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tv   NEWSHOUR  Al Jazeera  December 4, 2019 6:00pm-7:01pm +03

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president trump and the others were laughing well president trump was asked about that in front of the german chancellor and he said as you'd expect not very diplomatic language from the u.s. president he said the canadian prime minister was 2 faced and it seems that that may well have been the 1st time the u.s. president had heard about this video and had been asked about this video immediately afterwards he told the u.s. pull that he was considering canceling his news conference and in the last half hour has issued a tweet and saying there will be no news conference and he's heading straight back to the u.s. once he has finished his meetings here at the summit he's saying in that tweet that is because he's already given a lot of comments to reporters while he's been here in the u.k. but clearly it leads to the speculation that it may well be linked to that video of people joking about him. you've been picked to in this buckingham palace reception
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with prime minister trudeau and others apparently having a joke maybe at mr trump's expense do you not take president trump seriously that's that's that's complete nonsense and i don't know whether it's comparable. so that's the only comment about what actually was going all in that vacuum how this video and that was from the news conference the british prime minister did here a short time ago he was asked about it and said it was nonsense but clearly we have it on film and this isn't the 1st time that president trump if this is the real reason would have left a an international summit after a dispute with the canadian prime minister remember there was the g 8 summit last year that took place in canada president trump seemed at that stage to leave early
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because he was unhappy with comments from the canadian side all right james so the u.s. president tweeting that he won't be doing a press conference at the close of nato because he says we did so so many over the past 2 days safe travels to all so that's that's his explanation for not doing the news conference same sprays a diplomatic editor and water ford it's just gone past 15 g.m.t. here on al-jazeera and a reminder that we've been watching french president mannion mccaughan giving a news conference in london at the end of the nato summit there and also happening at this hour in washington d.c. the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into president donald trump which is about to get under way in the u.s. house judiciary the judiciary committee is due to hold its 1st hearings and we'll be covering that for you live as soon as it begins. let's now bring in our diplomatic senior political analyst marwan bashara who joins us for more on the
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nato summit marwan if there was one word to sum up what's happened in london yesterday and today what would it be in your view well if you allow me i'm going to borrow from a hollywood title it seems to me for for the time being it's politics lies and videotape. certainly the videotape stalling the scene at the words the end of the summit with present from the ready cooled by his partners. a clear there's a lot of politics we know that the main leaders there at nato they're all facing challenges at home whether it's president trump with his impeachment voters jumps in with elections. chancellor merkel leaving the sea and of course mccrone has his own troubles at home with the strikes and so on so forth there's been lots of politics going on. and certainly there's been a good a good a good amount of lies by the lead there's you know the fact checkers i'm sure for
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the us with days have been telling us a lot about you know who said what. but clearly what we just heard from president mccall scholarly or otherwise i think it's very important it's he sounds now the only voice over statesmanship coming out of the summit we've all hung on to his one phrase brain dead in terms of nato but the media did not really follow up on everything else he said and he just summarized it now and as i think the nuances he made for lee are very very essential one russia is not an enemy for the 2 for nato it does pose certain threats here and there but as he emphasized it is a neighbor and a partner and hence dialogue is very important with russia so that's one to when it comes to shina it requires some serious reflection and hear what we have is this
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sort of a nato institutional strategic approach to global challenges we need to reflect about what needs to be done with china because china is the most important emerging . challenge on the world scene this is the power of that who wants to become a continental power in asia and a global power and the rise of china is the most challenging issue of the 21st century not only for nato but for the whole world and president mccall is right to say this to this requires some serious reflection and last but not least he talks about the common defense and common defense is more than my own your share of of of expenditures it's more about how we're going to defend one another and how we're going to plan that forward because it's not just about money as he'd been saying
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for the last $2.00 days it's really more about the restructuring of nato and south . thank you very much for that. senior political analysts live here in doha. now on to the big story of the day and the u.s. house judiciary committee is about to begin its 1st hearing on the pietschmann inquiry into president donald trump who is accused of withholding military aid to ukraine to pressure it into investigating his potential democratic rival joe biden he's also accused of obstruct obstructing the congressional investigation by preventing officials from testifying or providing documents despite being subpoenaed now this house judiciary committee hearing coming a day after congressional democrats released a 300 page report which described in detail how president abused his power of
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office for personal and political gain let's bring in heidi who's live for us on capitol hill in washington heidi saw the impeachment inquiry has now moved into the hands of the judiciary committee tell us what we can expect. that's right and the significance of this now shifting to the house judiciary committee is that this is the body that will draft the articles of impeachment in essence the indictments that trump would face in this impeachment that will likely lead to a trial in the senate so today significance is that democrats feel this is a bookend to the investigative phase of their impeachment inquiry they laid out the staff said they say overwhelmingly show that trump is guilty of wrongdoing in his handling of ukraine we saw that laid out in the report from the intelligence committee today the judiciary committee takes those findings and will consider
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whether or not this alleged wrongdoing merits an impeachable offense which is defined in the u.s. constitution as treason bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors and the committee members will be. during from war of legal scholars to answer the question of whether or not trump. the trumps accusations merit those impeachable offenses the ring of these witnesses are legal scholars called by democrats and we'll be hearing from those legal i mean has been very very soon and let me i'm sorry to interrupt you heidi because we have to go to the u.s. house judiciary committee chair jerry nadler was about to begin speaking with me as i cannot understand we're using just my view we're going to pursuant to cause to jay one of ruhleben i am furnishing you with a demand for minority gave hearings on this subject signed by all of the republican members of the committee and i would request that you use this tape before the
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committee votes on any articles of impeachment it's a motion i raise draw my reservation we will confer on this later. as president this is the 1st hearing this is the 1st hearing we are conducting pursuant to house resolution $660.00 and the due to special judiciary committee procedures that are described in section 4 any of that resolution here is how the committee will proceed for this hearing i will make an opening statement and then i will recognize the ranking member for an opening statement each witness will have 10 minutes to make their statements and then we will proceed to questions i will now recognize myself for an opening statement mr chairman. and i have i have the time for an opening statement a parliamentary inquiry is not in order at this time the facts before us are
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undisputed on july 25th president trump called president selenski of ukraine and then president trumps words ask him for a favor that call was part of a concerted effort by the president and his men. to solicit a personal advantage in the next election this time in the form of an investigation of his political adversaries by a foreign government to obtain that private political advantage president trump withheld both an official white house meeting from the newly elected president of a fragile democracy and withheld vital military aid from a vulnerable ally when congress found out about this scheme and began to investigate president trump took extraordinary and unprecedented steps to cover up his efforts and to withhold evidence from the investigators and when witnesses disobeyed him when career professionals came forward and told us the truth he
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attacked them viciously calling them traitors and liars promising that they will quote ghost through some things close quote of course this is not the 1st time that president trump has engaged in this pattern of conduct in 2016 the russian government engaged in a sweeping and systematic campaign of interference in our elections in the words of special counsel robert muller quote the russian government perceived it would benefit from a trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome was quote the president welcomed that interference we saw this in real time when president trump asked russia to hack his political opponent the very next day a russian military intelligence unit attempted to hack that political opponent in his own justice department try to uncover the extent to which a foreign government had broken our laws president trump took extraordinary and
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unprecedented steps to have struck the investigation including ignoring subpoenas ordering the creation of false records and publicly attacking and intimidating witnesses. that is now this is ministrations level of obstruction is without precedent no other president has vowed to quote fight all of the subpoenas unquote this president promised in the 1974 impeachment proceedings president nixon produced dozens of recordings in 1908 president clinton physically gave his blood president trump by contrast as refused to produce a single document and directed every witness not to testify those are the facts before us the impeachment inquiry is moved back to the house judiciary committee and as we begin a review of these facts the president's pattern of behavior becomes clear president
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trump welcomed foreign interference in the 2016 election he demanded for the 2020 election in both cases he got court and then both cases he did everything in his power to prevent the american people from learning the truth about his kind and july 24th special counsel testified before this committee implored us to see the nature of the threat to our country quote over the course of my career i have seen a number of challenges to our democracy the russian government's effort to interfere in our elections is among the most serious this deserves the attention of every american is quote ignoring that warning president trump called the ukrainian president the very next day to ask him to investigate the president's political opponent as we exercise our responsibility to determine whether this pattern of
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behavior constitutes an impeachable offense it is important to place president trumps conduct into the historical context since the founding of our country house of representatives has impeached only 2 presidents. a 3rd was on his way to impeachment when he resigned this committee as it voted to impeach 2 presidents for obstructing justice we have voted to impeach one president for obstructing i can gresham the investigation to the extent that president terms kind of fits these categories there is precedent for recommending impeachment here but never before in the history of the republic have we been forced to consider the conduct of a president with peers to have solicited personal political favors from a foreign government never before as a president engaged in a course of conduct and included all of the acts that most concerned the framers
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of patriots who founded our country were not fearful men they fought a war they witnessed terrible violence they overthrew a king there's a med to frame our constitution those patriots still feared one threat above all foreign interference in our elections they just opposed the tired they were deeply worried that we would lose our newfound liberty not through a war if a foreign army were to invade we would see that coming but through corruption from within and in the early years of the republic they asked us each of us to be vigilant to that threat washington warned us quote to be constantly awake since history and experience prove that foreign influences is one of the most painful foes of republican government adams wrote to jefferson quote as often as elections happen the danger of foreign influence recurs hamilton's warning was more specific
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and more dire in the federalist papers he wrote that quote most deadly adversaries of republican government i quote would almost certainly attempt to quote raise a creature of their own to the chief magistrate c. of the union. in short the founders warned us that we should expect our foreign adversaries to target our elections and that we will find ourselves in grave danger if the president willingly opens the door to their influence what kind of president would do that how will we know if the president has betrayed his country in this manner how will we know if he has betrayed his country in this manner for petty personal gain have alternate interests had a response for that as well he wrote when a man on principled in private life desperate in his fortune bold in his temper possessed of considerable talents known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty when such
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a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity to join the cry of danger to liberty to take every opportunity of embarrassing the general government and bringing it under suspicion it may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind ladies and gentlemen the storm which we find ourselves today was set in motion by president trump i do not wish this moment on the country it is not a pleasant task that we undertake today but we have each taken an oath to protect the constitution and the facts before us are clear president trump did not merely seek to benefit from foreign interference in our elections he directly and explicitly invited foreign interference in our elections he used the powers of his office to try to make it happen he sent his agents to make clear that this is what
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he wanted and demanded he was willing to compromise our security and his office for personal political gain. it does not matter that president trump got caught and ultimately released the funds that ukraine so desperately needed it matters it is that he enlisted a foreign government to intervene in our elections in the 1st place it does not matter that president trump felt that these investigations were unfair to him it matters that he used his office not merely to defend himself but to obstruct investigators at every turn we are all aware that the next election is looming but we cannot wait for the election to address the present crisis the integrity of that election is one of the very things at stake the president has shown as his pattern of kind if we do not act to hold him in check now president trouble over certainly
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try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain today revealed begin our conversation where we should with the text of the constitution we are empowered to recommend the impeachment of president trump to the house if we find that he has committed treason bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors eye witness panel will help us to guide that conversation in a few days we will reconvene and hear from the committees that work 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 a peach or impeachable offenses then we must move swiftly to do our duty and charge him accordingly. i thank the witnesses for being here today i now recognize the ranking member many of you to sherry committee chairman gentleman from georgia mr
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collins mr cheney's opening statement mr chairman may make parliamentary inquiry before you gentlemen you she's not in order for a problem and we have recognized the ranking member for an opening statement. i think the chairman and it is interesting the again parliamentary inquiry and i believe some are actually some of the things i will discuss today because we're sort of coming here today in a different arena but for everybody who's not been here before this new room new rules. it's a new month we've been got cute little stickers for our staff so we can come in because we want to make this important this is impeachment because we've done such a terrible job of it in this committee before but what's not new it's basically was just been reiterated by the chair what's not new is the fact was not new is this the same sad story was sitting in before i get into the. part of my opening statement was is this what was just said by the chairman we were he we went back to
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a redo of mr maule or we're also saying quoting him saying the attention of the american people should be on foreign interference i agree with him completely except i guess the american people did not include the judiciary committee because we didn't take it up we didn't have hearings we didn't do anything to deal deeply into this issue we passed election bills we did not get into the end of part of what mr moeller talked about taking his own report and having hearings about that we didn't do that so i guess the american people doesn't include the house judiciary committee. you know the interesting are we also just heard an interesting discussion we're going to have a lot of interesting discussion about the constitution and other things but we also talk about the founders well french thing is that the chairman talked a lot about the founders from the quotes and again this is why we had the hearing about the founders being concerned about foreign influence already also and then quote was the founders being really really concerned about political impeachment because you just don't like the guy down the line he says november 26th 18. the
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chairman has talked about impeachment since last year when he was elected chairman 2 years on november 6th 7th 8th before he's even sworn in as chairman so don't tell me this is about new evidence and new things and new stuff we may have a new hearing room we may have new mice and we may have chairs that aren't comfortable but this is nothing new folks this is sat so what do we have here today you know what i'm thinking i looked at this and what is interesting is there's 2 things that have come very clear this impeachment is not really about facts if it was i believe the other committees would have sent over recommendations for impeachment now they're putting it on this committee because if it goes badly i guess they want to blame adam schiff committee and see you know what to blame this committee for going bad. but they're already drafting articles don't be they're already getting ready for this we've already went after this with the ukraine after numerous failings of mahler cohen and almost the list goes on monuments the list
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goes on but the american people are foxy failing to see as legislation but if you want to know what's really driving this there's 2 things called the claw and the calendar o'clock in the count most people in life if you want to know what they truly value look at their club you look at their checkbook in a calendar you know what they value that's what this committee values time they want to do it before the end of the year because the chairman said it just a 2nd ago because we're scared of the elections next year we're scared the election that we'll lose again. so we've got to do this now the clock in the calendar what's driving impeachment not the facts and we understand this that's what the witnesses here will say today or we have here today what is really inching over today and for the next few weeks is america will see why most people don't go to wall school no offense to our professors but please really we're bringing you in here today to testify on stuff that most of you've already written about all 4 of the opinion
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that we already know out of the classrooms that maybe you're getting ready for finals in to discuss things that you probably haven't even had a chance unless you're really good on t.v. or watching the hearings the last couple weeks you couldn't possibly actually got jested the adam schiff report from yesterday or the republican response in any real way and we can be theoretical all we want but the american people is really going to look at this and say ha what are we doing because there's no fact witnesses planned for this committee that's an interesting thing frankly there's no plan at all except next week an ambiguous hearing on the presentation from the hips in the other committee the sinister report and judiciary committee which i'm not still sure what they want to present all and nothing else no plan i asked the chairman before we left the thanksgiving just stay in touch let's talk about what we have because history will shine a bright light on us starting this morning crickets until i asked for a witness the other day and let's just say that didn't go well there's no
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whistleblower and by the way it was proved today that he's not or she's not afforded the protection of identity it's not in the statute it's just something that was discussed by adam schiff we also don't have an issue of who wrote the report he said yesterday in a press covers i'm not going to i'll send. staff to do that he's not going to but you know it to me if he was learning to he come begging to us but you know here's the problem sums it up very simply like this. just 19 minutes after noon on inauguration day 2017 the washington post ran the headline the campaign to impeach the president as big a mark that he would later become the attorney for the empress whistleblower tweeted in january 27th saying the coup is started the impeachment will fall to moment and in may of this year al green says if we don't impeach the president you'll get flicked you want to know what's happening here we go why did everything that i say up to this point about no fact witnesses nothing for the judiciary committee we spent 2 and a half weeks before this hearing was even hailed under clinton 2 and
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a half weeks we didn't find your nines out until less than 48 hours ago i don't know what we're playing hide the ball on is pretty easy what you can say we can't even get that straight so what are we doing for the next 2 weeks i have no idea what chairman just said in the bag you big us hearing on the report but nothing else if we're going to simply not have fact when it is when we are the rubber stamp handing out but the very rubber stamp the chairman talked about 20 years ago what a disgrace to this committee to have this committee of impeachment simply take from other entities and rubberstamp you see one of the things that i say matter about that when this isn't actually hearing that actually happen is the due process because by the way just a couple of months ago the democrats got all sort of dressed up if you would says we're going to have due process protection for the president and good fairness throughout this this is the only committee in which the president would even have an a possibility but no offense to you the law professors the president has nothing to
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ascii you're not going to provide anything he can't read and his attorneys have nothing else put witnesses in here that they can be fact witnesses who can be actually cross-examined that's fairness in every attorney on this panel knows that this is a sham but you know what i also see here. it's quotes like this there must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment supported by one of our major political parties or imposed by another such an impeachment will reduce divisiveness bitterness in politics for years to come and will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions the american people are watching they will not forget you have the vote you may have the muscle but you do not have legitimacy of a national consensus or of a constitutional imperative the partisan coup d'etat will go down in infamy in the history of the nation how about this one i think the key point is that the republicans are still running a railroad job with no attempt at fair procedure and today when the democrats
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offered amendments offered motions in committee to say we should 1st discuss and adopt standards so that we know we're dealing with standards for impeachment it was voted down a rule out of order when we say the important thing is to start looking at the question before we simply have a vote with no real inquiry 1st that was voted down and ruled out of order so frankly the whole question of what material should be released and what is secondary but that's all we discussed the essential question here it is which is to set up a fair process as to whether the country put this country through an impeachment proceeding that was ruled out of order to refute publicans refused to let us discuss it those are all chairman now adler before he was chairman i guess 20 years makes a difference it's an interesting time we're having a fabulous impeachment you just heard a one sided presentation of facts about this president today will present the other side which you get so conveniently left out remember fairness does dictate that but maybe not here because we're not scheduling anything else i have a democratic majority who is poll tested what they think they ought to call what
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the president they think he did well that's not following the facts we have a just a deep seated hatred of a man who came to the white house and did what he said he was going to do the most amazing question i got in the 1st 3 months of this gentleman's present from reporters was this can you believe he's putting forward those ideas i said yes he ran on up. he told the truth and he did what he said the problem here today is this will also be one of the 1st impeachments the chairman mentioned there was 2 of one that before he resigned before then one plan in which the facts even bottom democrats or republicans were not really disputed and this one there not only disputed the counterattack to each other there are no set facts here in fact they're not anything that presents an impeachment here except a president carrying out his job in the way the constitution saw that he sees fit to do it this is where we're at today so the interesting thing that i come to with
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most everybody here is this may be a new time a new place and we might be all scrubbed up and looking pretty for impeachment but this is not an impeachment this is just a simple railroad job and today's is a waste of time because this is where we're at so i closed today with this it didn't start with mahler it didn't start with a phone call you know where this started started with tears in brooklyn nov 26th when a little off so we're here no plan no fact when this is simply being a rubber stamp for what we have but hey we got law professors here what a start of a party mr chairman before you go back i have a motion under calls to rule over you in. general is recognized for the purpose of an opening statement not for the purpose of making a motion back in may i ask for your recognition for a motion under close to rule of the gentleman is recognized mr chairman the
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president calls to rule when i move to require the attendance and testimony of chairmanship before this committee interests me this letter cordingley i have. generally segregation. table is made in not debatable say with a motion table say. emotions table is agreed to recorded. cordwood is requested. not recognized. we've been listening there to the opening statements of the ranking republican on the house judiciary committee there doug collins and also the chair of the u.s. house judiciary committee jerry madeleine on the 2nd round of the public impeachment hearings in washington d.c. this. impeachment hearings into president donald trump the house judiciary
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committee holding its 1st impeachment hearing a day after the congressional democrats released at $300.00 page report in which they described how president donald trump abuse the power of his office for personal and political gain now the impeachment inquiry as we're seeing here is now moved into the hands of the judiciary committee and the judiciary committee will hear from 4 constitutional law professors 3 requested by democrats and one by republicans in his opening statement jerry narron of the republican talked about the facts being undisputed and he said that president trump welcomed interference in the 26000 election and that he demanded it in the 2020 election let's speak to my all to cough now who is the chief investigative correspondent at yahoo news he is live from washington d.c. thank you so much for being with us and we heard the opening statements of jerry nadler in the opening statement of the republican doug collins as well. gerry not
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a says the facts are in disputed that president trump welcomed interference in the 25th in that he demanded in the 2020 next and in your opinion have the democrats so far managed to present to layout what they say donald trump did wrong well we certainly had those 2 weeks of hearings public hearings before the house intelligence committee and of course the 300 page report that was released yesterday by the committee majority but i thought it was interesting in chairman adler's opening statement putting this in the context of the russia investigation pointing out that this that the request to presidents alinsky to investigate the bidens in 2016 election interference wasn't the 1st time the president trump had sought foreign assistance for his personal political benefit pointing out that.
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says the moeller investigation showed that he welcomed russian assistance during the 2016 election but i think that too though the one phrase that navl or gave that i thought is the most significant is at the very end when he said that if the facts show that the president has committed impeachable offenses and clearly that's the conclusion of of all the democrats on this committee then we must move swiftly to do our duty and charge him accordingly move swiftly that's the signal that this committee is on a fast track to hold the this hearing hold another one next week and then vote articles of impeachment before in the days before christmas is that a mistake though by a by the democrats i mean they officially announced their impeachment inquiry into president trump a little over 2 months ago and now as you say they sound like they want this to be done and dusted is it
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a mistake to move quickly rather than continue with the investigation. well there is a continuing debate on this matter within the house democratic caucus and it's going to be mooste it's going to play out in this committee because you have a lot of liberals progressives on this committee who wanted to impeach president trump well before the ukraine allegations ever surfaced purely on the basis of that purely but largely on the basis of the muller report and then other matters such as the alleged violation of the emoluments clause so there are democrats on this committee who will want to expand the scope of the articles of impeachment to include other matters that go beyond ukraine you have a lot of reservations on that from speaker pelosi and other democratic leaders saying that could bog things down that could muddy the waters and it's going to be
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really fascinating to see how that plays out over the next week or 2 also fascinating to see what the republican strategy will be at this stage we heard a dot com and as you say pick up on the fact that not put this in the context of the miller investigation and and collins very critical of that what do you see the republican strategy being here. well the key phrase that was used by collins in his opening statement was partisan coup de kock couldn't cop ta that they are trying to the republicans are going to make the argument that this is a purely partisan matter that they do the room the house democrats do not have any so far any republican buy in to impeachment the polls show a country still divided over this and you're going to hear time and again and you sir heard that from collins throwing back the words of. congressman adler 20 years ago during the clinton impeachment talking about how it was wrong it was
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a mistake for the then republican majority to push through the impeachment of bill clinton on purely partisan grounds when there was not a national consensus that is perhaps the strongest republican argument they've got and i think we're going to be hearing a lot of that over the next couple of weeks and i thank you so much for speaking to us michael isikoff chief investigative correspondent at yahoo news when i'm going to go back to the hearings at the u.s. house judiciary committee that's listening to the youngest chaired professor of the school sister it is written over 3 dozen academic articles for a variety of leading law schools. journals i'm sorry it is articles on legal policy issues if you're frequently international publications chicago native professor turley earned degrees from the university of chicago and northwestern university school of law i will now we welcome a distinguished witnesses we thank them for participating in today's hearing now if
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you would please rise i will begin by swear you in. if. you swear or affirm and to penalty of perjury if the testimony you are about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge information and belief so help you got it the record show the witness is answered in the affirmative. each of your written statements will be entered into the record in its entirety accordingly i ask that you summarize your testimony in 10 minutes now the stay within that time there is a timing light on your table when the light switches from green to yellow you have one minute to conclude your testimony you going when the light turns red signals your 10 minutes have expired professor feldman you may begin. i don't think you are the mind is a chairman before we get
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a chairman and members of the committee is the chairman of the motion. gentlemen is not in order to offer a motion mr chairman i seek recognition for a privilege motion. mr chairman and members of the committee thank you very much for the opportunity to appear my name is no feldman i serve as the witness will proceed. i serve as the felix frankfurter professor of law at the harvard law school i seek recognition job religious motion. gentleman will suspend the time is the witnesses privilege motion need to be recognized if you can call it not really any between new witnesses it may be recognized not well when i recognize that we have created the witness will proceed we'll entertain the motion after the 1st witness my job is to study and to teach the constitution from its origins until the present i'm here today to describe 3 things why the framers of our constitution included a provision for the impeachment of the president what that provision for voting for
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impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors means and last how it applies to the question before you and for the american people whether president trump has committed impeachable offenses under the constitution let me begin by stating my conclusions. the framers provided for the impeachment of the president because they feared that the president might abuse the power of his office for personal benefit to corrupt the electoral process and ensure his reelection or to subvert the national security of the united states and high crimes and misdemeanors are abuses of power and of public trust connected to the office of the presidency on the basis of the testimony and the evidence before the house president trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency specifically president trump has abused his office by corruptly
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soliciting present the selenski of ukraine join now and investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage including in the 2020 presidential election let me begin now with the question of why the framers provided for impeachment in the 1st place framers borrowed the concept of impeachment from england but with one enormous difference the house of commons and the house of lords could use impeachment in order to limit the ministers of the king but they could not impeach the king and in that sense the king was above the law in stark contrast the framers from the very outset of the constitutional convention in $787.00 made it crystal clear that the president would be subject to impeachment in order to demonstrate that the president was subordinate to the law.
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if you will i would like you to think now about a specific date in the constitutional convention july 20th 787 it was the middle of a long hot summer and on not day 2 members of the constitutional convention actually moved to take out the impeachment provision from the draft constitution and they had a reason for that and the reason was they said well the president will have to stand for reelection and if the president has to stand for reelection that is enough we don't need a separate provision for impeachment when that proposal was made significant disagreement ensued the governor of north carolina a man called william davies immediately said if the president cannot be impeached quote he will spare no effort or means whatever to get himself reelected following davey george mason of virginia a fierce republican critic of executive power said no point is more important
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than that impeachment be included in the constitution shell any man be above justice he asked us expressing the core concern that the president must be subordinate to the law and not above the law james madison the principle draftsman of the us constitution then spoke up he said it was quote indispensable that some provision be made for impeachment why because he explained standing for reelection was quote not a sufficient security close quote against presidential misconduct or corruption a president he said might betray his trust to foreign powers a president who in a corrupt fashion abuse the office of the presidency said james madison quote might be fatal to the republic close quote. and then a remarkable thing happened in the convention gouverneur morris of pennsylvania one
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of the 2 people who had introduced the motion to eliminate impeachment from the constitution got up and actually said the words i was wrong he told the other framers present that he had changed his mind on the basis of the debate on july 20th and that it was now his opinion that in order to avoid corruption of the electoral process a president would have to be subject to impeachment regardless of the availability of a further election the upshot of this debate is that the framers kept impeachment in the constitution specifically in order to protect against the abuse of office with the capacity to corrupt the electoral process or it lead to personal gain now turning to the language of the constitution the framers used the words high crimes and misdemeanors to describe those forms of action and that they considered impeachable these were not vague or abstract terms to the framers high crimes and
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misdemeanors words various the words high crimes and misdemeanors represented a very specific language that was well understood by the entire generation of the framers indeed they were borrowed from an impeachment trial in england that was taking place as the framers were speaking which was referred to in fact by george mason the words high crimes and misdemeanors refer to abuse of the office of the presidency for personal advantage or to corrupt the electoral process or to subvert the national security of the united states there's no mystery about the words high crimes and misdemeanors the word high it modifies both crimes and misdemeanors so they're both high and high it means connected to the office of the presidency connected to office. the classic form that was familiar to the framers was the abuse of office for personal gain or advantage and when the framers
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specifically named bribery as a high crime in this demeanor they were naming one particular version of this abuse of office the abuse of office for personal or individual game the other forms of abuse of office abuse of office to affect elections and abuse of office to compromise national security were further forms that were familiar to the framers now how does this language of high crimes and misdemeanors apply to president trump's alleged conduct let me be clear the constitution gives the house of representatives that is the members of this committee and the other members of the house quote sole power of impeachment it's not my responsibility or my job to determine the credibility of the witnesses who appeared before the house thus far that is your constitutional responsibility my comments will therefore follow my
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role which is to describe and apply the meaning of impeachable offenses to the facts described by the testimony and evidence before the house president trumps conduct as described in the testimony and evidence clearly constitutes impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors under the constitution in particular the memorandum and other testimony relating to the july 25th 29000 phone call between the 2 presidents president trump and president selenski more than sufficiently indicates that president trump abused his office by soliciting the president of ukraine to investigate his political rivals in order to gain personal political advantage including in relation to the 2020 election again. words abuse of office are not mystical or magical they are very clear the abuse of office occurs when the president uses a feature of his power the awesome power of his office not to serve the interests
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of the american public but to serve his personal individual partisan electoral interests that is what the evidence before the house indicates finally let me be clear that on its own soliciting the leader of a foreign government in order to announce investigations of political rivals and perform those investigations would constitute a high crime in this demeanor but the house also has evidence before it that the president committed to further acts that also qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors in particular the house heard evidence that the president place to hold on critical u.s. aid to ukraine and conditioned its release on announcement of the investigations of the bidens and of the discredited crowd strike conspiracy theory furthermore the
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house also heard evidence that the president conditioned a white house visit desperately sought by the ukrainian president on announcement of the investigations both of these acts constitute impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors under the constitution they each in capsule 8 the framers worry that the president of the united states would take any means whatever to ensure his reelection and that is the reason that the framers provided for impeachment in a case like this one. mr chairman i gentlemen i'm as expired is a chairman i seek recognition. i offer a motion to postpone right so the opening statements are under way in the u.s. house impeachment hearing the impeachment inquiry into president donald trump has now moved into the hands of the house judiciary committee which is hearing today from free constitutional law professors 3 requested by democrats and one by
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republicans the 1st witness to appear when we saw just a few minutes ago. expert noah feldman who is a harvard law professor and he said in his opening statement that based on the evidence and testimony so far that president trump has committed impeachable offenses he says president trumps conduct clearly constitutes high crimes according to the u.s. constitution so noah feldman was the 1st witness to go forward the committee the 2nd one is expected to be the stanford law professor pamela karlan and then at the university of north carolina law professor michael ware had and another one called by republicans from george washington university law professor jonathan turley now the house judiciary committee. is led by the democratic committee chairman jerry nadler of new york who in his opening statement says the facts are undisputed
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saying president welcomed interference in the 26000 election he demanded in the 2020 election so it's supposed to be expected to be anyway very long afternoon in washington an evening if you're watching us here on al-jazeera let's bring back michael isikoff into the conversation he's chief investigative correspondent at yahoo news so michael we heard from the harvard law professor there what was the highlight for you in in his opening statement. well it was sort of historic whole. explanation of the grounds for impeachment why impeachment was put in the u.s. constitution and then of course professor feldman gave his analysis of why the evidence already qualifies for that standard of high crimes and misdemeanors i think it's interesting of the we have 3 more constitutional scholars to testify one of them
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who you mentioned michael's gary hart is going to say that the that president trumps conduct here is worse than that of any other president who has been impeached that of course would include not just bill clinton but richard nixon himself and i wonder whether. that claim is going to really get traction with people that that the conduct here with ukraine really does equal the sort of massive crimes we saw during watergate by richard nixon and then another interesting michael sorry to interrupt you well we're going to continue our conversation. to pam and across these town for a university law professor who is testifying since have the right to vote in free and fair elections today you're being asked to consider whether protecting those elections requires impeaching
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a president that is an awesome responsibility but everything i know about our constitution and its values and my review of the evidentiary record here mr collins i would like to say to you sir that i read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the life hearing because i would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts so i'm insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor i don't care about those facts but everything i read on those occasions tells me that when president trump invited. indeed demanded foreign involvement in our upcoming election he struck at the very heart of what makes this a republic to which we pledge allegiance that demand as professor feldman just explained constituted an abuse of power indeed as i want to explain in my testimony drawing a foreign government into our elections isn't especially a serious abuse of power because it undermines democracy itself our constitution
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begins with the words we the people for a reason our government in james madison's words derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people and the way it derives these powers is through elections elections matter both to legitimacy of our government and to all of our individual freedoms because as the supreme court declared more than a century ago voting is preservative of all rights so it is hardly surprising that the constitution is marbled with provisions governing elections and guaranteeing governmental accountability indeed a majority of the amendments to our constitution since the civil war have dealt with voting or with terms of office and among the most important provisions of our original constitution is the guarantee of periodical elections for the presidency one every 4 years america has kept that promise for more than 2 centuries and it
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has done so even during wartime for example we invented the idea of absentee voting so that union troops who supported president lincoln could stay in the field during the election of $864.00 and since then countless other americans have fought and died to protect our right to vote. but the framers of our constitution realized that elections alone could not guarantee that the united states would remain republic one of the key reasons for including the impeachment power was a risk that unscrupulous officials might try to rig the election process now you've already heard 2 people give william davy his props you know hamilton got a whole musical and william davy is just going to get this committee hearing but he warned that unless the constitution contained an impeachment provision a president might spare no effort or means whatsoever to get himself reelected and george mason insisted that a president who procured his appointment in the 1st instance through improper and
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corrupt acts should not escape punishment by repeating his guilt and mason was the person responsible for adding high crimes and misdemeanors to the list of impeachable offenses so we know from that that the list was designed to reach a president who acts to subvert an election whether that election is the one that brought him into office or it's an upcoming election where he seeks an additional term. moreover the founding generation like every generation of americans since was especially concerned to protect our government and our democratic process from outside interference for example john adams during the ratification expressed concern with the very idea of having an elected president writing to thomas jefferson that you were actor hence of a foreign interference in free influence so am i but as often as a lections happened the danger of foreign influence recurs and in his farewell
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address president washington warned that history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most painful foes of republican government and he explained that this was in part because foreign governments would try and foment disagreement among the american people and influence what we thought the very idea that a president might seek the aid of a foreign government in his reelection campaign would have horrified them but based on the evidentiary record that is what president trump has done the list of impeachable offenses that the framers included in the constitution shows that the essence of an impeachable offense is a president's decision to sacrifice the national interest for his own private ends treason the 1st thing listed lay in an individual's giving aid to a foreign enemy that is putting a foreign enemies adversaries interests above the interests of the united states
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bribery occurred when an official solicited received or offered a personal favor or benefit to influence official action risking that he would put his private welfare above the national interest and high crimes and misdemeanors captured the other ways in which a high official might as just if joseph story explained disregard public interests in the discharge of the duties of political office. based on the evidentiary record before you what has happened in the case today is something that i do not think we have ever seen before a president who has double down on violating his oath to faithfully execute the laws and to protect and defend the constitution the evidence reveals a president who used the powers of his office to demand that a foreign government participate in undermining a competing candidate for the presidency as president john kennedy declared the right to vote in a free american election is the most powerful and precious right in the world but
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our elections become less free when they are just started by foreign interference what happened in 2016 was bad enough there is widespread agreement that russian operatives intervene to manipulate our political process but that distortion is magnified if a sitting president abuses the powers of his office actually to invite foreign intervention to see why imagine living in a part of louisiana or texas that's prone to devastating hurricanes and flooding what would you think if you lived there and your governor asked for a meeting with the president to discuss getting disaster aid that congress has provided for what would you think if that president said i would like to do you i would like you to do us a favor i'll meet with you and i'll send the disaster relief once you brand my opponent a criminal one she will know in your gut that such
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a president had abused his office that he betrayed the national interest and that he was trying to corrupt the electoral process. i believe that the evidence the record shows wrongful acts on that scale here it shows a president who delayed meeting a foreign leader and providing assistance that congress and his own advisors agreed serves are you know watching al-jazeera at 1600 hours g.m.t. 11 am in washington d.c. where the next phase of impeachment proceedings against president donald trump is underway in the u.s. house of representatives the judiciary committee is weighing up evidence gathered by democrats who were accused of abuse of power and obstruction cost to tional scholars are testifying today to establish the gravity of president comes an edge crimes the panel includes $3.00 witnesses called by democrats and republicans the 1st to speak was the constitutional law expert noah feldman from harvard university
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who said that he believes trump has committed impeachable offenses.

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