Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Penn., questioned Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor, Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford law professor, Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor, and Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor on December 4.
The report from the House Intelligence Committee makes the Democrats' case for impeachment, weaving a narrative about Trump's handling of Ukraine, including with exhibits and phone logs. The report stops short of outright recommending impeachment, with House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and the other committee chairs leading the inquiry said that was a decision Congress ultimately has to make.
As phase two of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump kicks off under the purview of the House Judiciary Committee, the committee's Ranking Member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said Wednesday that House Democrats don't have the facts to back up impeachment.
The committee based the report on weeks of private and public testimony from more than a dozen diplomats and other officials, which led Democrats to the conclusion that there is sufficient evidence to suggest the Trump administration threatened to withhold $250 million in congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden by the government in Kiev. "With the transmittal of the report to the Judiciary Committee, this hearing will examine the constitutional framework put in place to address presidential misconduct". Hakeem Jeffries, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said on the same show that the committee is giving the "president every opportunity to participate in the impeachment inquiry in a very fair and balanced way".
Turley, the only witness appearing for the Republicans, has written articles saying that Democrats have moved too quickly with their inquiry, focused too narrowly on Trump's relations with Ukraine and lack testimony from people with direct knowledge of the events.
"If what we're talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable", Gerhardt said. It started with tears in Brooklyn in November 2016 when an election was lost. "This is simply a railroad job", Collins said.
Instead, Democrats who say they're looking for the president's censure are looking for a way out, said Collins.
The roughly 300-page report sets the stage for the impeachment of a USA president for just the third time in history.
House Democrats are expected to use the document as a basis for drafting articles of impeachment. But impeachment is worth doing, they've argued, because it sends a message about what Congress will not tolerate and it forces senators to go on the record defending Trump's actions in the Ukraine affair. "This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations".
The hearing also will mark Nadler's return to the spotlight after months in center stage for Schiff and the House Intelligence Committee.
For Democrats marching into what is now a largely partisan process, the political challenge if they proceed is to craft the impeachment articles in a way that will draw the most support from their ranks and not expose Pelosi's majority to messy divisions, especially as Republicans stand lockstep with the president. "Chairman Schiff's report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing".