POLITICS & ELECTIONS

House Judiciary Committee To Hold 1st Impeachment Hearing

Sep 17, 2019, 7:20 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:02 pm

The U.S. Capitol (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — As they investigate President Donald Trump, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will hold their first official hearing in what they are calling an impeachment investigation.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s outspoken former campaign manager, is scheduled to appear Tuesday to discuss the report by former special counsel Robert Mueller.

But it’s unlikely that Democrats will get much new information. A devoted friend and supporter of the Republican president, Lewandowski isn’t expected to elaborate much beyond what he told Mueller’s investigators last year. Mueller himself testified this summer, with no bombshells. Two other witnesses who were subpoenaed alongside Lewandowski — former White House aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter — won’t show up at all, on orders from the White House.

The hearing underscores what has been a central dilemma for House Democrats all year — they have promised to investigate Trump, aggressively, and many of their base supporters want them to move quickly to try to remove him from office. But the White House has blocked their oversight requests at most every turn, declining to provide new documents or allow former aides to testify. The Republican Senate is certain to rebuff any House efforts to bring charges against the president. And moderate Democrats in their own caucus have expressed nervousness that the impeachment push could crowd out their other accomplishments.

Still, the Judiciary panel is moving ahead, approving rules for impeachment hearings last week. Among those guidelines is allowing staff to question witnesses, as will happen for the first time with Lewandowski.

Lewandowski was a central figure in Mueller’s report, which said Trump could not be exonerated on obstruction of justice charges. Mueller’s investigators detailed two episodes in which Trump asked Lewandowski to direct then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit Mueller’s investigation. Trump said that if Sessions would not meet with Lewandowski, then Lewandowski should tell Sessions he was fired.

Lewandowski never delivered the message but asked Dearborn, a former Sessions aide, to do it. Dearborn said he was uncomfortable with the request and declined to deliver it, according to the report.

Porter, a former staff secretary in the White House, took frequent notes during his time there that were detailed throughout the report. He resigned last year after public allegations of domestic violence by his two ex-wives.

In letters to the committee on Monday, the White House said that Dearborn and Porter were “absolutely immune” from testifying. White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote that the Justice Department had advised, and Trump had directed, them not to attend “because of the constitutional immunity that protects senior advisers to the president from compelled congressional testimony.”

In a separate letter, Cipollone said that Lewandowski, who never worked in the White House, should not reveal private conversations with Trump beyond what is in Mueller’s report. He wrote that his conversations with Trump “are protected from disclosure by long-settled principles protecting executive branch confidentiality interests.”

Democrats say the White House’s rationale isn’t legally sound. In a statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the White House’s position is “a shocking and dangerous assertion of executive privilege and absolute immunity.”

He added: “The President would have us believe that he can willfully engage in criminal activity and prevent witnesses from testifying before Congress — even if they did not actually work for him or his administration.”

In an effort to try and pry documents and testimony from the Trump administration, the Judiciary panel has filed two lawsuits — one against former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who also defied a subpoena earlier this year on Trump’s orders. But the lawsuits could take months to resolve and Nadler has said he wants to make a decision by the end of the year on whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump.

Nadler, D-N.Y., made his own views clear in an interview Monday with a New York radio station, saying that in his personal opinion “impeachment is imperative” in order to “vindicate the Constitution.”

But he also acknowledged that it won’t be easy, echoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by saying they will have to have greater consensus than they do now in order to vote on impeachment. He said the hearings will decide whether American people get there or not.

“No. 1, you don’t want to tear the country apart,” if the public sentiment isn’t there, Nadler said. “No. 2, you need 218 votes on the House floor.”

One of the main reasons that the votes aren’t there yet is because moderates in the caucus — many of whom are freshmen who handed Democrats the majority in the 2018 election — are worried it will distract from other accomplishments. A group of those freshmen met with Nadler last week to express concerns.

“There’s far too much work left to be done and we are in danger of losing the trust of the American people if we choose partisan warfare over improving the lives of hardworking families,” wrote New York Rep. Max Rose, a Democratic freshman, in a Friday op-ed in the Staten Island Advance newspaper.

KSL 5 TV Live

Politics & Elections

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to reporters following the weekly Senate Republ...

Michael Tackett

McConnell will step down as the Senate Republican leader in November after a record run in the job

Mitch McConnell says he'll step down as Senate Republican leader in November. The 82-year-old Kentucky lawmaker is the longest-serving Senate leader in history.

52 minutes ago

New homes during construction. (Ray Boone, KSL News)...

Daniel Woodruff

Battle brewing between Utah builders, cities over home inspections

SB185, which passed the Senate this week and awaits a vote in the House of Representatives, could allow builders to pick their own inspectors.

14 hours ago

FILE - A solar farm sits in Mona, Utah, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022. The House voted Friday, April 28,...

Sophie Austin, Associated Press/Report for America

Biden administration taps $366M to fund clean energy for Native American tribes and rural areas

The federal government will fund 17 projects across the U.S. to expand access to renewable energy on Native American reservations and in other rural areas, the Biden administration announced on Tuesday.

20 hours ago

The Larry H. Miller Company and Miller family unveiled renderings for the Power District, a nearly ...

Lindsay Aerts

Plan to finance MLB stadium gets House approval after major tax change

The plan to finance a Major League Baseball stadium on Salt Lake's west side got a big change as it hit the House floor Tuesday.

22 hours ago

House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. (Getty Images/Reuters via CNN ...

Clare Foran, Lauren Fox, Morgan Rimmer and Ted Barrett, CNN

Four days until a partial government shutdown; lawmakers yet to reach deal

There is still no clear path to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of the week, with just four days until Congress runs into a key funding deadline.

23 hours ago

Utah schools could soon be required to have an armed guard in them if a big school safety bill pass...

Lindsay Aerts

Bill requiring armed security guards in Utah schools heads to full Senate vote

Utah schools could soon be required to have an armed guard in them if a big school safety bill passes the Utah Legislature.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

House Judiciary Committee To Hold 1st Impeachment Hearing