Horowitz testifies before Senate committee after FISA court rebukes FBI

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Horowitz: Report 'doesn't vindicate anyone'

Horowitz faces questions on IG report; Anna Kooiman has the details.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday, in the aftermath of his report examining the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe and problems with the process used to obtain a warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Horowitz previously testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Wednesday’s hearing comes a day after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) rebuked the FBI in a rare public order that referenced his report. Horowitz had revealed that there were 17 inaccuracies and omissions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications for Page, which included a doctored email and the failure to include exculpatory information about Page that may have impacted the FISC’s decision to grant the warrants.

FISA REPORT DROPS: 7 TAKEAWAYS FROM DOJ WATCHDOG'S RUSSIA PROBE REVIEW

“The FBI's handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Office of Inspector General] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above," Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in her four-page order. "The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable."

Horowitz’s report also described how the FBI relied on information gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele as part of opposition research for Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. Steele’s information helped lead officials to approve seeking a FISA warrant for Page, even though the information had not been vetted as required by FBI policy.

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The report said that while there were clear problems with the FBI’s FISA process, Horowitz did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that the Russia probe itself was launched due to political bias, although he noted that the threshold to start the probe was low. Additionally, when asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the inspector general made it clear that the question of possible bias “gets murkier” when discussing the FISA process.

Former FBI Director James Comey, who led the bureau at the time, insisted he was unaware of any impropriety at the time, but told “Fox News Sunday” he “was wrong” when he defended the FBI’s FISA process in the past. Still, he defended his former subordinates by claiming that no one committed any intentional misconduct, despite Horowitz calling for accountability and making referrals for further investigation. At the same time, Comey admitted that there was “real sloppiness,” and that as director, he was ultimately responsible.

Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

Original Article

Dem-led committee prepares impeachment resolution for House floor

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House Rules Committee holds a mark-up hearing for impeachment resolution

The Democratic-led House Rules Committee on Tuesday began a marathon session to prepare the ground rules for what is almost certain to be a furious showdown vote on the House floor to adopt articles of impeachment against President Trump.

The panel’s meeting will give an initial picture of what the House debate on Wednesday will look like, and what the timetable could be. Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., told Fox News that "we're settling in for a long meeting" on impeachment.

AS FINAL IMPEACHMENT VOTE NEARS, SWING-DISTRICT DEMS FALL IN LINE

The committee writes the procedures and other guidelines for debate, including how much time is given to issues and what amendments will be in order. Yet, despite the often dry material that is up for debate, the panel’s meeting could also be a feisty one as partisan lines have been firmly drawn in the impeachment fight.

At the core is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Democrats allege that Trump’s push for investigations into the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden’s conduct in the country was part of an attempted quid pro quo in exchange for a White House meeting and the unlocking of military aid.

"The president withheld congressionally approved military aid to a country under siege to extract a personal political favor. He did not do this as a matter of U.S. policy, he did this for his own benefit. That is wrong and if that is not impeachable conduct, then I don’t know what is," Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Tuesday.

Trump has denied the quid-pro-quo allegations and claimed that Democrats are engaging in a “witch hunt” against him. Republicans in the House have made similar claims, accusing House Democrats of running a “kangaroo court” as they dominate proceedings and push the House toward impeachment.

“This is not the result of a fair process and certainly not a bipartisan one. Sadly the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry has been flawed and partisan from day one so I guess it should come as no surprise that Democrats’ preordained outcome is also flawed and partisan,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said at Tuesday's session.

The House Judiciary Committee last week voted to send two articles of impeachment to the House floor, alleging obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. Articles related to other Democratic allegations, such as bribery, were notably absent. In the vote itself, it is likely to go down mostly along partisan lines. There are no signs that any Republican will vote for impeachment, although it is possible that several moderate Democrats in pro-Trump districts could oppose the historic step.

"The House Rules Committee is about to meet on impeachment. But why bother? Two-thirds of the Democrats on the committee voted to impeach the President BEFORE the Ukraine call even happened," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., tweeted. "For Dems, this is about pure politics. Not facts."

TOWN HALL MADNESS: DEMS IN SWING DISTRICTS FEEL VOTERS' WRATH FOR BACKING IMPEACHMENT

Impeachment polling trending in Trump's favor: Juan WilliamsVideo

The House is composed of 431 members, meaning Democrats would need 216 yeas to impeach Trump. There currently are 233 Democrats, so they could lose only 17 of their own and still impeach the president — or 18 if the lone independent backs impeachment. The articles still appear to have enough votes to pass, which would send them to the Senate for a trial. There, where Republicans dominate, Trump is almost certain to be acquitted.

Having the Rules Committee take the lead is a different approach from the Clinton impeachment in 1998 and 1999, where the articles came up on the House floor via a procedure known as “privilege.” The House secured a unanimous consent agreement to continue the articles over a two-day period.

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But while the debate could be feisty and angry in the Rules Committee, the Democrats have the upper-hand in terms of power. The Rules Committee is sometimes called “The Speaker’s Committee” because the speaker runs it, even though they are not a member of the committee.

The committee will present a rule for the floor debate, which will then be debated by the House first thing Wednesday morning. Once adopted, then the debate on the articles themselves will begin.

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Original Article

Judiciary Committee’s minority blasts articles of impeachment report, ‘anemic case’

closeRep. Adam Schiff defends Democrats' impeachment case against President TrumpVideo

Rep. Adam Schiff defends Democrats' impeachment case against President Trump

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'

The House Judiciary Committee's minority blasted the committee's rush to impeach President Trump and wrote that history will not look kindly on how exculpatory evidence was ignored to meet a "self-imposed December deadline," according to the full articles of impeachment report released early Monday.

The minority, which is comprised of Republicans, blasted the Democrat-led majority for not making the case for impeachment and simply employing "holdover" arguments from other investigations to make their case. Despite the divide, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the committee, wrote for the majority that Trump is a threat to the Constitution and should be removed from office.

CHAD PERGRAM: CONGRESS COULD SEE ITS BUSIEST WEEK EVER

The committee released a 658-page report on the impeachment resolution that lays out the case against Trump. Democrats have raised two articles of impeachable offenses, including abuse of power by soliciting Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election and then obstructing Congress during its investigation.

NADLER BRUSHES OFF POSSIBLE DEM DEFECTION

The minority wrote that both articles are supported by assumptions and hearsay. The minority, headed by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the committee, wrote that the majority decided to “pursue impeachment first and build a case second.”

The majority ignored exculpatory evidence but proclaimed the "facts are uncontested,” the minority wrote.

"The facts are contested, and, in many areas, the majority's claims are directly contradicted by the evidence," the minority wrote. They continued that "not one of the criminal accusations leveled at the president over the past year—including bribery, extortion, collusion/conspiracy with foreign enemies, or obstruction of justice—has found a place in the articles. Some of these arguments are just holdovers from an earlier disingenuous attempt by the majority to weaponized the Russia collusion investigation for political gain."

The majority's actions were "unprecedented, unjustifiable, and will only dilute the significance of the dire recourse that is impeachment," they wrote.

The minority also claimed procedural missteps by the majority by not allowing a "minority day of hearings," despite several requests to Nadler. They called the denial “blatant” and “intentional.” They claim Nadler also refused a request to subpoena witnesses. They wrote that there was a complete absence of “fact witnesses” and the case rested with the testimony from four academics and another with a panel of Congressional staffers.

The majority claimed that they were transparent. The majority wrote that the minority wanted to hear testimony from the whistleblower, but the majority stressed the importance of protecting the person’s identity. The minority's request to hear from Hunter Biden—the son of Joe Biden—was "well outside the scope of the inquiry," the majority wrote.

At the heart of the first charge, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Democrats have relied on a whistleblower’s complaint that claimed that there was at least an implied quid pro quo during the phone conversation. Trump was also accused of using agents "within and outside" the U.S. government to compel Kiev to investigate the Bidens and their business dealings in the country. The claim is that Trump withheld $391 million in essential military funds to pressure Kiev on the investigations.

Both Trump and Zelensky deny there was ever any implied or explicit quid pro quo.

The newly released report also claims that Trump directed key players in the inquiry from participating.

Trump "interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘‘sole Power of Impeachment’’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives,” the report said.

The report listed John “Mick” Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, and Robert B. Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney, as officials who have denied subpoenas.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Sunday proposed in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that Mulvaney be subpoenaed to testify in an impeachment trial. McConnell told Fox News last week that the chances of Trump being removed from office are zero.

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Republicans say Democrats are impeaching the president because they can’t beat him in 2020. Democrats warn Americans can’t wait for the next election because they worry what Trump will try next.

The House is expected to vote on the articles next week, in the days before Christmas. That would send the impeachment effort to the Senate for a 2020 trial.

The majority claimed that the impeachment inquiry was performed in a fair manner and pointed out that the purpose of the inquiry was to determine if Trump “may have committed an impeachable offense.” Trump was offered the opportunity to participate, but he declined, the majority wrote. The president has refused to participate in the proceedings.

At about the time the impeachment report was being released, Trump was on Twitter touting his record and slamming the allegations. He wrote that despite the impeachment and "obstruction," he had one of the most successful presidencies in history.

The Associated Press and Bradford Betz contributed to this report

Original Article

Nadler calls for Trump’s removal in committee’s 658-page report on articles of impeachment

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House poised for final impeachment vote

Rep. Mike Johnson on House preparing historic floor vote on Trump impeachment.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote that President Trump is a threat to the Consitution and should be removed from office, according to the committee's 658-page report on the articles of impeachment resolution against Trump that was submitted early Monday.

The majority wrote that President Trump abused his office by soliciting the interference of Ukraine in the 2020 election and then obstructed the impeachment inquiry into his conduct.

The report was released at 12:30 a.m. ET., and included a dissent from the committee's minority that called the case for impeachment "not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments."

Trump is accused, in the first article, of abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden while holding military aid as leverage, and, in the second, of obstructing Congress by blocking the House’s efforts to probe his actions.

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The president insists he did nothing wrong and blasts the Democrats’ effort daily as a sham and harmful to America.

Nadler wrote that Trump should be removed and "disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

The committee's vote was strictly along party lines, and the floor vote is expected to be similar, with a few exceptions. No Republicans have so far signaled that they will support the articles of impeachment, but a small handful of Democrats who represent GOP-leaning districts have said they may join Republicans in voting against them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Original Article

Judiciary Committee approves articles of impeachment against Trump, as GOP slams ‘kangaroo court’

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The House Judiciary Committee begins process of voting on articles of impeachment

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to adopt two articles of impeachment against President Trump – capping a contentious three-day session that Republicans panned as a “kangaroo court.”

The committee adopted both articles, alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, on a party-line vote of 23-17. A final vote in the full House is expected next week, which could tee up a Senate trial in the new year just before presidential primaries are set to get underway.

REPUBLICANS ERUPT AS NADLER SUDDENLY POSTPONES IMPEACHMENT VOTE NEAR MIDNIGHT

But the committee vote was preceded by fireworks on Thursday night, when Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., infuriated Republicans by wrapping up the hearing just before midnight and postponing the votes until the morning.

"It is now very late at night," Nadler said. "I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days, and to search their consciences before we cast their final votes.”

That led to Republicans decrying what they called a “bush-league stunt” by Nadler to make sure the vote would be carried on daytime television.

"Mr. Chairman, there was no consulting with the ranking member on your schedule for tomorrow — you just blew up schedules for everyone?" Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said. "You chose not to consult the ranking member on a scheduling issue of this magnitude? This is the kangaroo court we're talking about.”

DEMS PLOW AHEAD WITH IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES IN HEATED ALL-DAY SESSION

Impeachment vote postponement a 'bush league stunt': Doug CollinsVideo

Republicans have repeatedly and loudly objected to the impeachment inquiry, which focuses on President Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he pressed Zelensky to “look into” supposed Ukraine interference in the 2016 election and the conduct of former Vice President Joe Biden (a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate) in the country.

Democrats have alleged that the conversation was part of a quid pro quo in which Ukraine would conduct politically related investigations into Trump’s political rivals in exchange for then-withheld military aid and a White House meeting. Trump has strongly denied those claims and decried the probe as a “witch hunt.”

The articles of impeachment being considered accuse Trump of “obstruction of Congress” and “abuse of power.”

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They are likely to pass in the House, although questions have been raised about moderate Democrats in districts that voted for Trump in 2016 — many of whom have not said whether they will vote for impeachment.

Should the articles pass the full House, the debate will shift to the Senate for an impeachment trial — where the Republican-controlled chamber would be expected to easily acquit the president.

Fox News' Gregg Re and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Original Article

House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on impeachment evidence: Live updates

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The House Judiciary Committee is holding an impeachment hearing Monday where committee lawyers are presenting evidence in the case, as Democrats begin to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump at the direction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The committee is expected to receive the “presentations of evidence” from Judiciary Committee Majority Counsel Barry Berke and Intelligence Committee Majority Counsel Daniel Goldman. Stephen Castor will serve as counsel for Republicans on both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

At the center of the impeachment inquiry is Trump’s efforts to press Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically related investigations—regarding former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine, as well as issues related to the 2016 presidential election. The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats have argued shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Original Article

House Judiciary Committee releases report outlining grounds for impeachment ahead of hearing

closeRep. Nadler under fire for hypocritical stance on Trump impeachmentVideo

Rep. Nadler under fire for hypocritical stance on Trump impeachment

Reaction and analysis from Republican congressmen Andy Biggs, Lee Zeldin and Steve Scalise on 'The Ingraham Angle.'

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Saturday released a report outlining the constitutional grounds for impeachment, the latest sign of the committee gearing up for impeaching President Trump ahead of a key hearing on Monday.

“The Framers' worst nightmare is what we are facing in this very moment. President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment,” Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

“The safety and security of our nation, our democracy, and future generations hang in the balance if we do not address this misconduct. In America, no one is above the law, not even the President,” he said.

GOP SENATORS SEEK RECORDS ON 'CONNECTION' BETWEEN DEM OPERATIVES, UKRAINIAN OFFICIALS IN 2016

The report goes into detail about the history behind the impeachment clause in the Constitution. A report was first produced during the Nixon impeachment inquiry and updated during the Clinton impeachment inquiry in the 1990s. Democrats say that those reports no longer reflect “the best available learning” on impeachment and so have been updated.

The updated report appears to be an attempt to challenge what Democrats say are “inaccurate” narratives about the process.

According to the committee: “Since the House began its impeachment inquiry, a number of inaccurate claims have circulated about how impeachment works under the Constitution. To assist the Committee in its deliberations, we address six issues of potential relevance: (1) the law that governs House procedures for impeachment; (2) the law that governs the evaluation of evidence, including where the President orders defiance of House subpoenas; (3) whether the President can be impeached for abuse of his executive powers; (4) whether the President’s claims regarding his motives must be accepted at face value; (5) whether the President is immune from impeachment if he attempts an impeachable offense but is caught before he completes it; and (6) whether it is preferable to await the next election when a President has sought to corrupt that very same election.”

LEGAL SCHOLARS CLASH IN HEARING OVER WHETHER TRUMP COMMITTED IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE

The committee was meeting over the weekend in preparation for Monday's hearing. Democrats say Trump sought a political investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden in his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in exchange for military aid that was being withheld and a White House meeting. Trump has denied the charges and has accused Democrats of engaging in a politically motivated witch hunt against him.

Trump touts economic success amid impeachment pushVideo

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced this week that she had requested the Judiciary Committee to proceed with articles of impeachment against the president. Those articles are likely to encompass two major themes: abuse of office and obstruction.

The new report hints at those charges when it outlines how a president who "perverts his role as chief diplomat to serve private rather than public ends" has met the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors laid out in the Constitution. That is true "especially" if he invited rather than opposed foreign interference, the report says.

It comes as part of dueling narratives from Democrats and Republicans as they try to sway public opinion to their side of the debate.

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Republicans have indicated they intend to change the focus of the hearings should the House impeach and send articles to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial. Trump on Thursday urged Democrats in the House to impeach him “fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and so that our country can get back to business.”

He indicated that Republicans would seek testimony from top Democrats including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, former Biden and his son Hunter, as well as Speaker Pelosi.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Ethics Committee warns Rep. Duncan Hunter not to vote on House floor after corruption conviction

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Wife of Congressman Duncan Hunter takes plea deal, agrees to testify against her husband

Federal prosecutors accuse the Republican lawmaker and his wife of illegally spending more than $250,000 in campaign money on family vacations, school tuition, dental work and other personal things; Jonathan Hunt reports from Los Angeles.

The House Ethics Committee wrote a letter to California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter on Thursday notifying him that his guilty plea to campaign finance violations means that, under House rules, he may not vote on the House floor.

House Rule XXIII, Clause 10(a) bars members "convicted by a court of record for the commission of a crime for which a sentence of two or more years’ imprisonment" from "participation in the business of each committee of which such individual is a member, and a Member should refrain from voting on any question at a meeting of the House or of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union."

The ban is lifted if "judicial or executive proceedings result[s] in reinstatement of the presumption of the innocence of such Member" or if the "Member is reelected to the House after the date of such conviction."

READ THE ETHICS COMMITTEE'S LETTER

The Ethics committee said the rule “was promulgated to preserve public confidence in the legislative process.” The panel noted that if Hunter violates the rule, “you risk subjecting yourself to action by this Committee, and by the House, in addition to any other disciplinary action that may be initiated in connection with your criminal conviction.”

Hunter did not vote on Thursday during the four roll call tallies taken on the House floor. He has already indicated he's on his way out of office, in a break for California's beleaguered GOP that increases the chances of the party keeping one of its few remaining House seats in the heavily Democratic state.

In this July 1, 2019, file photo, U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Calif., leaves federal court after a hearing in San Diego. Hunter has indicated he's on his way out of office. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

In this July 1, 2019, file photo, U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Calif., leaves federal court after a hearing in San Diego. Hunter has indicated he's on his way out of office. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

But Hunter's pending departure also comes with a measure of uncertainty. There is no clear Republican favorite to succeed him in the San Diego County district, setting the stage for several months of party infighting in a race that could turn on local political loyalties or the potential involvement of President Trump.

After months of professing his innocence, the 42-year-old Hunter pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single charge of conspiring with his wife to illegally use at least $150,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses. Among the improper spending were a birthday gathering for his young daughter at a posh hotel and a social outing with friends at a French bistro in Washington.

In announcing his plan to plead guilty, the former combat Marine talked about the need for a smooth transition in his district but didn't say when he will depart Congress, leaving unclear whether or not a special election will be scheduled to fill the vacancy.

Hunter is scheduled to be sentenced on March 17, two weeks after California's primary election.

Holding the 50th Congressional District, which has an 11-point Republican registration edge, will be critical if the party hopes to reclaim control of the House after losing it to Democrats in 2018.

US REP. HUNTER BLAMES 'DEMOCRAT PROSECUTORS' FOR HIS INDICTMENT ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

Hunter had been actively running for reelection while under indictment. After his guilty plea, San Diego County Republican Chairman Tony Krvaric said the party “is not worried about losing this seat.”

The field of GOP contenders who earlier lined up to challenge Hunter includes Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman who now is a local political commentator and radio host; former Congressman Darrell Issa, who built a national reputation when he headed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and was a foil to President Barack Obama; and state Sen. Brian Jones, who highlights that he's the only major Republican candidate who lives in the district east of San Diego.

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, center right, walks out of federal court Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in San Diego. Hunter gave up his year-long fight against federal corruption charges and pleaded guilty Tuesday to misusing his campaign funds, paving the way for the six-term Republican to step down. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, center right, walks out of federal court Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in San Diego. Hunter gave up his year-long fight against federal corruption charges and pleaded guilty Tuesday to misusing his campaign funds, paving the way for the six-term Republican to step down. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a 30-year-old former Obama administration official who nearly defeated Hunter in 2018 after the congressman was indicted, is widely expected to be one of two candidates who emerges from the March primary for a November showdown.

Under California election rules, the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

Part of the challenge for candidates will be introducing themselves to voters who have seen the Hunter name on the ballot for decades. Hunter has held the seat for 11 years after being elected to succeed his father, Duncan L. Hunter, who was in office nearly three decades before him.

"This is Trump country," said Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego. “The conventional wisdom is that only an indicted or convicted Duncan Hunter could lose this seat for Republicans, and now he won't have that chance.”

Kousser said Campa-Najjar's job has become tougher with Hunter's pending exit, noting that the Democrat exceeded expectations in 2018 and showed himself a skilled campaigner and fundraiser.

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"It's too early to count him out," Kousser said.

Campa-Najjar said voters in the district don’t want “coastal elites and career politicians,” a reference to his GOP rivals. “I think it’s time we have a congressman who has integrity.”

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

Original Article

Pelosi to address impeachment process after Judiciary Committee hearing

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Nancy Pelosi delivers statements on status of impeachment inquiry

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will make an announcement Thursday morning on the status of the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

Her aides remain tight-lipped on what exactly she might say, but it comes following a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday featuring four law professors — most of them Democrat-invited witnesses who presented arguments for impeachment.

LEGAL SCHOLARS CLASH IN HEARING OVER WHETHER TRUMP COMMITTED IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE

The three professors called upon by the Democratic majority expressed an urgency to impeach the president.

"If we cannot impeach a president who abuses his office for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy—we live in a monarchy, or we live under a dictatorship," Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman said.

But the GOP’s witness, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, warned Democrats not to rush into impeachment, explaining that a stronger foundation was needed to take such a drastic step.

Turley even accused lawmakers of doing “precisely” what they’re condemning Trump for doing. “It’s your abuse of power,” he warned the House should they move to impeach.

Turley conceded that it was possible Trump had set up an illicit and impeachable quid pro quo — but he asserted there was simply no evidence in the record to prove the claim.

At the heart of the case is the allegation that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens for political gain, while using U.S. aid as leverage. The records demonstrate that Trump sought that investigation, but Trump maintains there was no quid pro quo for aid and witnesses have not directly linked him to one.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., cited another reason why Democrats should not move forward with impeachment right now — the House’s failure to pass vital bills amid the impeachment fight.

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“Franky, we’d love to govern with you,” he said to Democratic colleagues on Wednesday. “We’d love to pass USMCA, we’d love to put out a helping hand to our seniors and lower prescription drug prices. It’s the will of the people you ignore when you continue down this terrible road of impeachment.”

Fox News' Brooke Singman and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Original Article

Rep. Al Green rips slams committee over impeachment experts: ‘not one person of color’

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 5

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 5 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

A Texas congressman slammed his fellow Democrats Wednesday after “not one person of color” was called as an expert to testify during the first day of impeachment hearings conducted by the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, rebuked his colleagues in a speech on the House floor before the committee hearing began. Three legal scholars later testified at the request of Democrats in the first Judiciary Committee impeachment inquiry hearing. Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, was the sole witness called by the GOP.

HEAD OF PROGRESSIVE GROUP: IT'S 'SAD' DEM DEBATE STAGE WILL BE 'ALL WHITE' AFTER HARRIS' EXIT

“I rise because I love my country, but I also rise today with heartfelt regrets. It hurts my heart, Mr. Speaker, to see the Judiciary Committee hearing experts on the topic of impeachment — one of the seminal issues of this Congress — hearing experts… and not one person of color among the experts,” Green told the House floor.

“What subliminal message are we sending to the world when we have experts but not one person of color? Are we saying that there are no people of color who are experts on this topic of impeachment?” Green continued. He claimed the House committee was taking advantage of black voters without affording them equal representation in the impeachment process.

“I refuse to be ignored and taken for granted. I came here to represent the people who are ignored and taken for granted. Not one person of color among the constitutional scholars,” he said. “It seems that there’s a desire among some to have the output of people of color without input from the people of color.”

“I rise today to say that this is not about Democrats. It’s not about Republicans. It’s about fairness,” Green said. “It’s about whether or not we have matured to the point in this country where we’re going to treat all people equally.”

Turley argued against impeaching President Trump. Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan, Harvard Law professor and Bloomberg columnist Noah Feldman and University of North Carolina Law professor Michael Gerhardt were called by Democrats on the committee, and they said Trump's actions were impeachable.

Green’s speech comes a day after a leading progressive activist lamented that only white candidates will grace the upcoming Democratic presidential debate stage following Sen. Kamala Harris’s departure from the 2020 race.

"It's a sad state of affairs to have six white candidates on stage, many of whom don't necessarily speak with black women, who are the powerhouse voters — and we're at this moment where we went from the most diverse set of candidates in the history — certainly in my lifetime — to an all-white stage," Aimee Allison told MSNBC on Tuesday.

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Allison is the founder and president of She the People, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring “that women of color will never be taken for granted again in elections."

Fox News' Sam Dorman and Brian Flood contributed to this report.

Original Article

Lesko calls on Nadler to cancel any future Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings

closeRep. Debbie Lesko calls out Rep. Nadler's 'three-prong test' for impeachmentVideo

Rep. Debbie Lesko calls out Rep. Nadler's 'three-prong test' for impeachment

Congresswoman Debbie Lesko uses Nadler's words to argue against any impeachable offense during House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., asked House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to cancel any upcoming hearings related to President Trump's impeachment inquiry because it violated Nadler's "own standards for any impeachment proceedings," she wrote in a letter to him on Wednesday.

Lesko's letter reiterated a point that she and other Republican lawmakers hammered home during the committee's first public hearing — namely that Nadler's stance on whether or not Trump committed impeachable offenses contradicts prior statements he made about the criteria for removing a president from office.

LEGAL SCHOLARS CLASH IN HEARING OVER WHETHER TRUMP COMMITTED IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE

During the hearing, Lesko quoted Nadler from an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Nov. 26, 2018, when he outlined three questions that needed affirmation before impeachment could be pursued.

"Number one, has the President committed impeachable offenses? Number two, do those offenses rise to the gravity that's worth putting the country through the trauma of an impeachment proceeding? And number three, because you don't want to tear the country apart," he said at the time.

"You have to be able to think at the beginning of the impeachment process that the evidence is so clear, of offenses so grave, that once you've laid out all the evidence a good fraction of the opposition, voters, will reluctantly admit to themselves they had to do it," Nadler said. "Otherwise, you have a partisan impeachment which will tear the country apart. If you meet those three tests, I think you do the impeachment."

Lesko used the majority of her time to lay out her argument forgoing questioning of the four legal scholars brought before the committee to weigh in on whether or not Trump initiated a "quid pro quo" deal with Ukraine by withholding military aid to the country until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised to open an investigation into the Ukraine business dealings of 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

"Not one single Republican voted on the impeachment inquiry resolution or on the Schiff report reveal the opposite is true," Lesko said. "In fact, what you and your Democratic colleagues have done is opposite of what you said had to be done."

Lesko parroted her Republican colleagues, calling the impeachment inquiry "partisan" and a "sham," and accusing Nadler and the Democratic caucus of embarking on an investigation "all for political purpose."

The congresswoman concluded by asking the Republican's sole witness, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University Law School, "Has Chairman Nadler satisfied his three-prong test for impeachment?"

"With all due respect to the chairman, I do not believe that those factors were satisfied," Turley said.

Nadler officially entered Lesko's letter into the record, in which she urged him to "follow your own advice and cancel these hearings."

In his closing statements, Nadler pointed to the three-part test for impeachment and insisted that "all three parts of that test have been met."

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"The president asked a foreign government to intervene in our elections, then got caught, then obstructed the investigators. Twice," Nadler said.
"Our witnesses told us in no uncertain terms that this conduct constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors, including abuse of power," he added.

Original Article

House Judiciary Committee hearing on Trump impeachment: live updates

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The Trump impeachment inquiry moves to the House Judiciary Committee for its first public hearing on Wednesday.

The witnesses are:

Noah Feldman: Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law and Director, Julius-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law, Harvard Law School

Pamela S. Karlan: Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law and Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford Law School

Michael Gerhardt: Burton Craige Distinguished Professor Jurisprudence, The University of North Carolina School of Law

Jonathan Turley: J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law, The George Washington University Law School

Follow below for live updates. Mobile users click here.

Original Article

Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment hearings by featuring four law professors

closePresident Trump blasts Democrats' impeachment push while at NATO summitVideo

President Trump blasts Democrats' impeachment push while at NATO summit

House Intelligence Committee report accuses Trump of misconduct and obstruction; reaction and analysis on 'The Five.'

The Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee will move to the forefront of President Trump’s impeachment inquiry Wednesday morning with a hearing featuring four legal scholars, but no fact witnesses.

In the same pillared room that hosted last month's House Intelligence Committee hearings, lawmakers will hear from Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, Harvard law professor and Bloomberg columnist Noah Feldman, University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.

All are Democrat witnesses except for Turley — a point that did not escape the notice of the president Tuesday evening.

"They get three constitutional lawyers … and we get one," Trump said during a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in London. "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."

House Intelligence Committee approves impeachment reportVideo

Following opening statements from Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the witnesses will be sworn in and give opening statements of ten minutes apiece, followed by questioning.

The Judiciary Committee could approve articles of impeachment against the president within days. However, a senior member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership team told Fox News Tuesday evening that it seems unlikely the full House can vote on impeaching Trump before Christmas, saying it's "too complex" a process.

“I just don’t see it,” the source said. “It’s too big.”

READ: HOUSE DEMOCRATS' IMPEACHMENT REPORT

Rep. Adam Schiff lays out findings of House Democrats' impeachment investigationVideo

In the meantime, Democrats are trying to pass the annual defense bill. Congress has to fund the federal government by Dec. 20 or risk another shutdown. The House and Senate are expected to approve several of the annual 12 spending bills and then pass an interim spending bill for the remainder – or perhaps glom the remainders together and approve them for the rest of the fiscal year.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) also looms large. If the decision is made to forge ahead with the USMCA this calendar year, then there is almost no way Congress can tackle impeachment. Democrats would face both a messaging problem and a floor traffic problem. Fox News has been told repeatedly in recent days that the USMCA is not ripe and action on that will likely take place after the turn of the year.

Nevertheless, Democrats have moved aggressively on impeachment. Late Tuesday, the intelligence committee voted to adopt and issue its scathing report on the findings from its impeachment inquiry, accusing Trump of misusing his office to seek foreign help in the 2020 presidential race.

The 13-9 party-line vote on the 300-page report was a necessary step before the document could be transferred to the Judiciary Committee. The report included call logs documenting apparent conversations involving Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes R-Calif., and Soviet-born businessman Lev Parnas, who was arrested in October.

"We have Americans and foreigners contact us every single day with information," Nunes told Fox News' "Hannity" on Tuesday night. "I was talking with Rudy Giuliani, and we were talking about how [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller bombed out."

Newt Gingrich on impeachment report: Democrats haven't made their case to the American publicVideo

Nunes added that it was possible he had spoken to Parnas. Separately, Republicans called for phone records belonging to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who has acknowledged that he should have been "more clear" about his communications with the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

While invited to participate in the opening Judiciary hearing, the White House declined. “This baseless and highly partisan inquiry violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Nadler on Sunday.

IN FIERY LETTER, WHITE HOUSE DECLARES IT WON'T PARTICIPATE IN NADLER'S HEARING

Cipollone accused Nadler of "purposely" scheduling the proceedings to coincide with Trump's attendance at the NATO Leaders' Meeting in London. He also said Nadler provided "vague" details about the hearing, and that only then-unnamed academics — and not "fact witnesses" — would apparently be attending.

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 expects the House to hold a vote series around 1:30 p.m. ET, forcing a recess in the committee. There will probably be some parliamentary fighting and stunting, which could delay proceedings further.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham and other administration officials have long argued that Democrats are wasting valuable legislative time with their impeachment probe.

“At the end of a one-sided sham process, Chairman [Adam] Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump,” Grisham said Tuesday, adding that Democrats' impeachment report "reflects nothing more than their frustrations" and "reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing.”

During a press conference Tuesday, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy called on Democrats to end the impeachment “nightmare," saying “They’re concerned if they do not impeach this president, they can't beat him in an election."

The Schiff-led Intelligence Committee conducted extensive interviews with witnesses connected to the Trump administration’s relationship with Ukraine after an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint alleging that during a July 25 phone call, Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help Rudy Giuliani investigate Democratic activities in 2016 as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Kevin McCarthy: Nancy Pelosi was right about impeachmentVideo

"The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage," the Democrats' report said. "In doing so, the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security."

Schiff also tweeted: "The impeachment inquiry uncovered overwhelming and uncontested evidence that President Trump abused the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference in our election for his own personal, political gain."

Schiff’s committee held closed-door sessions before opening up the inquiry to public hearings, which featured testimony from witnesses including National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The report concluded that Trump withheld nearly $391 million in military aid from Ukraine, conditioning its delivery as well as a White House visit for Zelensky on a public announcement that Zelensky was conducting the investigations. It also accuses Trump of committing obstruction by instructing witnesses not to comply with congressional subpoenas.

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Republicans drafted a report of their own, which rejected the Democratic majority's claims.

"The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” the GOP report said.

If the House should vote to impeach, the Senate would hold a trial, where a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict.

A Senate trial could also dig deeper into at least one of the issues Trump once sought to have investigated: Joe Biden's role ousting a Ukraine prosecutor who had been looking into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where his son Hunter had a lucrative board role.

Fox News' Chad Pergram, Ronn Blitzer, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

House Intel Committee releases Trump impeachment report

closeHouse GOP report says no evidence for Trump impeachmentVideo

House GOP report says no evidence for Trump impeachment

House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan weighs in.

The House Intelligence Committee released its report Tuesday on its findings from the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

The report comes hours before the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin taking up the case with a hearing Wednesday morning.

"President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign," the report said.

It said the inquiry "uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election."

The Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., conducted extensive interviews with witnesses connected to the Trump administration’s relationship with Ukraine, after an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint alleging that during a July 25 phone call, Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic activities in 2016 as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Schiff’s committee held closed-door sessions before opening up the inquiry to public hearings, which featured testimony from witnesses including National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The Intelligence Committee’s inquiry specifically looked into whether Trump withheld nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine and used a White House visit with Zelensky as leverage to get Ukraine to participate in the investigations.

Trump has denied wrongdoing, and said his call with Zelensky was “perfect.” Zelensky has also denied there was any pressure put on him or any talk of a quid pro quo between the two leaders, but he did criticize the decision to delay the aid.

Republicans drafted a report of their own, which rejected the Democratic majority's claims.

"The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” the GOP report said.

With the Intelligence Committee’s report in their hands, the Judiciary Committee is next going to call constitutional law experts to testify regarding the relevant legal principles involved in impeachment, before determining whether or not to approve articles of impeachment, which would then go to the full House for a vote.

Original Article

Bennet slams Democratic National Committee over Bullock’s departure from 2020 race

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Sen. Michael Bennet on impeachment inquiry, size of Democratic presidential field

Bennet joins Dana Perino on 'The Daily Briefing.'

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet took aim at his party’s national committee on Monday over fellow Democrat Steve Bullock’s announcement that he would end his bid for the White House.

The Montana governor suspended his campaign after failing to resonate in the polls, trailing far behind top-tier rivals when it came to campaign cash and proving unable to reach the thresholds needed to qualify for the Democratic National Committee’s autumn and winter debates.

MONTANA GOV. BULLOCK ENDS HIS WHITE HOUSE BID

Bullock repeatedly touted his success in three statewide elections and pushed a progressive agenda in a solidly red state that Donald Trump won overwhelmingly in the 2016 presidential election.

“I entered this race as a voice to win back the places we lost,” he noted in his announcement Monday.

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado files to place his name on New Hampshire's primary ballot last month in Concord.

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado files to place his name on New Hampshire's primary ballot last month in Concord.

Bennet, the senior senator from Colorado, is like Bullock in that he also hasn't made a debate stage since July. Bennet emphasized in a statement that “the fight to win back voters who abandoned our party for Donald Trump isn’t hopeless. It runs through battle-tested candidates from swing states, who know how to meet Americans where they are — not where the loudest voices on social media think they ought to be. It’s unfortunate that the DNC couldn’t make room for a perspective like that.”

Both Bennet and Bullock have been critical of the DNC’s debate-qualification rules for months.

Bennet, who, also like Bullock, is considered a long-shot contender for the nomination – argued: “I have a lot more faith in Democratic voters than I do in the people making up the debate rules at the DNC. The nomination won’t be won with Facebook ads or pithy tweets. It will be won by the person with the experience to defeat Donald Trump and an agenda best aligned with the priorities of the American people.”

And he pledged “that’s what I’m offering, and that’s how I’ll win.”

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

Of some 16 candidates still vying for the Democratic nomination, Bennet is one of just four who hails for a swing state or a GOP-dominated red state.

Top-tier contender Pete Buttigieg is from Indiana, a red state. So is former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and onetime San Antonio, Texas., Mayor Julian Castro.

Bennet’s home state of Colorado is a perennial swing or battleground state. And some political analysts consider Minnesota – home to Sen. Amy Klobuchar – a purple state.

Original Article

House Intel Committee to review draft Ukraine report this week

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Democrats' impeachment push moves to House Judiciary Committee

The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first public impeachment hearings as a new poll shows more Americans are against removing the president. Karl Rove reacts.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday will review a report on the panel’s investigation into whether President Trump committed an impeachable act, specifically by allegedly withholding military aid to Ukraine until the country investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Fox News has confirmed.

Lawmakers will then approve the report before sending it – along with minority views – to the House Judiciary Committee, which will draft and consider articles of impeachment in the weeks ahead.

REP. DINGELL ON IMPEACHMENT PUSH: ‘NOBODY IS ABOVE THE LAW’

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., right, shown with committee staffer Daniel Noble at left, speaks at the conclusion of public impeachment hearings last month. (Associated Press)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., right, shown with committee staffer Daniel Noble at left, speaks at the conclusion of public impeachment hearings last month. (Associated Press)

Intelligence panel Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., sent a letter to his colleagues last week that report would be coming “soon” from his committee but did not provide a specific time frame.

He has also said the report would summarize the panel’s two-month investigation into President Trump and Ukraine and list the likely articles of impeachment.

The House has moved swiftly to investigate the president since Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the formalization of an impeachment inquiry in September.

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This week's first impeachment hearing is scheduled for Wednesday and will feature a panel of constitutional experts who will offer what constitutes an impeachable offense.

Original Article

Judiciary Committee announces December impeachment hearing, invites Trump to participate

closeIs censuring President Trump a better option than impeachment for Democrats?Video

Is censuring President Trump a better option than impeachment for Democrats?

The 'Outnumbered' panel debates the optics of the impeachment inquiry heading into the 2020 election.

The House Judiciary Committee is taking over the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump as Chairman Jerrold Nadler announced plans for a hearing next week to weigh whether the president's actions reach a level of “high crimes and misdemeanors" and warrant articles of impeachment.

Nadler, D-N.Y., penned a letter to the president on Tuesday announcing a hearing for Dec. 4 at 10:00 a.m., and notifying him of the committee’s intentions to provide him with “certain privileges” while they consider "whether to recommend articles of impeachment to the full House.”

TRUMP DEFENDS MOVE TO BLOCK IMPEACHMENT TESTIMONY, SAYS HE IS PROTECTING 'FUTURE PRESIDENTS'

Nadler also extended an invitation to the president, asking whether “you and your counsel plan to attend the hearing or make a request to question the witness panel.”

“If you would like to participate in the hearing, please provide the Committee with notice as soon as possible, but no later than by 6:00 p.m. December 1, 2019,” Nadler wrote. “By that time, I ask that you also indicate who will act as your counsel for these proceedings.”

Democrats consider next moves on impeachment ahead of 2020Video

Nadler added: “I remain committed to ensuring a fair and informative process. To that end, I remind you that participation by the President or his counsel has been described by the Committee in past inquiries as ‘not a right but a privilege or a courtesy which is being extended to the President’s counsel.’”

“I am hopeful that you and your counsel will opt to participate in the Committee’s hearing, consistent with the rules of decorum and with the solemn nature of the work before us,” he continued.

Nadler did warn, however, that if the president and the White House “continue to refuse to make witnesses and documents available to the committees of jurisdiction,” he will “have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies.”

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Nadler’s letter and invitation to the president comes just one day after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he and other committee chairs involved in the impeachment inquiry—Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.,—were “preparing a report summarizing the evidence we have found thus far, which will be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee soon after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess.”

It is unclear at this point whether the president will appear or have his counsel participate in the hearing before the Judiciary Committee next week.

Last week, the president blasted the impeachment inquiry altogether, and said: “Frankly, I want a trial.”

At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president. That call prompted a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House. Trump challenged the accuracy of the complaint, though the transcript released by the White House did support the core allegations that he pressed for politically related investigations.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed shows a "quid pro quo" arrangement. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

Original Article

Nunes at impeachment hearing: Intelligence committee ‘hijacked’ by ‘partisan extremists’ to remove this president

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Rep. Devin Nunes makes his opening statement during impeachment hearing

Rep. Devin Nunes details how Democrats exploited the intel committee for political purposes in the

Partisan House Democrats have "hijacked" the Intelligence Committee and are attempting to concoct "ludicrous" theories about President Trump to aid their impeachment efforts, said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., during his opening statement on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

"The Democrats on this committee spent three years accusing President Trump of being a Russian agent," he began. "The Democrats vowed… to present a further 'comprehensive report' after they finished their investigation into Trump’s treasonous collusion with Russia. For some completely inexplicable reason, after the implosion of their Russia hoax, the Democrats failed to issue that comprehensive report."

"This episode shows how the Democrats have exploited the Intelligence Committee for political purposes for three years, culminating in these impeaching hearings," Nunes added. "No conspiracy theory is too outlandish for the Democrats… Clearly, these ludicrous accusations don’t reflect committee members who are honestly searching for the truth. They are the actions of partisan extremists who hijacked the Intelligence Committee… and turned it into a beachhead for ousting an elected President from office."

Nunes began listing theories long held by Democrats about Trump's nefarious actions, including the claim that he himself is a Russian agent. He also highlighted claims that the Trump campaign thrived on stolen documents, was assisted by Russia, was blackmailed by Russia, and that Trump was laundering Russian cash through his real estate ventures.

"It’s a long list of charges, all false," Nunes said. "You have to keep that history in mind as you consider the Democrats’ latest catalog of supposed Trump outrages."

ALEXANDER VINDMAN DRAWS APPLAUSE DURING IMPEACHMENT HEARING TESTIMONY: 'THIS IS AMERICA … HERE, RIGHT MATTERS'

Rep. Nunes makes opening statement ahead of Ambassador Sondland's testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiryVideo

Nunes also called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., for proceeding with impeachment without bipartisan support, despite making promises to seek the cooperation of both parties.

"The key figures behind this impeachment crusade — all proclaimed that impeachment is so damaging to the country that it can only proceed with bipartisan support," he said. "Are those declarations suddenly no longer true? Did impeachment become less divisive?

"Of course not," Nunes continued. "They know exactly what kind of damage they’re inflicting on this nation. But they’ve passed the point of no return."

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Nunes' comments came as European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland acknowledged a "potential quid pro quo" situation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with Senator Ron Johnson,” Sondland said Wednesday. “And I also shared my concerns with the Ukrainians.” He stressed he never got a clear answer on why the aid was held up, saying in the absence of an explanation he came to believe that the aid and the investigations were linked.

Original Article

House Ethics Committee warns lawmakers about access to secure areas after GOP members’ intrusion

closePentagon official's impeachment inquiry deposition delayed as House Republicans refuse to leave secure facilityVideo

Pentagon official's impeachment inquiry deposition delayed as House Republicans refuse to leave secure facility

Lawmakers were set to question Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees U.S. policy on Ukraine; Chad Pergram reports from Capitol Hill.

The House Ethics Committee has sent a memo to members of Congress and their staffers about how to conduct themselves in secure areas, weeks after around two dozen Republican lawmakers barged into a closed-door deposition in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

The memo, signed by Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Ranking Member Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, reminds members that they are given access to classified rooms "on a 'need to know' basis" and warns that "breaches of security protocols or unauthorized disclosures could result in the decertification of these facilities[, which would] significantly impair the House's ability to conduct its business."

"Inadvertent breaches of security protocols or unauthorized disclosures may be handled as a matter of security by the committees of jurisdiction over the relevant classified information or controlled areas," the memo continued. "However, attempts to gain unauthorized access to classified areas or purposeful breaches of basic security protocols may cause classified information to be improperly disclosed, and may reflect discreditably on the House as a legislative body."

On Oct. 23, about 30 House Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., flooded the secure room where Laura Cooper, who oversees Ukraine policy at the Department of Defense, was set to testify. Because there was no agreement that non-members of the Intelligence, Oversight or Foreign Affairs Committees could be present, Cooper's deposition was delayed for approximately hours after Intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., suspended the proceedings.

Some of the Republican members brought in phones and other electronic devices into the secure area, despite agreeing to an oath that they would not do so. Members of the House GOP had repeatedly accused Democrats of a lack of transparency in the early stages of the inquiry.

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In Friday's memo, Deutch and Marchat reminded members that "portable electronic devices [PEDs] should generally not be taken into any controlled area. PEDs include, but are not limited to, cell phones, laptops, smartwatches, tablets, or any other devices capable of transmitting or receiving an electronic signal."

The Republicans eventually left the secure room and Cooper completed her deposition.

Following the incident, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., sent a letter to House Sergeant at Arms Irving, raising “serious concerns” about the security of SCIF’s. He asked Irving to “take action with respect to the Members involved in the breach.”

Original Article

Ethics Committee extends review of Tlaib, probes Hastings for alleged relationship with staffer

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California Rep. Katie Hill steps down amid ethics questions

Reaction and analysis from former Sen. Franken chief of staff Drew Littman and former DHS deputy assistant secretary Lauren Claffey.

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday announced it is extending its review of a campaign finance matter related to Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, while acknowledging for the first time a probe against Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings concerning a "personal relationship with an individual employed in his congressional office."

Tlaib's campaign committee, Rashida Tlaib for Congress, allegedly "reported campaign disbursements that may not be legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes," according to a release from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The Ethics Committee announced on August 16, 2019 that it had received a referral from the concerning Tlaib.

If Tlaib "converted campaign funds from Rashida Tlaib for Congress to personal use, or if Tlaib’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes, then Tlaib may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law," the OCE continued. "The Board recommends that the Committee further review the above allegation concerning Rep. Tlaib because there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Tlaib converted campaign funds from Rashida Tlaib for Congress to personal use or Rep. Tlaib’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes."

In one April 2018 email released as an exhibit by OCE on Thursday, Tlaib wrote that she was "struggling financially right now" and was "sinking." She continued: "So I was thinking the campaign could loan me money, but Ryan said that the committee could actually pay me. I was thinking a one time payment of $5k."

READ THE OCE'S REFERRAL STATEMENT ON TLAIB

READ THE OCE'S EXHIBITS OUTLINING TLAIB'S POSSIBLE MISCONDUCT

Talib's lawyer said there is no evidence that she violated the law on purpose, and said there were no bad intentions.

"So I was thinking the campaign could loan me money …"

— Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, in 2018 email released by OCE

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., once vowed to impeach 'the motherf---er' -- and now is the subject of an Ethics Committee probe. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., once vowed to impeach 'the motherf—er' — and now is the subject of an Ethics Committee probe. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Ethics Committee also said it was looking into whether Hastings' relationship with a staffer, and whether Hastings "has received any improper gifts, including any forbearance, from that employee."

"The Committee is specifically considering whether Representative Hastings’ relationship with the individual employed in his congressional office is in violation of House Rule XXIII, clause 18(a)," the ethics panel said. That provision refers to improper sexual relationships with subordinates. "The Committee continues to gather additional information regarding the allegations."

The announcement from the ethics panel came less than a month after California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill resigned amid allegations that she slept with staffers.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“I have cooperated with the Committee since May 14, 2019," Hastings said in a statement. "As they continue to conduct their work, I stand ready to fully cooperate with their inquiry."

The developments come amid House Democrats' efforts to impeach President Trump. Earlier this year, Tlaib boasted that Democrats would "impeach the motherf—er," referring to the president.

And, in a striking scene at the outset of a Rules Committee meeting last month, Hastings — who himself was impeached and removed from the federal bench in 1989 for taking bribes — outlined the alleged "high crimes and misdemeanors" that he said Trump had committed.

DEVELOPING…

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Original Article