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Democrats express confidence in case as impeachment speeds forward

Democrats express confidence in case as impeachment speeds forward
© Aaron Schwartz

Congressional Democrats on Sunday said they are drafting articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE and expressed increasing confidence in their case ahead of a possible vote this week while Republicans reiterated their critiques of the process and insisted the president had done nothing wrong.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse passes sweeping reform bill to decriminalize marijuana This week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon MORE (D-N.Y.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that House Democrats “have a very rock-solid case” against the president.  

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“I think the case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat,” he said.

“And it ill behooves a president or his partisans to say you don’t have enough direct evidence when the reason we don’t have even more direct evidence is the president has ordered everybody in the executive branch not to cooperate with Congress in the impeachment inquiry, something that is unprecedented in American history and is a contempt of Congress by itself,” Nadler added.

Rep. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenHillicon Valley: Four major tech issues facing the Biden administration | Pressure grows to reinstate White House cyber czar | Facebook, Google to extend political ad bans House report says lawmakers could securely cast remote votes amid pandemic Why prevailing wage reform matters for H-1B visas MORE (D-Calif.), who also participated in the impeachment inquiries into Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton'Black Panther' star criticized for sharing video questioning COVID-19 vaccine Black voters: Low propensity, or low priority? Biden says he will join former presidents and publicly get coronavirus vaccine MORE, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the articles should focus on Ukraine rather than including conduct outlined in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting MORE’s report.

“The Mueller report is a report,” Lofgren said. “We don't have a direct witness testimony for most of that, so I think we'd be on firmest ground to move forward where we have direct evidence as with the report we will receive tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. from the Intelligence Committee.”

Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Tensions rise with Trump, Barr Maloney to lead Democrats' campaign arm Hillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' MORE (D-R.I.), who, like Lofgren, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the House has so far seen “a classic example of an impeachable offense.”

“[T]he focus is on the president’s misconduct, asking a foreign government to interfere in our elections …I think all of the potential articles of impeachment are on the table [but] that will be a decision the Judiciary Committee makes, but the Judiciary Committee will have all the evidence,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

House Intelligence Committee Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE (D-Calif.), meanwhile, defended his committee obtaining phone records as part of his investigation, saying the decision had only gotten “blowback” from “the far-right.”

“The fact that Mr. [Devin] Nunes or [Rudy] Giuliani or others show up in this scheme doesn’t make them irrelevant, doesn’t give them a pass,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

On the Republican side of the aisle, lawmakers continued their attack on the impeachment process and insisted Trump was acting on valid U.S. concerns in his dealings with Ukraine.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP senators back Christian school's push for COVID-19 carve-out Senate committee approves nominations of three FEC commissioners Cruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge MORE (R-Texas) blasted the inquiry as a “kangaroo court” on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and said House Democrats were motivated by the fact that “they hate the president.”

"It’s going to go to the Senate, it's going to go nowhere. And I think the American people know this is a waste of time and this is Democrats putting on a circus," Cruz said.

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMatt Gaetz warns GOP that arguments against legalizing marijuana increasingly unpopular Five Republicans vote for bill to decriminalize marijuana New Jersey investigating NY Young Republican Club party over social distancing MORE (R-Fla.), one of Trump’s most vocal allies in the House, defended his communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as motivated by a sincere desire to combat corruption in the country.

"I think the president was acting on a sincere, longly held view and skepticism of foreign aid," Gaetz said on ABC’s “This Week.” "I think he was acting on concern about Ukraine being the third-most corrupt country in the world."

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Alyssa Farah resigns as White House communications director Trump hits Barr over voter fraud remarks: 'He hasn't looked' MORE (R-N.C.), chair of the House Freedom Caucus, also defended Trump and said he was skeptical any Republicans would vote to impeach.

Meadows also pushed back on Republican Reps. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Lawmakers release compromise defense bill in defiance of Trump veto threat | Senate voting next week on blocking UAE arms sale | Report faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' in military plane crashes Report on military aviation crashes faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' Despite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill MORE (Texas) and Michael Turner’s (Ohio) characterization of Trump’s call with Zelensky as “inappropriate” and “alarming,” saying his colleagues “are wrong.”

“I was in the [closed-door] depositions,” Meadows said on “State of the Union” Sunday. “There’s a big difference between what is being alleged ... and what actually happened.”