Monday’s impeachment hearing into Donald Trump was off to a fiery start as a protester interrupted proceedings to attack the Judiciary Committee chairman, shouting: ‘Jerry Nadler is committing treason.’
Owen Shroyer of the conservative website Info Wars, filming himself with his iPhone, protested the president is ‘innocent’ and said: ‘You can kick me out of this hearing.’
And U.S. Capitol Police promptly removed him from the hearing room as Nadler gaveled the hearing back into order.
Owen Shroyer of the conservative website Info Wars interrupted the start of Monday’s impeachment hearing to defend President Trump
Filming himself, Owen Shroyer said ‘Jerry Nadler committed treason’
‘I shouldn’t have to remind everyone present that the audience is here to observe, not to demonstrate, not to indicate agreement or disagreement with any witness or any member of the committee. The audience is here to observe only. And we will maintain decorum in the hearing room,’ Nadler said.
Monday’s hearing – likely the last public one in the impeachment inquiry – is expected to be a show as both sides use the opportunity to make their final case to the American people.
Democrats argue President Trump committed an impeachable offense by with holding nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid from the Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into his rivals.
Trump has said his call with the Ukraine president was perfect and Republicans have defended the president as a victim of Democrats who want to over turn the 2016 election.
Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, led the defense of the president by complaining that House Intelligence Committee chairman, who the GOP dubbed the ‘star witness,’ was not there.
Republicans wanted Schiff to testify and posted a large sign reading ‘Where’s Adam?’ on an easel behind them.
Collins charged Democrats are impeaching Trump ‘because they can’t get over the fact Donald Trump is president of the United States and they don’t have a candidate that they think can beat him. It’s all political. And as we have talked about before, this is a show. Unfortunately, today, the witness who is supposed to be the star witness, chose to take a pass and let a staff answer for him.’
Democrats are projecting confidence.
‘We have a very rock-solid case,’Nadler said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ Sunday. ‘I think the case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat.’
Nadler’s panel could vote on formal articles of impeachment as soon as this week.
Chairman Jerry Nadler gaveled the hearing back to order after protester interrupted
Republican staff attorney Steve Castor, left, and Democratic staff attorney Barry Berke, right, shake hands before they testify as the House Judiciary Committee
President Trump has blasted Democrats for pursuing an impeachment ‘witch hunt’ and shows no sign of relenting in his all-out public defense
‘The central allegation is that the president put himself above his country several times, that he sought foreign interference in our elections several times, both for 2016 and 2020, that he sought to cover it up,’ Nadler said.
‘All this presents a pattern that poses a real and present danger to the integrity of the next election, which is one reason why we can’t just wait for the next election to settle matters,’ he said.
Ahead of Monday’s hearing, Nadler sent a letter to the White House late Sunday officially forwarding the House Intelligence committee’s report, along with additional evidence supporting impeachment.
It also invites White House officials to review sensitive materials in a classified setting.
Attorney Stephen Castor (left) will make the case for the Republicans while attorney Daniel Goldman (right) will make the case for the Democrats
The Capitol Dome shrouded in fog Monday morning
President Trump and his lawyers have declined to participate in Monday’s hearing but the White House has been on the defensive as the investigation phase into the president heads toward its conclusion.
‘Impeachment Hearing Hoax,’ is what the president called it in a tweet on Sunday.
Monday’s hearing sets off a pivotal week as Democrats march toward a full House vote expected by Christmas.
The evidence will be presented by congressional staff.
The opening argument will be made by Barry Berke for Judiciary committee Democrats and Stephen Castor for the Republicans. Daniel Goldman, the Democratic counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, will then present the evidence for impeachment, and Castor, the GOP lawyer for the Intel panel, will present the evidence against it.
Judiciary Committee members will then ask questions.
In drafting the articles of impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the constitution’s bar of ‘treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’
Trump and his allies acknowledge he likely will be impeached in the Democratic-controlled House, but they also expect acquittal next year in the Senate, where Republicans have the majority. Trump’s team is turning attention elsewhere, including Monday’s release of a long-awaited Justice Department report into the 2016 Russia investigation.
Rep. Nadler will lead Monday’s hearing, which will hear the results of the formal investigation into the president
‘I.G. report out tomorrow. That will be the big story!,’ the president tweeted Sunday.
The White House is refusing to participate in the process it calls a sham and the top Republican on the panel, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, asked to postpone the hearing, criticizing Democrats for moving too swiftly. One legal scholar testified last week it would be the quickest impeachment in modern history.
‘This is just how desperately they are — desperately focused on impeaching this president,” said Collins who said against Democrats unleashed thousands of pages of documents his side has no time to review before the session. ‘This is a show. This is a farce. This is whatever you want to call it. The American people are having their tax dollars wasted on this impeachment of this president.’
Trump is heading out for campaign rallies shifting attention away from the House.
Over the weekend, Trump was focused on a related matter, the Justice Department Inspector General’s findings into the FBI’s decisions to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president has long called special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe a ‘witch hunt,’ but the Inspector General’s report is expected to reject the president’s claim that it was illegitimate, according to people familiar with its findings.
Democrats say Trump abused his power in the July 25 phone call when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favor in investigating Democrats and engaged in bribery by withholding nearly $400 million in military aide that Ukraine depends on to counter Russian aggression.
With the vote in the Democratic controlled House all but a foregone conclusion, the White House has shifted its focus to the Senate.
A vote to convict the president requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, where Republicans hold 53 of 100 seats. It is unlikely that any Republican senators would cross party lines and vote to remove Trump from office.
As Democrats draft the articles, Pelosi’s challenge will be to go broad enough to appease her liberal flank, which prefers a more robust accounting of Trump’s actions reaching back to special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings, while keeping the charges more tailored to Ukraine as centrist lawmakers prefer. Democratic leaders will meet later Monday evening.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said Democrats should approach the question of what to include in the articles the way a prosecutor bringing forward ”the strongest and most overwhelming evidence and not try to charge everything, even though you could charge other things.”
‘I think we should focus on those issues that provide the greatest threat to the country. And the president is engaged in a course of conduct that threatens the integrity of the next election, threatens our national security,’ he said Sunday on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation.’
Monday’s hearing is to receive the Intelligence panel’s report on the inquiry, with lawyers from both parties testifying in what is expected to be a day long session that will lay the groundwork for the impeachment charges.
Nadler, in two television interviews, declined to say ultimately how many articles of impeachment Democrats will present but said they will involve ‘certainly abuse of power’ and likely ‘obstruction of Congress.’
He said final decisions will come after Monday´s hearing following discussions with House leadership and the Democratic caucus.
Nadler pointed to a ‘pattern’ of conduct by Trump in seeking foreign interference in elections but would not commit to including the evidence of obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as part of the articles of impeachment.
In his report, Mueller said he could not determine that Trump’s campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election. But Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump of obstructing justice in the probe and left it for Congress to determine.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy criticized Democrats for their timeline, which he said was unfairly aimed at preventing the nation’s voters from making their own choices in the 2020 election.
‘If they do not impeach him, they cannot beat him at the polls,’ McCarthy said on Fox News Channel’s ‘Sunday Morning Futures.’
Trump said over the weekend that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani wants to take the information gathered from Giuliani’s investigations and a recent trip to Ukraine to the U.S. attorney general and to Congress. But a House GOP ally called Giuliani’s trip ‘weird,’ coming as House investigators review allegations that Giuliani improperly worked on behalf of Trump to pressure Ukraine to pursue investigations into Biden and Biden’s son, as well as a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.
‘It is weird that he’s over there,’ said Rep. Matt Gaetz on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ describing it as ‘odd having him over there at this time.’