- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2019

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold L. Nadler on Wednesday vowed to move “swiftly” on articles of impeachment against President Trump if warranted by the evidence but made clear that was the direction in which they were headed.

“The president has shown us his pattern of conduct. If we do not act to hold him in check now, President Trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain,” said Mr. Nadler, New York Democrat.

He made the comments as he opened the committee’s first public hearing on the impeachment case against Mr. Trump. The hearing features testimony by legal scholars on the grounds for impeachment.

Mr. Nadler made clear that he intends to quickly move the process along. The Judiciary Committee, which is charged with drafting articles of impeachment, took up the impeachment case after the investigatory phase was conducted by three other House committees.

“In a few days, we will reconvene and hear from the committees that worked to uncover the facts before us. And when we apply the Constitution to those facts, if it is true that President Trump has committed an impeachable offense — or multiple impeachable offenses, then we must move swiftly to do our duty and charge him accordingly,” Mr. Nadler said.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which spearheaded the investigation, issued a 300-page report Tuesday that laid out the case that Mr. Trump abused his office for personal political gain by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, and his son Hunter.

Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing and condemned the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as a partisan “sham.”

The impeachment case stems from a July 25 phone call in which Mr. Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor” in investigating Mr. Biden and Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election.

A whistleblower, who is believed to be a CIA official assigned to the White House, accused the president of abusing his power for personal gain on the call, including withholding $391 million of U.S. military aid from Ukraine as leverage.

A rough transcript of the call the White House released in late September did not show the president present a quid pro quo deal for the investigations, but Democrats have argued the threat was understood and part of an ongoing pressure campaign of “shadow” foreign policy conducted by Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

The quid pro quo, a Latin term meaning a transaction of “this for that,” is the crux of the Democrats’ case that Mr. Trump engaged in a bribery or extortion scheme that warrants impeachment.

Mr. Trump has acknowledged that he wanted an investigation into alleged corruption involving Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, who landed a high-paying job on the board of Ukraine natural gas company Burisma Holdings in 2014.

At the time, his father was the point man for Obama White House policy in the country, which is notorious for corruption, especially in the energy industry.

The elder Mr. Biden recently boasted of forcing Ukraine leaders to fire the country’s chief prosecutor in spring 2016 by threatening to block a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee. The prosecutor was widely viewed as not doing enough to combat corruption. But the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, also had looked into corruption allegations against Burisma and Mykola Zlochevsky, the Ukraine oligarch running the company.

Mr. Trump also wanted Ukraine to look into a missing Democratic National Committee server that was hacked by Russia during the 2016 presidential campaigns. An American cybersecurity company called CrowdStrike examined the server to probe the hack, but the server disappeared before it got to the FBI.

Mr. Trump subscribes to an unsubstantiated theory that the server ended up in Ukraine.

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