WASHINGTON – House Democrats continued on Friday with the rapid rollout of an impeachment investigation against President Trump, planning subpoenas, and drawing up a witness list for a production that could come to its first hearing next week.
Everything is real-time, Representative Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat and member of the Intelligence Committee. "You don't sit down and think about the future when you're in the middle of it."
With Congress already on a two-week break and lawmakers going back to their constituencies, Democrats worked two runs, carefully. outlining a set of fast-paced investigative steps as they redirect their messages to what promises to be a divisive and politically charged process.
Representative David Tsitsilin, a Democrat from Rhode Island and head of the party's arm of the party's announcement, circulated an investigation plan and witness sequence. talking points for his colleagues, especially aimed at helping the moderates – many who opposed the impeachment investigation just a week ago but have now expressed their support – explain this dizzying turn of events last week to their constituents.
With the headline "Not One is Above the Law," the talking points outlined three central messages for Democrats: that the president was "engaging in serious misconduct, betraying his office and undermining national security", that he was "pressuring a foreign government to targeted a political opponent to assist in his re-election and tried to cover it up "and that they would follow the facts.
"We want to keep it simple," said Mr. Cicilline, clutching conversation cards . "This is not complicated. This is misconduct that the president has admitted."
] Already, some Democrats have dismissed this somber message by raising progressive outrage over Mr Trump's behavior to call for his immediate removal. The campaign for re-election of Representative Rashida Tleib of Michigan has started selling T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "Impeach the M," using a two-letter abbreviation for exp The first-class congressman used the presidential phrase when he spoke in a speech to activists in January.
The investigation focuses on Mr Trump's efforts to pressure the President of Ukraine to launch corruption investigations against Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., part of a whistleblower complaint accusing the president of using his cabinet to attract foreign aid to bolster his own re-election in 2020. President Nancy Pelosi said he wanted this done arzo and the Commission is expected to Mr. Schiff to go ahead with the investigation in the coming days.
Mr. Trump, increasingly angry with the allegations against him and Democrats' intentions to consider impeaching him as a result, tried to defend himself in an angry series of tweets on Friday. He called his conversation with President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky "perfect" and "appropriate" and rushed to Mr. Schiff, demanding his resignation.
same. Pelosi, who took a media tour after taking advantage of the pressure of impeachment, said Attorney General William P. Bar was a "fraudster" given the Justice Department's role in denying the appeal of Congressional whistleblowers. In his interview with Mr Zelensky, which was a decisive element in the complaint, Mr Trump instructed the Ukrainian President to continue with Mr Bar and Rudolf W. Giuliani, Mr Trump's personal lawyer, to open an investigation into Mr. Biden,
"Since he was mentioned in all this, he is curious that he will decide how the complaint will be handled, "Ms Pelosi told CNN's Bar.
The Committee has already stated publicly that it intends to meet the offender in a secure environment as soon as possible in order to try to identify other officials who have witnessed the alleged events and who would be willing to assist in their work.
In addition, they will again speak with Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson, who last week was limited to sharing any details with Congress about the work his office did to confirm the complaint initially. This time Mr Atkinson would be more free to discuss the matter, which could make it clearer to the committee where to begin its work.
Mr. Quigley said he expects the committee to call on Mr. Bar and Mr. Giuliani, as well as White House officials and others who appear to have raised concerns over the whistle blower.
Committee officers may begin questioning other potential witnesses in the coming days. Much of this work is likely to be done beyond sight, lawmakers said, to speed up the fact-finding process and avoid the political repercussions of public hearings.
Democrats from the panel said they expect to spend at least part of the House's two-week vacation in Washington. They are in the early stages of planning a thematic hearing for next week, potentially focusing on Ukraine and America's foreign policy, or offenders, officials familiar with the matter said.
"The purpose of the committee is to gain momentum, so I imagine a lot of work will be done in the next two weeks," said Jim Jimes of Connecticut, the second-ranked Democrat in the group.
For many Democrats last week was a rat-tat series of shakes On Monday, seven moderates, all with military or national security – and most opposed impeachment – called for an investigation, opening the floodgates to more moderate ones to join.
Tuesday brought the message on Ms. P On Wednesday, the White House released a transcript of Mr. Trump's call with Mr. Zelensky, and Thursday's whistleblowing complaint was made public, including the explosive allegation that the White House was seeking to "lock" record of the conversation. Pelosi accused Mr Trump of "concealing"
By Friday, most Democrats seemed exhausted, grateful for a two-week break to gather their thoughts, with many saying they intended to listen more than to speak. The Liberals, including Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, were warming; they believe the impeachment investigation should have started a long time ago.
But the moderates seemed gloomy, burdened with the weight of the moment. Among them was Representative Angie Craig, a freshman who turned Republican in Minnesota. Usually private about her Christian faith, she said she turned to the Bible for comfort.
"I will tell my constituents that this is a decision I never wanted to make," said Ms. Craig, "that the president leaves us no choice but to open an impeachment investigation."