WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee will hear from both its committee and the House Intelligence committee for evidence in the Ukraine-centered events at the center of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The Democratic counsel maintains that the president’s alleged wrong-doings are “so brazen, so clear,” while Republicans maintain this inquiry is “outrageous” and hasn’t been moving forward fairly.
One California lawmaker who sits on the Judiciary Committee said the parties are obviously divided, as seen clearly in Monday’s hearing. The Congressman said because of this, he’s spending countless hours researching to make sure he’s prepared for the proceedings and to make sure he can make the decisions he believes are right.
“The evidence is very damning against the president,” said Ted Lieu, a Democrat who represents West Los Angeles, as he marked key points within a 300-page evidence report, alleging Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine for his own personal, political gain.
It’s a small aspect of his preparations for what could be the biggest decision of his political career.
Lieu has a critical role in the impeachment proceedings: to write and officially recommend articles of impeachment to the House.
He said he’s listening as dozens of constituents have contacted his office.
“People in my district, by an overwhelming majority, do support impeachment,” said Lieu.
Even so, Lieu has spent hours not only going over the House Intelligence Committee’s report, but also reviewing the Constitution and watching the proceedings and speeches from prior impeachment hearings.
“Just trying to think about how this situation fits into a prior precedent,” said Lieu.
In this case, President Trump has repeatedly called the inquiry a "hoax" by Democrats, saying he hasn’t done anything wrong.
But Lieu has been digging into the data and research behind the Ukraine events and believes bribery is apparent. He said his staff has helped him a great deal in getting to that conclusion.
“My staff is amazing,” said Lieu. “Providing a lot of facts and data and giving me a lot of information to process so I can make a decision."
Now the next phase in the inquiry is in full swing as Lieu and his fellow House Judiciary Committee members continue their preparations for a potential impeachment vote before Christmas.
Monday morning, the president tweeted out a few times about the proceedings, calling it again a “Witch Hunt”.
"I watched a little bit earlier,” said President Trump to reporters on Monday. “It's a disgrace, it's a disgrace to our country. It's a hoax and it should never, ever be allowed to happen again."
President Trump said he hasn’t done anything wrong. For now, it seems the president and his counsel will not be taking part in any of the House Judiciary Committee’s hearings this year.