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Rep. Adam Schiff Says Trump Impeachment Hearings Could Start As Early As Next Week

caitlyn.clancey 27 Sep 2019

House Intelligence Committee Chairman and California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff has claimed the panel could begin President Trump's impeachment hearings as early as next week, meaning committee members may work through a scheduled congressional recess, Politico reported.

The panel will focus on a whistleblower's complaint about a July phone call Trump made with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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During the call, Trump asked Zelensky for a "favor," urging him to investigate presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

A White House summary of that call shows Trump pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart to look into the unsubstantiated allegations that Biden helped remove a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating Hunter.

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Democrats say Trump used his power of office and withheld military aid to Ukraine to get Zelensky to probe his political rival.

Trump, however, has said the call was "perfect" and insists he did nothing wrong.

"There was no quid pro quo, there was nothing," he said.

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On Tuesday, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the Democrat-led house would be moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.

She said, "The actions of the Trump presidency revealed a dishonorable fact of the president's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections."

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Now, Schiff says members of the House Intelligence Committee are planning to return to Washington next week in an effort to speed up their impeachment inquiry.

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While the rest of the House will be on a two-week recess, Schiff told CNN there would be a "busy couple weeks" ahead.

"I expect subpoenas," he said, adding that the process will proceed as "expeditiously as possible."

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The fact that lawmakers will be working through the two-week recess indicates a growing sense of emergency among House Democrats.

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Democrats are trying to finish the probe this fall, aiming to potentially move forward with impeachment by Thanksgiving, Schiff said.

"We have to see what witnesses are going to make themselves available and what witnesses are going to require compulsion."

He added that if the White House stonewalls the investigation, "it'll just strengthen the case on obstruction," which is an impeachable offense.

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Democratic lawmakers want to hear from the people mentioned in the whistleblower's complaint.

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This includes Rudy Giuliani, who is Trump's personal attorney, as well as Attorney General William Barr.

Rep. Denny Geck, Democrat of Washington, said he'd like to talk to the whistleblower next.

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Reps. Eric Swalwell and Jackie Speier, California Democrats on the intelligence committee, have caneled events in their districts next week.

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They told CNN this is in an effort to prepare for potential action on the panel. In the case of Speier, she's eager to find out what else the whistleblower knows.

"I want to know who was privy to this information and didn't speak up," Speier said. "We all take an oath of office when we become federal officials, and many of those people in the White House are federal officials."

She added, "There were gross violations of law and yet, he or she is the only person who came forward."

h/t: Politico, CNN

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