(FOX 9) - Over five days of impeachment hearings, witnesses described how a quid pro quo with Ukraine came at the direction of President Donald Trump.
Now that the hearings are over, this historic impeachment case against Trump – just the fourth in U.S. history – faces an unclear timeline going forward. Remember, it’s a political, not a legal, proceeding. Here’s how things could happen:
A break: The U.S. House is out until Dec. 3 for the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s unlikely much will happen publicly between now and then.
First week of December: The House Intelligence committee, which handled the five days of impeachment hearings, could schedule additional hearings. Or it could refer the case to the House Judiciary committee. Judiciary could hold its own hearings or begin to write articles of impeachment.
• Bolton’s role: Former National Security Aide Fiona Hill testified Thursday that former National Security Adviser John Bolton considered the quid pro quo with Ukraine a “drug deal.” Bolton has so far refused to testify, but issued a series of cryptic tweets Friday morning, including, “for the backstory, stay tuned…” Democrats may try to get Bolton to testify.
• Articles of impeachment: Democrats appear to be setting up bribery as the first article, citing the alleged quid pro quo. Other potential articles: an abuse of power (over alleged witness intimidation) and obstruction of justice (blocking White House officials from testifying, refusing to turn over material).
Rest of December: Democrats’ timeline is uncertain. After drafting its articles of impeachment, the House Judiciary committee will send them to the full House for a vote. It’s a tight timeline, but the House impeachment vote could happen around Christmas.
January: A late December vote in the House would set the stage for a U.S. Senate trial in January.
• How the trial works: Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial, but Republicans – who control the Senate – have broad latitude over the proceedings. Senators serve as jurors. House Democrats name lawmakers to act as prosecutors, while Trump’s legal team is the defense.
• Potential new witnesses: Trump and Republicans have said they want several witnesses who weren’t called in the House hearings to be called as part of the trial in the GOP-controlled Senate. Among them: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, whose activity on the board of a Ukrainian gas company has come under scrutiny, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
• Political implications: A full Senate trial would pull several Democratic U.S. senators who are running for president off the campaign trail at a critical time. U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker would all have to prepare to serve as jurors instead of shaking hands in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.