- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2019

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer left the door open to wrapping up impeachment by the end of the year, despite packed end-of-year legislative deadlines.

Democratic leadership has stayed far away from setting a firm deadline for impeachment, even as the process has exponentially accelerated since late September when the inquiry was formally launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Mr. Hoyer explained that if the House Judiciary Committee, which has officially begun the next phase of the inquiry, decides to bring forward articles this month, then they’d be able to fit it in the schedule.

“I think there’s time to do it before the end of the year,” the Maryland Democrat said.

For months, rank-and-file members have been eyeing wrapping up the inquiry with a potential vote on articles of impeachment before Christmas

Leadership has not formally committed to moving forward with articles, instead waiting for movement in the Judiciary Committee — but the caucus is as close as it’s ever been.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report released on Tuesday laid out their case — arguing it was clear President Trump leveraged both military aid and a White House meeting to pressure the Ukrainian president into investigating Mr. Trump’s political rival Joseph R. Biden and his son Hunter. They concluded it was a clear basis for an abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

“The committee found that that was a direct relationship and in fact, constituted bribery,” Mr. Hoyer said.

Bribery is one of the crimes specifically cited in the constitution that would merit impeachment.

Meanwhile, Democrats are locked in negotiations on two major fronts — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and 12 government spending bills that need to be passed by Dec. 20.

Additionally, Mr. Hoyer said Democrats are hoping to pass their marquee drug pricing plan before they leave for Christmas.

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