Donald Trump invited to impeachment hearing on December 4

It is unlikely the president will attend, as he is scheduled to be in the UK for a Nato summit

Next week, the House Judiciary Committee will take over the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, inviting him to a hearing on December 4 as they push closer to a possible vote on actual charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The Judiciary panel scheduled the hearing as the separate Intelligence Committee released two last transcripts from its depositions, including from a White House budget official who detailed concerns among colleagues as Mr Trump ordered them, through intermediaries, to put a hold on military aid to Ukraine.

Mr Trump ordered the hold as he was pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate Democrats — the issue at the heart of the impeachment probe. Multiple government witnesses testified in impeachment hearings held by the Intelligence panel this month that Mr Trump directed his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to take the lead on Ukraine policy and that Mr Giuliani pushed an “irregular” diplomatic channel.

The Intelligence Committee is wrapping up the investigative phase of the probe and preparing its report for the next. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has said the report could be released soon after the House returns from its Thanksgiving break on December 3.

The initial Judiciary hearing on December 4 will feature legal experts who will examine questions of constitutional grounds as the panel decides whether to write articles of impeachment against Mr Trump — and if so what those articles will be. Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said on Tuesday that his panel’s hearing will “explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct.”

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