House Democrats are signaling they plan to include evidence gleaned from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as part of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The articles have not been finalized, as talks continue to take shape behind the scenes. Whether to include Mueller’s findings of obstruction of justice has been debated internally for weeks as some moderate Democrats only got behind an impeachment inquiry because it was narrowly focused on Ukraine.
But in a series of steps the House Judiciary Committee took this week, Democrats are now suggesting that the articles of impeachment could go beyond the scope of the Ukraine investigation that has dominated Washington for the past two months.
Moreover, Democratic sources say that Trump’s misconduct in office fits a pattern that extends beyond his dealings with Ukraine, meaning there’s a growing expectation in the House that the articles will showcase a body of evidence of what Democrats believe amount to high crimes and misdemeanors.
Democrats gave their strongest sign to date they are moving in that direction when they announced the House Judiciary Committee’s next impeachment hearing on Monday. At the hearing, lawmakers will hear presentations of evidence from two committees: Intelligence, which investigated the Ukraine scandal, and Judiciary, which took the lead on investigating the episodes of obstruction of justice detailed in the Mueller report. The committee could move to vote on articles of impeachment later next week.
Also, at their first hearing on Wednesday, House Judiciary Democrats intentionally raised the Mueller investigation and asked questions about obstruction of justice on multiple occasions, with Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, noting that Trump’s latest actions showed a “pattern of conduct” seen since his first year in office.
And the committee also listed three “impeachable offenses” on a slide inside the hearing room: abuse of power and bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.
Democratic sources say it’s not an accident that they are reintroducing the Mueller report at this crucial juncture in the impeachment proceedings.