What You Need to Know About Wednesday's Impeachment Inquiry Hearing

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Posted: Dec 04, 2019 7:30 AM
What You Need to Know About Wednesday's Impeachment Inquiry Hearing

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Now that the House Intelligence Committee has voted to approve its report in a partisan vote, claiming the evidence supporting President Trump’s misconduct and obstruction of justice is “overwhelming,” the 300-page document will now go to the House Judiciary Committee.

The committee will be tasked with drafting potential articles of impeachment.

Wednesday’s hearing, which will begin at 10 a.m. EST, will feature a panel of four constitutional law professors: Noah Feldman of Harvard University, Pamela Karlan of Stanford University, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University.

All of them except Turley are Democrats.

These legal scholars will answer questions from lawmakers to "explain the scope of that constitutional standard of impeachment."

"Our first task is to explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct like those against President Trump," said Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., when he announced the hearing.

After opening statements from Nadler and Collins, the law professors will be sworn in and given 10 minutes each for an opening statement, after which questioning will begin. 

Wednesday's hearing is expected to mirror the format used by the House Intelligence Committee last month. The proceedings start with a 45 minute period for the Democrats, most likely led by Judiciary Committee counsel Norm Eisen. Republicans will then get 45 minutes.

Then, the hearing will go to five-minute rounds for each of the 41 members. The five-minute round alone should consume three hours and 25 minutes. (Fox News)

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, criticized the hearing in a letter to Nadler on Monday.

"This ad hoc, poorly executed 'impeachment inquiry' will provide the Senate with ample justification for expeditiously disposing of it," he wrote.

"As Republicans have stated before, and consistent with Chairman Schiff’s repeated statements, withholding information from the minority shall constitute evidence of your denial of fundamental fairness and due process, as well as obstruction of minority rights," Collins added. 

Under the House-passed rules, the president's counsel could take part in the Judiciary Committee's hearing, but the White House said on Sunday they would not participate in the “baseless” and “partisan” inquiry.

President Trump, who's in London for a NATO summit, blasted the hearing.

"They get three constitutional lawyers ... and we get one," Trump said. "That's not sounding too good, and that's the way it is. We don't get a lawyer, we don't get any witnesses -- we want Biden, we want the son Hunter, where's Hunter? We want Schiff. We want to interview these people. Well, they said no. We can't do it."

Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale, meanwhile, pointed out at least one of the witnesses is a radical liberal.

Rep. Steve Scalise also called the hearing a "scam" with a "pre-determined outcome."