23:45 GMT07 April 2020
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    On Wednesday, the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee held its first public hearing of the impeachment proceedings into Donald Trump. The three witnesses called by the Democrats said they believe Trump committed impeachable offences in the Ukraine scandal; the Republicans' witness said Democrats had failed to collect sufficient evidence.

    US President Donald Trump has unleashed a fresh rant against the Democrats, defiantly challenging them to impeach him now.

    “The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House,” he tweeted. "They have no impeachment case and are demeaning our country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy.”

    “Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our country can get back to business.”

    President Trump was referring to Day 1 of his impeachment hearings by the House Judiciary Committee. Four constitutional law experts testified before the panel on Wednesday, three picked by Democrats and one by Republicans.

    The three experts called by Democrats described Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to open an investigation into the family of 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden as an impeachable offence.

    “If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” said witness Michael Gerhardt, a law professor with the University of North Carolina. “If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning and, along with that, our constitution’s carefully crafted safeguards against the establishment of a king on American soil.”

    The George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, the only witness called by Republicans, argued that he didn't see any proof that Donald Trump broke a specific law related to the Ukraine affair, and that the president therefore should not be impeached.

    US House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said in his closing statement that Trump had committed impeachable offences on abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and undermining the constitution and national security.

    With the Judiciary panel already considering the articles of impeachment, a full House vote on whether Trump should be removed from office could happen before Christmas. If the House votes to impeach (which is the most likely scenario), the Senate, currently controlled by Republicans, will then hold a trial on those articles of impeachment.

    Tags:
    impeachment, Ukraine, United States, Donald Trump
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