Analysis after the Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing

Image: Noah Feldman, Pamela Karlan, Jonathan Turley, Michael Gerhardt
Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina Law School professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley are sworn in before testifying during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 4, 2019.Alex Brandon / AP

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The House Judiciary Committee kicked off its first hearing of the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday with an exploration of the constitutional grounds for impeachment, including what constitutes bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors and whether President Donald Trump's actions meet those definitions.

The witnesses included Harvard law professor Noah Feldman; Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan; University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt; and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. The first three witnesses were asked to testify by the committee's Democrats, and Turley was called by the panel's Republican members.

Highlights from the Judiciary hearing:

Read our 10 takeaways from the impeachment hearing so far — in plain English

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  • There has been talk of originalism, the Founding Fathers, King George III and the Secret Treaty of Dover — and someone used the word "necromancy."

GOP lawmakers trash impeachment process

  • Rep. Gaetz and witness Karlan trade barbs, while Rep. Buck questions whether other presidents should have been impeached.

Three of four witnesses say Trump committed impeachable offenses

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Trump press secretary Grisham weighs in...


Hearing is on break, but the news won't stop...

The Judiciary Committee has taken a break at roughly 1:31 pm. ET until after the House finishes voting. Expect this break to last until approximately 2:15-2:30 p.m. 

We got through three member questions, so still 38 members to go. 

A congressional staffer puts up signs before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment on Dec. 4, 2019.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Keeping a close eye on the hearings

Members of the public use binoculars to watch the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images

5-minute member round of questioning begins

The staff questioning round has concluded, and the five-minute member round is beginning. The committee is still expected to break for votes at around 1:30 p.m. 

Nadler notes that White House declined to participate in hearing

Turley says rushing impeachment could 'leave half the country behind'

Turley gave a measured dissent from the other witnesses, focusing on the Democrats' impeachment inquiry schedule. He argued that Democrats have not gathered enough evidence and said impeachments should inherently be protracted to give the public time to understand the process. 

"Impeachments require a certain period of saturation and maturation," Turley said. "If you rush this impeachment, you’re going to leave half of the country behind."

Turley argued that the impeachment inquiry into Nixon, who resigned before a removal vote, is the "gold standard" because it lasted long enough for the public to catch up. 

He said that Democrats have to build a stronger record of evidence, adding that theirs is "one of the thinnest records ever to go forward."

Trump closes NATO by yawning at impeachment hearing: 'It'll be boring'

President Donald Trump closed out his trip to London for the annual North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting Wednesday with a focus on his political problems back home: the House impeachment inquiry.

"It's a joke," Trump told reporters during a meeting with Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

"I watched Hannity, Sean Hannity. I watched Laura Ingraham. I watched Tucker Carlson. I watched a lot of other legal scholars, frankly, I watched some people with great legal talent and highly respected. Alan Dershowitz and many more, many more. I watched a very terrific former special prosecutor you know Ken. And Ken is a talented man and a smart man," Trump said, rattling off Fox News hosts and guests like Ken Starr who frequently appear on the cable network. "And I will tell you it is a uniform statement that I think pretty much right down the road, that what they are doing is a very bad thing for our country. It is of no merit."

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"Hamilton" creator responds to Karlan's shout-out