House Judiciary Committee launches next phase of the impeachment process with a legal seminar

Peter Weber

The House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to approve its 300-page report on President Trump's conduct with Ukraine, concluding that "the evidence of the president's misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress." That report now goes to the House Judiciary Committee, which begins the process of drafting articles of impeachment with a hearing Wednesday on whether Trump's actions rise to the level of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," as specified in the Constitution.

Wednesday's four witnesses are all law professors: Harvard's Noah Feldman, Stanford's Pamela Karlan, and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina for the Democrats; George Washington University's Jonathan Turley for the Republicans. But it isn't expected to be boring.

The Judiciary Committee is larger and, at least recently, more unruly than the Intelligence Committee. Republicans, especially those most eager to protect Trump, are expected to complain about the Democrat-led process, argue that the president did nothing wrong — "the facts at issue aren't being significantly contested," The Associated Press notes — and try and disrupt Wednesday's hearing with procedural motions and other theatrics.

Nadler insists he is ready. "I'm not going to take any sh-t," he told Democrats in a private meeting on Tuesday, "a rare cuss word from the lawyerly Manhattan Democrat that prompted some lawmakers to sit up in their chairs," Politico reports, citing multiple people in the room. At the same time, "it wasn't lost on Democrats that Nadler's message could also apply to those in his own party who have closely scrutinized his role in the House's impeachment probe."

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