Gaetz brings up Hunter Biden's past substance issues — and it immediately backfired
Debate surrounding the next amendment to be introduced quickly divulged into a tit-for-tat involving allegations of cocaine usage and driving under the influence charges.
It began with Gaetz introducing an amendment to strike former Vice President Joe Biden from the articles of impeachment as the subject of an investigation Trump wanted Ukraine to launch and replace him with Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, and Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of that company.
Gaetz said the purpose of Trump's ask was clear: probe Hunter Biden's conduct. In the July phone call with Zelenskiy, Trump asked his counterpart to investigate "the Bidens."
But then Gaetz went into an extensive speech in which he highlighted Hunter Biden's past cocaine and crack abuse.
"I don't want to make light of anybody's substance abuse issues," Gaetz said. "But it's a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car."
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., took note of Gaetz highlighting Hunter Biden's past substance abuse and said it was rather hypocritical to hear such commentary, alluding to Gaetz's 2008 arrest on a charge of driving under the influence.
Gaetz calling out Hunter Biden's substance abuse was like the "pot calling the kettle black," Johnson said, adding that if someone had a DUI, it would not be something he'd bring up. The charge against Gaetz was eventually dropped.
"I would say that the pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do," Johnson said. "I don't know what members, if any, have had any problems with substance abuse, been busted in DUI, I don't know."
"But if I did, I wouldn't raise it against anyone on this committee," he continued. "I don't think it's proper."
Collins: Democrats have 'lowered the standard' for impeachment
Jordan's effort to eliminate first article of impeachment is defeated
After nearly three hours of debate, Jordan's amendment to eliminate the first article of impeachment against Trump — the one charging him with abuse of power — was voted down along party lines.
Raskin criticizes Republican defense of Trump: 'They don't accept the facts'
Pelosi says Democrats are not whipping members to support impeachment articles
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that Democratic leaders are not whipping their members in favor of the articles of impeachment, assuming they come out of the Judiciary Committee and to the floor.
“We are not whipping this legislation, nor do we ever whip something like this. People have to come to their own conclusions,” she said at her weekly press conference when asked if she had a message to moderate Democrats who may be undecided about how to vote next week.
Pelosi added that she “rather not ask anybody what their vote is.”
Though, she said emphatically, “The facts are clear — irrefutable, in fact.”
Asked to react to Trump calling the articles of impeachment against him “impeachment lite,” Pelosi said. “The president is wrong.”
The president made the comment this week suggesting he expected Democrats to introduce more articles than just abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
When asked why bribery wasn’t another article, Pelosi said that she’s not a lawyer.
"The articles are what they are. They're very powerful, they're very strong."
Inside the jockeying to prosecute Donald Trump's impeachment
WASHINGTON — In furtive conversations with senior colleagues on the House floor, with their own aides and in private conclaves like Wednesday's weekly Congressional Black Caucus luncheon, Democratic lawmakers have been quietly trying to game out how to become one of the "managers" who will prosecute the case in the Senate if the House impeaches President Donald Trump.
"There are a lot of discussions going on and rumors," Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the CBC, said after the panel's impeachment session Wednesday night. "I’m told that my name is on the list [for consideration], but I have not actively sought to be one of the floor managers. ... If the speaker would like for me to do that, I would be happy to do it."
The allure of being named to a select group for a historic mission — no matter the cautionary tale provided by the last Senate trial of a president — is as self-evident as most lawmakers' desire to carve out a personal legacy, get more airtime on television and raise more campaign money.
At the same time, it's a complicated task for the politically ambitious because the picks will be made solely at the discretion of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and many House members presume that it could be disqualifying to lobby too hard — especially publicly — for posts that require the utmost solemnity.
Read the full article here
‘I move to strike the last word!’ made simple
If you’ve been watching closely, you’ve heard these words a lot. According to the Congressional Research Service, in this context, it just means I’d like to talk now.
Read more about it here.
There's talks about adding Dershowitz to Trump's legal team, sources say
There are preliminary discussions happening now about bringing Alan Dershowitz on to the president's legal team, according to a source familiar with the conversations, but the source cautions no final decision has been made and so far nothing appears imminent.
Dershowitz, who was at the White House yesterday for a Hanukkah reception, has often defended the president re: the Mueller investigation on cable news. But he also has described himself as a "loyal liberal who has supported every Democratic candidate for president since I campaigned for Adlai Stevenson in 1952," and has said he didn't agree with some of the president's policies — like on the travel ban and DREAMers.
He'd likely be a controversial pick: cases he has defended or advised on include those of O.J. Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein, and Harvey Weinstein. He's a professor emeritus at Harvard Law and a graduate of Yale Law.
Trump is watching (and inaccurately tweeting)
It appears the president has tuned in.
He's right that he asked President Zelenskiy to "do us a favor," but he's misstating Democrats' statements here.
Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, was posing a hypothetical about a governor asking for a favor when she said "do me a favor," and according to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's retelling, Trump said, "I would like you to do a favor, though." She didn't use an "us" or "me."
Bannon predicts impeachment will backfire for Democrats and an 'Ali-Frazier' Trump-Clinton rematch
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told CNBC on Thursday that he thinks the impeachment process has ensured Trump’s re-election in 2020 and that Democrats will lose their House majority to Republicans. He also predicted Hillary Clinton is going to jump into the Democratic primary for an “Ali-Frazier” rematch with Trump.
"What the Democrats, I think, may have done is to lock in control of the Senate, reinforce President Trump's re-election in 2020, and also concede the House so we could be back to the beginning of the Trump administration when we had all aspects of government," Bannon said.
"What they're going to turn to is who can save the Democratic Party ... I think you're going to see a rematch, Ali-Frazier — it's going to be Clinton-Trump in 2020."
Gaetz says there's 'no evidence' Ukraine was aware of hold on military aid, but evidence suggests otherwise
Gaetz asserted there is "no evidence" that Ukrainian officials were even aware of a hold on nearly $400 million of military aid.
The evidence suggests otherwise.
Pentagon official Laura Cooper testified before impeachment investigators that her staff received emails from Ukrainian officials asking what was going on with the aid as early as July 25 — the same day as the Trump/Zelenskiy call.
"What is going on with Ukrainian security assistance?" one Ukrainian contact emailed a member of Cooper's staff, she testified.
Though she could not be certain the check-in was a result of the recently placed hold on aid or just a regular inquiry, she said, "It's my experience with the Ukrainians they would call about specific things, not just generally checking in on the assistance package."