saying it has failed to include a meaningful due process for the president.
Nadler sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday notifying him of his lawyers’ opportunity to attend and giving the president a deadline of Dec. 1 to inform him of whether his attorneys plan to participate.
Nadler also wrote that the committee plans to use the hearing to “analyze” the evidence gathered by the House Intelligence Committee, which wrapped up a series of public hearings last week that focused on allegations Trump pressured Ukraine’s government to investigate his political rivals.
The hearing will be titled, “The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment.” The witnesses, who have yet to be announced, will face questions from lawmakers about technical aspects of the impeachment process, including what constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor as defined in the Constitution.