Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week

House Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE next week, four Democratic sources told The Hill on Thursday.

“I expect articles will be introduced next week,” one of the Democratic sources said, adding that the Judiciary Committee could also begin marking up those articles next week as well. 

The sources signaled that the accelerated timeline is part of an effort to wrap up the historic inquiry into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine before Christmas. In doing so, however, Democrats don’t want impeachment to be the last vote Congress takes before heading into the religious holidays, preferring instead to end on a more bipartisan note like funding the government. 

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Things are moving swiftly. Already on the docket for Monday: The House Judiciary Committee will hear presentations from Democratic counsels as the lawyers seek to lay out the evidence they have uncovered since launching the inquiry in September and as the committee weighs what impeachment articles to introduce.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBiden to raise refugee cap to 125,000 in October Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan Angelina Jolie spotted in Capitol meeting with senators MORE (D-N.Y.) has informed Democrats on his committee to stay in Washington over the weekend rather than return home to their congressional districts. The committee is expected to hold mock hearings or prep sessions ahead of the Monday meeting. 

“There is a lot of work to do,” Nadler said. 

The impeachment timeline came into sharper focus Thursday after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda MORE (D-Calif.) formally asked six committee heads investigating Trump to begin drafting the articles of impeachment.

Later in the day, she huddled in her office with those Democratic committee heads — Nadler, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Schiff: Criminal contempt charges possible for noncooperation in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks MORE (Calif.), Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHouse Oversight demands answers on CBP's treatment of Haitian migrants House panel to examine states' abortion restrictions, hear from three congresswomen who've had abortions Overnight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France MORE (N.Y.), Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersBiden administration defends handling of Haitians amid uproar DHS suspends horse patrols but ramps up Haiti repatriation flights Maxine Waters: What we witnessed with Haitian migrants takes us back hundreds of years MORE (Calif.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal MORE (Mass.) — to discuss what the next steps in the impeachment process would look like.

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But leaving the meeting, Pelosi declined to outline the possible scope of the impeachment articles. 

“When we’re ready to make an announcement, we will,” she told reporters.

The impeachment developments come one day after the Judiciary Committee held its first hearing that weighed whether to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump. Three Democratic-invited constitutional scholars argued Trump had committed impeachable offenses. 

A fourth scholar, invited by Republicans, disagreed, and warned such a move would set a dangerous precedent.

Democrats have been debating the scope of the articles, with some wanting to keep a narrow focus on the Ukraine matter and others pushing to broaden it to include revelations in former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's report examining Russian interference in the 2016 election. But at the Wednesday hearing, Democrats gave clues as to which impeachment articles they intend to write.

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On a screen displayed in the hearing room, Democrats listed three possible impeachable offenses: Abuse of power and bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

Norman Eisen, the Democratic counsel for Judiciary, then went through a line of questioning in which he asked the three Democrat witnesses on Wednesday whether the president’s actions constituted examples of those three possible impeachable offense. The witnesses answered in the affirmative.

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails How lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation MORE (D-Calif.), a close Pelosi ally who serves on both the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, has been pushing to keep the articles narrow and focused. 

“I think it’s important that it’s digestible for everyday Americans who are understandably busy but who understand what a shakedown is too,” Swalwell said Thursday. 

Nadler said part of the reticence on the part of Democrats drafting the articles now stems from the uncertainty surrounding Trump and the White House’s participation in the process. 

Trump has until Friday to inform Nadler whether he or his counsel will take part in future hearings. 

"Remember, we're still waiting until 5 o'clock tomorrow to hear from the president [about] whether he wants to present to the committee, and if he wants to it'll be done, I think, next week," Nadler said. "That's all I'm going to say."

Mike Lillis contributed.