US impeachment probe: Judiciary committee schedules first hearing

Committee will hear from legal experts as they examine the constitutional grounds for impeachment.

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler will examine the framework of impeachable conduct [File: Andrew Harnik/AP]
    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler will examine the framework of impeachable conduct [File: Andrew Harnik/AP]

    The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee set to take over the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, has scheduled its first hearing with legal experts for next week. 

    The hearing, announced on Tuesday and scheduled for December 4, will explore the concept of "high crimes and misdemeanors", the bar for impeachment set out in the Constitution, as legislators determine what constitutes constitutional grounds for impeachment.

    Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the hearing will "explore the framework put in place to respond to serious allegations of impeachable misconduct".

    The hearing comes as the House intelligence committee is expected to submit a report compiling evidence of its probe into Trump's dealings with Ukraine. The House is seeking to answer whether Trump sought the help of a foreign government for his own political gain. 

    The intelligence committee has held two weeks of public impeachment hearings this month examining Trump's requests for Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son as the US withheld military aid to the country.

    Chairman Adam Schiff has said the investigation will continue even after they have submitted the report. There is no evidence of misconduct by the Bidens. 

    Trump, who has called the investigation a "hoax" and denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyers are invited to attend the hearing and make a request to question witnesses, according to Democratic rules approved by the House last month.

    On Tuesday, the committee released a letter from Nadler to the president, in which he said he hopes Trump will participate "consistent with the rules of decorum and with the solemn nature of the work before us".

    However, it is unlikely Trump will attend the hearing as he is scheduled to be overseas on December 4 to participate in a summit with NATO allies outside London. The Judiciary panel has given the White House until December 1 to decide whether Trump or his lawyers would attend.

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    SOURCE: News agencies