EVENT ENDED

Analysis after a contentious second day of Judiciary Committee testimony

Presenting the evidence: The House Judiciary Committee is hearing from lawyers for Democrats and Republicans about the Intelligence Committee's investigation into Trump.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday heard from lawyers for both Democrats and Republicans on findings from the Intelligence Committee's impeachment inquiry over allegations that President Donald Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in order to pressure its government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

Witnesses for the Intelligence Committee included majority counsel Daniel Goldman and the Republicans' lawyer, Steve Castor. Also on the witness list was Barry Berke, majority counsel for the Judiciary Committee. The hearing began at 9 a.m.

Follow us here for all of the latest breaking news and analysis from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HIGHLIGHTS

  • The House will announce articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday, multiple sources told NBC News. They are expected to be abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
  • The Monday hearing, which included roughly nine hours of testimony, was marked by interruptions and fiery exchanges.
  • Rudy Giuliani's role in the push by Trump to investigate a political rival once again became the focus during an intense round of questioning by the Democrats' lawyer.
  • As the Republicans' lawyer was being questioned, the Justice Department inspector general released its long-awaited report examining the origins of the probe into Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Download the NBC News mobile app for the latest news on the impeachment inquiry

Live Blog

Democrats revisit clip of Trump saying he has the right to do whatever he wants

Berke made a point to play a July clip of Trump saying he has the right to do whatever he wants — a clip that's been played now multiple times during the Judiciary Committee hearings

Berke made note of the comment when discussing how Trump's conduct is impeachable. The remarks served as Berke's basis that Trump views himself as above accountability — just as they were used in Thursday's hearing.

Trump's comments were made at a July speech before a Turning Point USA conference.

"Then, I have an Article II, where I have to the right to do whatever I want as president," he said. "But I don’t even talk about that."

The GOP impeachment wall: Why Republicans won't walk away from Trump

Late in the afternoon of Aug. 7, 1974, Republican leaders in Congress traveled up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House to deliver a stark message to Richard Nixon: His presidency was over....

Today, as Democrats in the House of Representatives move toward bringing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, with the next Judiciary Committee hearing of evidence set for Monday, few Democrats are still clinging to the hope that Republicans will reach a breaking point with Trump like they did with Nixon.

President Richard Nixon gestures toward transcripts of White House tapes after announcing he would turn them over to House impeachment investigators and make them public in April of 1974.AP file

"I really don't think there is any fact that would change their minds," Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told NBC News.

Why? Two key changes since Nixon: a massive divide in American political life — we hate the other team more than ever before — and a media climate that fuels and reinforces that chasm, powered by Fox News on the Republican side.

Read the full story here.

Berke recounts what David Holmes heard on Trump-Sondland call

Berke recounted a key moment from the impeachment hearings in which longtime diplomat David Holmes explained how he was able to overhear a phone conversation between Trump and Ambassador Gordon Sondland at a Ukrainian restaurant.

Holmes testified that he was able to overhear the July 26 conversation between Trump and Sondland because Trump was speaking on the phone extremely loudly — so loudly, in fact, that Holmes said Sondland “winced” in discomfort and had to hold the phone away from his ear.

 

'Why are we here?': Collins blasts impeachment as 'PR move' by Democrats

Ranking member Collins opened the second House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing with a familiar argument: President Donald Trump did nothing wrong and the Democrats have a vendetta against him because they lost the 2016 election.

"This may be known as the focus group impeachment," Collins said, adding that it's a "good PR move" from Democrats to try to convince the American people to favor impeachment.

He also took aim at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who announced Thursday that she has asked key chairmen leading the inquiry to draft articles of impeachment against the president. He said she undercut their inquiry by pushing to draft articles of impeachment as the committee is beginning its inquiry.

Collins also excoriated Democrats for how they have run the inquiry, saying the committee has become a "rubber stamp" and warned that "this institution is in danger" because he said it has not been a fair process for the president.

"It's all political," he said. "It's a show."

 

Collins says Schiff 'misled the American people.' What's he talking about?

In his opening remarks Monday, Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, argued that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff "misled the American people" and made up facts to make his case for impeachment. He's touching on a frequent Republican talking point: Schiff's parody of Trump's July 25 phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart.

"I guess that's what you get when you're making up impeachment as you go," Collins said. 

This is misleading. During a hearing in September, Schiff parodied Trump’s rhetoric and exaggerated some of the president's language while making it clear at the time he was illustrating a point and not reading verbatim the White House's record of that July 25 conversation. Some of his phrasing matches the White House's own summary of what Trump said. Read more about the backstory behind this claim here

After Trump attacked him, Schiff acknowledged that the president was "right about one thing — your words needs no mockery." Read the White House's record of the call here.

Analysis: Giuliani is now Exhibit A

One reason that Giuliani’s recent trip to Ukraine is so confounding is that it is so central to the Democrats’ case that Trump’s actions not only merit impeachment, but also require it.

The idea is that the president is corrupt and that his corruption is an ongoing danger, meaning that only removing him from office would protect the nation from him.

That’s what Nadler said about Giuliani’s “apparent attempt to gin up the same so-called favors” from Ukraine that resulted in the impeachment inquiry in the first place. “This pattern of conduct represents a continuing risk to the country,” Nadler said.

Giuliani is now Exhibit A.

The White House lays out its case against impeachment

While the president has already indicated his focus is more on the upcoming release of the DOJ inspector general report later today, the White House is still working to rebut the closing arguments by Democrats on Judiciary.

According to an official working on the strategy, the administration's arguments against this "unfair" and "unprecedented" impeachment process, in their view, boil down to the following: .

  • They continue to insist there is "no evidence of wrongdoing" by Trump;
  • They point out Ukraine's leader has said there was no pressure;
  • They say aid to Ukraine wouldn’t even exist without Trump (pointing out that he made the decision to begin providing Ukraine with lethal aid);
  • And they continue to argue there's no obstruction (since, they say, it’s not obstruction "to raise long-standing constitutionally based privileges.")

Watch as InfoWars host interrupts start of hearing, shouting down Nadler for 'Democratic treason'

InfoWars host Owen Shroyer interrupted the start of Monday's second Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, shouting "Democratic treason" and "Americans are sick of your impeachment scam" among other shouts directed at Nadler.

He was escorted out of the hearing room by Capitol Police.

Shroyer was live-streaming his protest on Twitter.

Earlier this year, Shroyer called for the lynching of former President Obama.

 

Inside the hearing room...

Quotes from both Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Cedric Richmond are prominently displayed behind the Republican side of the dias.

"We can not accept a second term for Donald Trump," Speaker Pelosi May 7, 2019

"My sole focus right now is to make sure that he's not the president next term," Rep. Cedric Richmond April 29, 2019

A short time later, Republicans replaced the Pelosi quote with one that says “Where’s Adam?” This presumably is referring to Chairman Schiff, whom Republicans want to testify. 

Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee arrive as the panel convenes to hear investigative findings in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump on Dec. 9, 2019. From left are Reps. Steve Chabot, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

 

Scalise accuses Schiff of 'spying' on Congress, Giuliani, the press

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., accused House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., of "spying" on Congress during a Monday interview with "Fox and Friends."

Scalise was referencing the release of call logs in the Democratic House Intelligence Committee report on Trump's conduct with regards to Ukraine, which showed contacts involving the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his indicted associate Lev Parnas, as well as Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, and conservative journalist John Solomon, whose work provided fodder for much of what Trump and his allies have focused on in Ukraine.

"It's a real concern," said Scalise, the second-highest ranking House Republican. "I mean the fact that Adam Schiff has been spying on members of the press, on members of Congress, on the president's own attorney. Who else is Adam Schiff spying on? And where are the rest of these  phone records?"

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, speaks during a House resolution vote on Oct. 31, 2019.

"We don't know who all the people are that he got phone records of," Scalise added. "We do know some people of the press and some members of Congress are people who he had been spying on. The press ought to be outraged by this by the way. It does really go after their ability to do their job."

Speaking with CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Schiff said the "blowback" to the release of the call logs, which appeared to be obtained through a subpoena to AT&T, "has only come from the far right."

"Every investigator seeks phone records to corroborate, sometimes to contradict, a witness’s testimony," he said, adding, "The fact that Mr. Nunes or Giuliani or others show up in this scheme doesn’t make them irrelevant, doesn’t give them a pass."

Highlights from the Constitutional experts' testimony