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
Nadler denies Republican witness requests, which include whistleblower and Schiff
Nadler denied Collins' witness requests — including the initial whistleblower and Rep. Adam Schiff — in a Monday letter, echoing Schiff's earlier rejection of a similar witness list provided by Rep. Devin Nunes during the House Intelligence Committee hearings.
Collins had requested eight witnesses in addition to any who were "requested by" Trump. Nadler wrote that since he understands Trump "is not requesting any witnesses to appear in our impeachment proceedings," there "is no further reason to address that request."
On other witnesses, Nadler said he agreed with Schiff that these hearings would not be used "as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the president pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or to facilitate the president's effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm."
But, Nadler said he remains "prepared" to hold a meeting after Monday's hearing if Collins wants to revisit the requests or make any additional ones.
Goldman: Trump’s actions are 'imminent threat' to elections, national security
Summarizing Goldman's points for Trump's impeachment
Near the end of his lengthy opening statement, Goldman summarized why he believes the evidence evaluated during the House Intelligence Committee investigation warrants Trump's impeachment.
- Trump's push for Ukraine to open investigations into the Bidens and Democrats "would benefit his 2020 re-election campaign, not the U.S. national interest."
- Trump "used his official office and the official tools of U.S. foreign policy — the withholding of an Oval Office meeting and $391 million in security assistance — to pressure Ukraine into meeting his demands."
- "Everyone" — meaning Pence, Mulvaney, Perry, others — "was in the loop" on Trump's Ukraine efforts.
- "Despite" Trump's efforts becoming public knowledge — something that "prompted" Trump to release the nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine — the president "has not given up." Trump "and his agents continue to solicit Ukrainian interference in our election, causing an imminent threat to our elections and our national security."
Fact check: GOP claims Trump impeachment inquiry 'shortest' in modern history
"The entire duration of the impeachment inquiry from the time Speaker Pelosi announced it on Sept. 24 until today has been 76 days," Republican counsel Steve Castor said Monday. "As Professor Turley testified last Wednesday, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding with the thinnest evidentiary record and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president."
Castor's timeline is false. While impeachment is quite rare, other impeachments have happened more quickly, and the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump hasn't yet concluded.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Oct. 9, 1998, to begin impeachment proceedings against then-President Bill Clinton; he was impeached just 72 days later Dec. 19, 1998. While the scandal over his relationship with Monica Lewinsky had been ongoing for months, the actual impeachment process was pretty quick.
While perhaps not considered "modern," President Andrew Johnson's proceedings occurred even more rapidly. After impeachment proceedings were announced against Johnson on Feb. 22 1868, he was impeached two days later, on Feb. 24, 1868.
The impeachment inquiry into Trump began 76 days ago on Sept. 24 with Pelosi's announcement, as Castor notes. Last Thursday, Pelosi directed the House to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment.
More bickering over taking a 15-minute recess
The hearing is in recess for 15 minutes, but it required a vote and more arguing to make it happen. After he announced his "no" vote, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said the only reason the Democrats wanted to take a break is so they could speak with reporters.
Goldman: Trump's 'actions and words' show he will keep asking for foreign help, impeachment is 'warranted'
Daniel Goldman, the Democratic counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, wrapped up his opening statement by saying Trump's conduct toward Ukraine, when put into context with his conduct as a candidate and as president, shows he will keep soliciting foreign electoral interference.
"In June of this year, while sitting in the Oval Office, President Trump told a reporter that 'he’d take' information on his political opponent from a foreign country," Goldman said, citing comments from a Trump interview with ABC News. "This followed a nearly two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller that found that Donald Trump’s 2016 political campaign expected that it would 'benefit electorally' from foreign help, which it knew about and utilized to win the election."
"Candidate Trump welcomed the help in 2016, but in 2019, he launched an extensive scheme to use the awesome power of the presidency to leverage official presidential acts in order to get that help again," he continued.
Goldman said Trump's "actions and words show that there is every reason to believe that he will continue to solicit foreign interference in our elections."
"This undermines the very foundation of our democracy: our independent and sovereign right to choose our elected officials, including and especially our commander in chief," he continued. "Ultimately, this committee and the House of Representatives must determine whether such conduct poses a clear and present danger to our elections and to our national security such that it warrants the impeachment of the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump."
Republicans keep fighting Nadler over parliamentary inquiries and points of order
The start of Monday's Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing was filled with back-and-forth bickering between Republican members and Nadler over points of order and parliamentary inquiries.
Republicans cut off Nadler just seconds into the hearing, demanding a minority hearing day — something that Nadler said he would later consider. Protests from Reps. Andy Biggs and Mike Johnson led to the tabling along party lines of a pair of motions they sought to have approved. Those mentions were aimed at striking certain remarks from Berke from the official record because they said those comments impugned Trump's motives.
At the onset of the hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz began shouting back and forth with Nadler, leading to him being loudly gaveled by the chairman.
"Is this when we just hear staff ask questions of other staff and members get dealt out of this whole hearing and for the next four hours you're going to try to overturn the results of an election with unelected people?!" Gaetz, a close ally of the president, shouted.
Berke slams Trump impeachment defenses: 'He does not have the right to do whatever he wants'
Analysis: Democratic lawyer lays out rebuttal for each of Trump's defenses
Democratic lawyer Barry Berke, whose time just wrapped, gave a cocktail-napkin version of the Democratic rebuttal to each of Trump’s defenses:
1. The money for Ukraine defense was released: Berke noted it was released only “after he got caught.”
2. Trump was concerned broadly about corruption in Ukraine, not his political opponent: Berke pointed to the July 25 phone call, when Trump “ignored the talking points that were prepared” for him to discuss broad corruption and instead “only wanted to talk about the two things” that could affect his re-election.
3. Ukraine never felt pressured by Trump: To this day, Berke said, with continued U.S. aid on the line, Ukraine feels pressure. Specifically, he pointed to U.S. diplomats discussing on a text chain their desire to get the money but also not be trapped into engaging in U.S. domestic politics.
4. Trump never said “quid pro quo”: After Trump knew about the allegations against him, he spoke to U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland — according to Sondland — and literally said “no quid pro quo” for the investigations, but Berke noted that Trump “then described what he wanted.”
"None of these excuses hold any water,” Berke said. “They are refuted by testimony, contemporaneous records and more.”
White House press secretary's 'five indisputable facts'
Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, tweeted their main points in the case against impeachment.