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Lawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing
Republicans and Democrats on Sunday night held prep sessions as they gear up for the House Judiciary Committee's high-stakes impeachment hearing concerning President Trump's dealing with Ukraine.
Lawmakers are looking to be as ready as possible ahead of Monday's hearing, one of the final opportunities for members to publicly make their case for or against impeachment as Democrats charge ahead with hopes to vote on articles before the Christmas holiday.
Democrats practiced in sessions that lasted for more than six hours over the course of two days, with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) telling Politico on Sunday that "We're all on the same page" in terms of which articles of impeachment will be drafted.
Republicans on the panel, along with their staff and Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) - two of Trump's strongest allies in the lower chamber - huddled in the House Judiciary room in the Rayburn House Office Building at 8 p.m. on the eve of the hearing.
Equipped with boxes of Domino's pizza, members reviewed the format and went over strategy for just over an hour, according to sources in the room.
"Basically, we just went over the format because the Democrats have been playing hide the ball so much, we also had to tell our members what the format was so that's just getting ready for the format, but other than that it was very basic," House Judiciary Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) told The Hill while exiting the meeting.
Republicans are expected to continue their attacks of the process and criticisms over House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's (D-Calif.) handling of the inquiry, with some going as far as alleging he has fabricated information in an attempt to control the narrative.
"When Adam Schiff in the very first open hearing, he had to make up the phone call that should tell people a lot if you have to make up the very basic facts if you're trying to impeach a president, it tells me you've got nothing and you enjoy basically lying more you enjoy tell the truth," Collins told The Hill, adding he didn't feel Republicans needs days of preparation ahead of the hearing. "We don't need two days to make up our stories."
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, slammed House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) for holding Monday's hearing without scheduling a minority hearing before moving forward with articles of impeachment. Biggs also slammed the format of the hearing, telling The Hill "it's ridiculous the first four hours will be staff asking questions."
Democrats have strongly defended their handling of the process, arguing they believe they have a clear case that the president abused his power for political gain and obstruction of Congress.
"I think the case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat," Nadler said during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.
During Monday's hearing members are expected to hear a "presentation of evidence" from both majority and minority counsels on the House Intelligence and House Judiciary Committees, one Democratic aide confirmed.