Impeachment Briefing: What Happened Today

Impeachment Briefing: What Happened Today

This is the Impeachment Briefing, The Times’s newsletter about the impeachment investigation. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weeknight.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the House to begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump, saying it had become clear over the course of the investigation that the president had violated his oath of office by pressing a foreign power for help in the 2020 election.

  • The House Judiciary Committee said it would hold its next hearing Monday morning, to allow its lawyers and those for the Intelligence Committee to formally present the evidence they have collected.

  • The timetable put forth by Ms. Pelosi and the Judiciary Committee could lead to an impeachment vote by the full House before Christmas.

A few hours after Ms. Pelosi’s announcement, she held a second news conference, where she got into a contentious exchange with a reporter — one that Julie Davis, our congressional editor, explored on “The Latest,” our impeachment podcast.

Ms. Pelosi’s first event of the day, Julie said, was full of symbolism and history: “There’s this backdrop of American flags. She gives this formal address invoking the Constitution, and the early days of the country. She name checks all these founding fathers.”

After the second news conference, a reporter for a conservative television network, James Rosen, asked a question that stopped Ms. Pelosi in her tracks.

ROSEN: Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?

PELOSI: I don’t, I don’t hate anybody.

ROSEN: The reason I ask —

PELOSI: We don’t hate anybody. Not anybody in the world.

Ms. Pelosi then returned to the lectern, where she continued to rebuke the reporter.

PELOSI: And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word “hate” in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is full — a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.

The two events, Julie said, tied together an “inescapable dichotomy” about impeachment — there’s a “somber, sober vibe to the whole thing,” but there’s also a fierce political battle. Thursday’s exchange brought those competing ideas into relief.

But, Julie said, both things can simultaneously be true. “She and the Democrats can be doing impeachment for the Constitution and the good of the Republic, for all of the reasons they’re saying they’re doing it, even while they are very, very aware of the politics of all of this and driven by that in many ways, and what it will mean in November 2020.”

Listen to the full episode here.

  • Opponents of impeachment have called the investigation a distraction, saying Congress is ignoring the issues that voters actually care about. But a survey of more than 100,000 people found the opposite: Impeachment tops the list of issues Republicans consider most important, and it is the No. 2 issue for Democrats.

  • A trip to London this week offered Mr. Trump an opportunity to get away and demonstrate his global leadership during impeachment proceedings, like Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton before him. Instead, it seemed to bring him only more aggravation.

  • In our Opinion pages, the columnist David Leonhardt argues that who delivers a message is often more persuasive than the message itself — and that Democrats missed an opportunity to find a conservative legal scholar who was supportive of impeachment.

  • The Washington Post goes inside the president’s impeachment defense team — “not a traditional war room, but more of an anti-impeachment talking-point factory,” run out of a bunkerlike space beneath the Oval Office.

The Impeachment Briefing is also available as a newsletter. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every weeknight.

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