Inquiry reveals greater congressional complexity

By Ian Krietzberg
Staff Writer

As the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s potentially corrupt dealings with Ukraine nears its conclusion, its scope and reach continue to widen, encompassing a potentially greater number of co-conspirators than originally thought, according to CNN. 

Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump’s attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, told CNN via his lawyer on Nov. 23 that he is prepared to testify that Rep. Devin Nunes was in touch with Ukrainians a year ago with the goal of “digging up dirt” on the Bidens. 

Nunes, a Republican who has been a longtime defender of Trump, has called the reports “demonstrably false” and has filed a lawsuit against CNN, according to The New York Times. This revelation raises a question of more expansive senatorial or congressional involvement with the president, which could influence future votes on impeachment. 

Parnas implicates Nunes in impeachment (YouTube).

Meanwhile, with the first two weeks of House Intelligence hearings officially conducted, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and his office are in the process of compiling a report that will summarize the information garnered in the public trials and might lead to legitimate articles of impeachment, according to CNBC. 

At this stage, the House Judiciary Committee is taking over and will hold its first public hearing today. Chairman Jerrold Nadler has extended a formal invitation for the president not only to attend, but also for his legal team to question any witnesses, according to CNBC.

The hearing, which is titled “The Impeachment Inquiry Into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment,” according to the letter, will discuss the “historical and constitutional basis of impeachment, as well as the Framers’ intent and understanding of terms like ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors.’”

In the same letter, Nadler reminded Trump that his ability to participate in this hearing is “not a right, but a privilege or courtesy” that is being extended to the president and his counsel. 

Regardless, Trump and his team have yet to say whether they will be attending the hearings. 

“‘The White House is currently reviewing Chairman Nadler’s letter — but what is obvious to every American is that this letter comes at the end of an illegitimate sham partisan process,’” said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham in a Nov. 27 statement, according to CNBC. 

The exchange comes just days after a judge ruled that Don McGahn, the former General Counsel to the White House who previously refused to testify, according to Trump’s instruction, is now legally obligated to testify before Congress in regards to presidential obstruction of justice during the Mueller probe, according to CNN. 

In her opinion, which effectively destroyed the president’s argument of absolute immunity, District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said that “Presidents are not kings,” a ruling that could be influential in the coming weeks.

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