Impeachment hearings: White House, GOP discuss Senate trial strategy

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have made their closing arguments as they end the final impeachment hearing of the week — and perhaps the final hearing before they hand the probe over to the House Judiciary Committee.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff laid out what the committee has learned over the course of seven hearings on President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Schiff said the president believes “he is above the law” and “beyond accountability” as he pushed Ukraine to investigate Democrats and withheld military aid.

He said Democrats will have to examine “what is our duty” as they decide on next steps.

The top Republican on the panel, California Rep. Devin Nunes, called the hearings “a show trial” and said they had a pre-determined verdict.

In Thursday’s hearing, the committee heard testimony from former White House national security adviser Fiona Hill and David Holmes, the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, top White House officials and six Republican senators have met to discuss strategy for a possible Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

One Senate GOP aide says participants Thursday expressed more interest in voting as soon as they have 51 votes to acquit Trump than in setting a specific timetable.

That aide and a White House official say a trial lasting two weeks was discussed. The White House official says they discussed three options: no trial, a short one and a long one.

They say no final decisions were made.

The Democratic-run House seems likely to vote to impeach Trump in coming weeks. A Senate trial on whether to remove him from office would likely follow.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.

Continuing coverage, here.

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