For only the fourth time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives has started a presidential impeachment inquiry. House committees are trying to determine if President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by asking a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.
A quick summary of the latest news:
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
—The House will take a vote this week to formalize Democrats’ impeachment inquiry amid Trump’s criticism that the probe is “illegitimate.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the step is being taken “to eliminate any doubt” about the process as the administration tries to block witnesses and withhold documents.
—A former national security official defied a House subpoena Monday, escalating a standoff between Congress and the White House over who will testify in the impeachment inquiry.
—The president and his GOP allies have repeatedly dismissed impeachment proceedings as an illegitimate scam. A federal judge ruled Friday it is not. The Associated Press issues a fact check on Syria and impeachment.
Two National Security Council staff members, Alexander Vindman and Tim Morrison, are scheduled to appear this week and would be the first White House employees to testify in the inquiry. Morrison’s attorney, Barbara Van Gelder, said in an email Monday that if Morrison is subpoenaed, he will appear.
NUMBERS THAT MATTER
If the House votes Thursday to set the procedures for the Trump impeachment inquiry, it will likely pass. The move would neutralize a Republican talking point that the inquiry is illegitimate because the House has not voted to authorize it.
Democrats have 234 members and need only 217 for a majority. So far, 228 have told the AP that they support the impeachment inquiry. Republican-turned-independent Justin Amash of Michigan has also said he supports the probe.
See where the surveyed members stand with this online tool:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said people like former national security official Charles Kupperman, who defied a subpoena Monday to testify at the House impeachment inquiry, “need to do their duty and show up.” He suggested Kupperman could be cited for contempt.
House Republicans continued to slam the probe, telling reporters that the closed-door testimony so far has turned up no direct evidence of an impeachable crime by Trump:
The basics of the impeachment process are explained in under two minutes in this AP-produced animated video:
SOURCE: The Associated Press