Lindsey McPherson

Impeachment costing Democrats a House member as Van Drew plans party switch
New Jersey freshman met with Trump and plans to vote against impeachment next week

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, whose election to a GOP-held district last fall helped Democrats flip the House, plans to switch parties after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday, according to multiple Garden State sources.

Members of his party were already wishing him good riddance.

Democratic Tri-Caucus to track diversity of witnesses in House hearings
Initiative would have committees send witnesses diversity surveys

The chairs of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus announced Thursday that starting in January 2020 they will track the diversity of witnesses testifying in House committee hearings. 

Collectively known as the Tri-Caucus, the groups want to ensure diversity of witnesses that help inform policies and legislation to ensure the laws Congress passes are “inclusive and work for Americans of all backgrounds.”

Judiciary kicks off impeachment articles markup with expected polarization
Democrats try to set the occasion as solemn, while Republicans decry that as a ruse

The House Judiciary Committee’s markup of two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress kicked off Wednesday with Chairman Jerrold Nadler trying to set a “solemn” tone and ranking member Doug Collins accusing that of being a ruse. 

Nadler opened the markup with a note about why he was breaking the custom of having only the chairman and the ranking member deliver opening statements to provide each panel member the opportunity to give five minutes of opening remarks.

On impeachment, Pelosi prevailed over Judiciary panel to narrow focus
Articles filed represent latest example of how Nadler’s committee has been marginalized

Judiciary Democrats spent roughly seven months investigating a litany of allegations that President Donald Trump abused his power, but the charges laid out in the articles of impeachment unveiled Tuesday don’t reflect any of that work.

The result is the latest sign that the panel with sole jurisdiction over drafting articles of impeachment has been marginalized as its probe became overshadowed by allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals, withholding a White House meeting and congressionally appropriated security assistance as leverage.

Democrats to punish Trump for obstructing Congress. What about top employees?
House has not gone to court to enforce subpoenas in Ukraine probe, unclear if they’ll take other action

House Democrats plan to punish President Donald Trump for blocking witness testimony and document production with an obstruction of Congress article of impeachment, but it’s unclear if the witnesses themselves who did not show up to testify will ever face any repercussions.

As part of the investigation into allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals, lawmakers deposed 17 current and former executive branch employees willing to comply with subpoenas despite orders from the White House not to.

Pelosi: ‘Don’t mess with me’
Pelosi lashes out at reporter who suggested she and Democrats ‘hate’ President Donald Trump

Updated 1:09 p.m. | Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been unshakable as she’s guided her caucus toward the decision she announced Thursday that the House will vote on articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. But when a reporter questioned whether she was doing so because she hates Trump, Pelosi exploded. 

The heated exchange, occurring at the end of Pelosi’s weekly press conference, culminated in a warning from the speaker that was directed at James Rosen from the Sinclair Broadcast Group but is a broader indication that she is ready to brush off any attacks that come her way as the House moves to impeach Trump.

McCarthy says he has no problem with Nunes’ calls with Giuliani, Parnas
‘There’s nothing wrong that Devin has done,’ House Republican leader says

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters that he has no problem with Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes’ contact with key players involved in the Ukraine scandal.

“There’s nothing wrong that Devin has done except once again to get accused of something,” McCarthy said of his fellow California Republican.

Road ahead: impeachment progress, judicial nominations and a Christmas tree
First open hearing at House Judiciary is set for Wednesday

In a sign of the season, the next open House impeachment hearing is scheduled to take place the same day as the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree.

The impeachment inquiry remains front and center as Congress returns this week, with the Senate continuing to methodically confirm the judicial nominations of President Donald Trump.

GOP report: Evidence ‘does not prove’ Trump pressured Ukraine for political benefit
Republican staff report claims evidence Democrats presented does not establish case for impeachment

Evidence presented during the fact-finding stage of a House impeachment inquiry “does not prove” Democratic allegations that President Donald Trump abused his authority when pressuring Ukraine into launching an investigation of a rival that would benefit his 2020 reelection campaign, a report released by Republicans Monday evening said.

The 123-page report, authored by Republican staff of the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels, pans the impeachment inquiry as “an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system” and argues that the evidence does not prove Democrats’ allegations against Trump.

Lots of no-shows for impeachment inquiry depositions
Overall Democrats participated more than Republicans, who had complained about access

Updated Nov. 21, 2:28 p.m. | Only a fifth of the 104 members on the three House panels that conducted the impeachment inquiry depositions attended and participated in a majority of the proceedings, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis of the available deposition transcripts.

The Intelligence Committee has released transcripts for 15 of the 17 depositions it has conducted with two other panels: Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs. 

Sondland testimony cliffhanger: Will he vindicate or implicate Trump?
Neither Democrats nor Republicans know what Sondland will say about new information since his deposition

As the House impeachment inquiry has moved from closed depositions to open hearings, lawmakers largely knew what witnesses would say. But Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who will testify Wednesday, is a cliffhanger.

The House Intelligence Committee will hear from Sondland after three days of testimony with seven other witnesses, many of whom spoke to conversations they’ve had with him. Those accounts place Sondland in the center of the controversy about whether Trump withheld security assistance to Ukraine and a White House meeting with the country’s new president to secure investigations into his political rivals.

New polls show impeachment hearings having minimal impact on public sentiment
One survey finds more independents oppose impeachment after first week of hearings

Two polls released Tuesday show the House’s impeachment hearings are having minimal impact on public sentiment, with one conducted over the weekend revealing opposition to impeachment growing among independents.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted Nov. 15 to 17 after the first week of public hearings found 47 percent of respondents support the House impeaching President Donald Trump, compared to 44 percent who oppose such action.

Road ahead: Impeachment suspense drowns out government funding debate
There’s a full schedule of open hearings at the House Intelligence Committee

Seldom does an imminent deadline to avoid a government shutdown fly under the radar, but that might happen this week with most eyes on impeachment hearings in the House.

Congress will need to pass another continuing resolution to keep the government funded past Thursday, as leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations panels look to finalize subcommittee allocations for the delayed fiscal 2020 bills, in conjunction with top leadership and representatives from the administration.

Pelosi sidesteps using Trump’s name in discussing funding talks
At weekly presser, speaker refers to ‘the administration,’ not president or White House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday went out of her way to avoid acknowledging President Donald Trump and the White House when asked about appropriations negotiations, as a Nov. 21 deadline to continue funding the government approaches. 

At her weekly press conference, a reporter asked Pelosi about her working relationship with the White House, noting that Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution the same week the House is conducting hearings to determine whether Trump should be impeached.

Democrats hope impeachment support grows but proceeding regardless of public sentiment
Public support is important but members' constitutional duty is more so, Democrats say

House Democrats hope the open impeachment hearings they began Wednesday will convince the public that President Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses, but if the proceedings fail to produce an increase in public support, it won’t stop or slow down their inquiry.

More than half a dozen Democrats interviewed Wednesday — as the Intelligence Committee held its first of what will be at least five days of public testimony from 11 witnesses — said their decisions on whether to impeach Trump will not be influenced by polls capturing public sentiment.

House Democrats have aggressive schedule of impeachment hearings before Thanksgiving
Intelligence panel will hear from eight witnesses over three days

The House Intelligence Committee announced an aggressive public hearing schedule for next week with a plan to have eight witnesses testify over the course of three days.

Half of those witnesses are scheduled to appear next Tuesday. A morning hearing will feature testimony from Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director for European affairs at the National Security Council.

Trump impeachment makes for tricky messaging for Democrats
As public hearings start, Democrats have to cut through complicated issues

House Democrats begin the public portion of their push to impeach President Donald Trump this week with what they say is a powerful case that the president used his office for personal political gain — but they face a high-stakes challenge to convey that to a sharply divided public.

The House Intelligence Committee has its first impeachment hearings scheduled for Wednesday and Friday following weeks of closed-door depositions. The witnesses testifying in the open come from the same roster of unknown diplomats and bureaucrats who in their private interviews detailed complex matters of foreign diplomacy that are unfamiliar to most Americans.

McCarthy temporarily puts Jordan on Intelligence Committee for impeachment hearings
Jordan will replace Rick Crawford, who will get his seat back impeachment proceedings conclude

House Oversight ranking member Jim Jordan will serve on the Intelligence Committee during public impeachment proceedings, temporarily replacing fellow Republican Rick Crawford, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Friday.

Jordan has been the leading Republican in the closed-door impeachment inquiry depositions that have been conducted jointly by the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels. Under procedures the House approved Oct. 31, the Intelligence Committee will be the sole panel participating in the public hearings. (Later, the Judiciary Committee, which Jordan is already on, will conduct additional public proceedings for considering articles of impeachment.)

House to take up CR, Export-Import Bank and voting rights legislation in November
Hoyer outlines floor schedule for November, says action on prescription drug bill delayed to December

The House will take up a stopgap funding bill, legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, and a voting rights measure in November, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a “Dear Colleague” letter Friday.

The House has been on recess this week and will return Tuesday after the Veterans Day holiday for two consecutive weeks of legislative sessions before recessing again for the week of Thanksgiving. 

Taylor testimony: 5 key points expected to make a comeback at public hearings
Transcript release provides roadmap for next phase of the impeachment inquiry

The newly released transcripts of October testimony from William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, give a window into the next phase of the impeachment inquiry. Taylor will be the first witness to return to Capitol Hill and testify in an open hearing Nov. 13.

What Taylor has already said behind closed doors and what questions lawmakers are asking offer clues about what evidence Democrats and Republicans will bring forward to the public hearings.