/Start Here: Takeaways from the Judiciary Committees first impeachment hearing

Start Here: Takeaways from the Judiciary Committees first impeachment hearing


It’s Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. Let’s start here.

1. Law and the Constitution

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from four constitutional scholars on whether President Donald Trump‘s actions toward Ukraine were impeachable.

Three of the experts called by Democrats said the president should be impeached while the fourth witness, the expert brought by Republicans, said there wasn’t enough evidence of a quid pro quo.

Whereas the impeachment hearings for the House Intelligence Committee were about testimony from fact witnesses, ABC News Legal Analyst Kate Shaw tells “Start Here” today that the Judiciary Committee’s first hearing was all about the law and the Constitution.

“The real issue is, do these events add up to impeachable conduct? And I think you saw… constitutional law experts taking an affirmative position, yes, this conduct does satisfy the constitutional standard of high crimes and misdemeanors,” she says.

2. Georgia politics

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced his appointment to the state’s soon to be vacant Senate seat on Wednesday, choosing financial executive and Republican donor Kelly Loeffler over House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, a staunch Trump ally and the president’s own pick.

“This could create a potential rift between President Trump and Governor Kemp, but it’s also Kemp coming to terms with the fact that Georgia is a battleground,” ABC News’ Kendall Karson tells the podcast. “This is really Republicans saying that we need someone who can actually win back the voters that we are losing and those are specifically those female suburban voters.”

PHOTO: Businesswoman Kelly Loeffler speaks after she was introduced by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp as his pick to fill Georgias vacant U.S. Senate seat at the Georgia State Capitol, Dec. 4, 2019, in Atlanta.Elijah Nouvelage/AP
Businesswoman Kelly Loeffler speaks after she was introduced by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp as his pick to fill Georgia’s vacant U.S. Senate seat at the Georgia State Capitol, Dec. 4, 2019, in Atlanta.

3. Buffalo bishop resigns

Amid backlash over his handling of sexual abuse cases, a Catholic bishop in Buffalo, New York has resigned following a Vatican investigation.

ABC News’ David Wright reports on the allegations on today’s “Start Here” and what led to Bishop Richard Malone’s resignation, “Bishop Malone, for more than a year now has been steadfast in the face of mounting criticism over his handling of past allegations of sexual abuse by priests, saying that he wouldn’t resign. Now, suddenly, a change of heart.”

In a statement released after the Vatican announced his resignation, Malone acknowledged that his position had become untenable, but he pointed to “worldwide handling of sexual abuse” by members of the clergy, and insisted, “My decision to retire early was made freely and voluntarily” after he became aware of the conclusions in the Vatican’s report, which has not been made public.

PHOTO: St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.

Elsewhere:

‘Slashed the victim’: A Boston man was struck on the head with a snow shovel and slashed over the eye with a box cutter after allegedly enduring anti-gay slurs from the man who attacked him.

‘Unique traditions’: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and representatives from New Mexico lit the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree Wednesday, heralding the holiday season in a traditional evening ceremony that dates back more than 50 years.

‘Terrible tragedy’: An armed, active-duty sailor opened fire on three civilian employees, killing two, before he fatally shot himself at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard near Honolulu on Wednesday afternoon.

‘Scholar athlete’: A Philadelphia teenager has been charged in the fatal shooting of his twin brother, police said Wednesday.

From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

‘What went down during the Trump impeachment Judiciary Committee hearing’: The House Judiciary Committee heard from four constitutional law experts who testified about whether they believed the evidence collected in the impeachment inquiry showed that President Trump had committed an impeachable offense as defined in the Constitution.

Doff your cap:

With Christmas just 3 weeks away, Laura Landerman-Garber and her team are hard at work trying to make sure that they bring holiday smiles to U.S. troops overseas and across the nation.

“This is like my Santa’s workshop,” Landerman-Garber said of her home to ABC affiliate WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire.

For 16 years, the Hollis, New Hampshire, woman has been collecting letters — and care packages — from across the U.S. and sending them out to the military.

PHOTO: Laura Landerman-Garber has been collecting and sending holiday cards to troops in the U.S. and overseas for 16 years. This year, she is sending more than 160,000.WMUR
Laura Landerman-Garber has been collecting and sending holiday cards to troops in the U.S. and overseas for 16 years. This year, she is sending more than 160,000.

Two years ago, she set a goal of 5,000 cards and mailed them out to servicemembers aboard an aircraft carrier. In 2019, 50,000 cards were mailed out. This year, Landerman-Garber’s challenge reached all 50 states. She even got cards from some of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

On Monday, Landerman-Garber posted to her Facebook group that she had received “160,000-plus” holiday cards.

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