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By: Emily Birnbaum of the Hill

House lawmakers tasked with investigating the country's largest tech companies on Tuesday said they have received an initial round of documents from Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google's parent company Alphabet to aid their probe.

The announcement came on Oct. 15, the deadline lawmakers had set to receive the slew of documents they requested from the companies last month.

"We have received initial submissions from Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook as part of our investigation," the lawmakers – including the top Democrat and Republican on the House Judiciary Committee – said in the statement.

The statement came from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) as well as the leaders of the panel's antitrust subcommittee, Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).

"The committee will review all of the information received from the companies in order to help inform next steps," they said. "We will hold additional hearings, discussions and roundtables as our investigation continues."

The House Judiciary Committee also requested documents from more than 80 other companies as part of its probe into the digital marketplace, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill. The committee has also asked for those documents by this week.

Over the summer, the Judiciary Committee – which has jurisdiction over antitrust issues – announced a formal investigation into the power of Big Tech. The probe is focusing on whether the dominant technology firms unfairly wield their power to quash competitors and take advantage of users, who offer up reams of personal information in exchange for free services.

The committee has held several hearings about the issue over the past few months, hauling in representatives from companies including Facebook, Google and Apple. The companies have all denied that they function as monopolies or take advantage of their powerful market position in areas including social media and digital advertising.

In September, the leaders of the antitrust probe sent letters to Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon requesting an enormous tranche of internal communications and records regarding the use of their market dominance.

The panel requested communications among each company’s executives, records that were handed over in past antitrust investigation and internal documents detailing their organizational structures.

As of Tuesday, the companies had only begun to offer some of the documents that the committee has requested.

Democrats have left open the possibility that they would subpoena the companies if they do not answer the committee's requests in a timely or forthcoming manner, though Republicans on the panel have balked at the possibility.

Last month, after a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Nadler's personal office, Cicilline – the head of the antitrust subcommittee and leader of the investigation – told reporters that the tech executive has agreed to cooperate with the probe.

"I look forward to his cooperation," Cicilline said in September, noting the investigation will include "document requests, requests for information, participation in a number of different ways."

By: Diane Bartz of Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The leaders of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee said late on Tuesday that they had begun receiving data from Facebook, Alphabet’s Google, Amazon and Apple as part of their probe into the companies’ potential breaches of antitrust law.

The probe is one of several at the federal, state and congressional level aimed at determining if the companies use their considerable clout in the online market illegally to hurt rivals or otherwise break competition law.

“We have received initial submissions from Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook as part of our investigation. While we do not yet have all of the information we requested, we expect that all four companies will provide the information in short order,” the committee’s leaders said in a joint statement.

“We look forward to their continued compliance with the committee’s investigation,” they said in the statement.

The statement was from Representatives Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee; Doug Collins, the top Republican on the committee; David Cicilline, chair of the antitrust subcommittee and Jim Sensenbrenner, the top Republican on the antitrust subcommittee.

“We will hold additional hearings, discussions and roundtables as our investigation continues,” the statement said.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Google (GOOGL.O) declined to comment, while Inc (AMZN.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By: Andrew Taylor of the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some have regrets. A few can’t talk about it. Others would do it all again.

But the Republicans who carried out President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998 are unanimous in urging caution and restraint as Congress embarks on yet another impeachment struggle, this time over accusations that President Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son.

The impeachment veterans of two decades ago were thrust into a seismic political event that was sober and circus-like at the same time.

So began a new, angry chapter of American politics that strained Washington institutions that were stronger then than now.

Clinton was impeached for lying to a grand jury about his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky but was acquitted by the Senate.

Today, those Clinton impeachment Republicans are urging a pause in the tribalism of the Trump era.

“You’ve got a race to judgment, people apparently have already made up their minds, and I don’t think there’s a lot of openness about this. And I think there should be,” said former Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., one of 14 House impeachment managers who presented the case against Clinton to the Senate.

“People ought to wait before they make judgment on whether or not there’s even an impeachable offense out here to be considered until all the facts are on the table,” he added. “That’s not been the case for a number of congressmen on both sides of the aisle that I can see.”

The managers during Clinton’s impeachment were all solidly conservative white men. Most are out of politics. A few are judges. Some do some lobbying, while others have simply retired. The chairman, Henry Hyde of Illinois, died in 2007.

The best-known is Lindsey Graham, a former Air Force prosecutor who was among those most aggressively gunning for Clinton. In 1999, speaking from the well of the Senate, the South Carolina congressman made the case: “Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

Now a senator, Graham seems to be part of the defense rather than the prosecution

“I have zero problems with this phone call” with Zelenskiy, Graham said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”

The most senior of two Clinton prosecutor remaining in the House is Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a 41-year veteran of Congress who is retiring at the end of next year. He insists charges that Trump abused his office are nowhere near being proven and reminded that even the GOP-controlled House didn’t approve an abuse of office charge against Clinton.

Clinton impeachment manager Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, wasn’t eager to take a walk down memory lane when encountered in the Capitol last week, though he predicted any possible impeachment would wind up in a Senate acquittal.

In 1998, independent counsel Ken Starr offered up two vanloads of testimony and evidence, effectively dropping the full case for impeachment in Congress’ lap.

“I think that Starr’s report, which said that the president may have committed impeachable offenses, obligated the Judiciary Committee and the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry to see if that was the case,” Sensenbrenner said in an interview. Congress had removed judges in comparable perjury cases, he said.

History is calling again, this time with accusations that Trump abused his power to help his political fortunes.

Sensenbrenner in July aggressively questioned special counsel Robert Mueller, whose report didn’t find criminal wrongdoing by the president in Russia’s 2016 election interference but spelled out 10 instances in which Trump may have obstructed the probe. Mueller didn’t indict Trump, citing Justice Department guidelines against charging a sitting president. Nor did he say whether impeachment could be a remedy.

“You didn’t use the words ‘impeachable conduct’ like Starr did,” Sensenbrenner told Mueller. “Even the president is innocent until proven guilty.” Mueller said his mandate didn’t include offering opinions on other remedies like impeachment.

McCollum, who left Congress to lose a 2000 Senate campaign but staged a political comeback as Florida’s attorney general, cautions that lots of facts, testimony and evidence have yet to surface. The investigation into Trump’s festering scandal is in its opening stages.

“There are really a lot more questions than there are answers,” McCollum said, adding that so far he sees “just a really weak case.”

Democrats say they already have their “smoking gun,” having obtained a rough transcript of Trump’s call with Zelenskiy, and they accuse Republicans of downplaying a clear-cut abuse of presidential power.

Former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat who served in the House from 1965 to 1999 during both the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon and the impeachment of Clinton, has said he’d vote to indict and convict Trump if he were in Congress. Hamilton said he’s “deeply concerned” that more Republicans have not publicly favored impeachment proceedings against Trump or even spoken out against his actions with Russia and Ukraine.

Trump’s call was “certainly egregious conduct” because it was for personal gain, Hamilton said.

“If his conduct is acceptable, then we have lowered the bar on what the office and public trust really means,” Hamilton said. “If we legitimize the kind of behavior that he has exhibited, then our political system is going to be greatly reduced.”

Aside from Graham and Sensenbrenner, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison is the only one of the 1998 impeachment managers remaining in political office. Hutchison was reelected by a landslide last year.

“The facts have to be developed,” Hutchinson told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette on Saturday, in little-noticed remarks that amount to apostasy in today’s GOP. “The allegations raised should be taken seriously.”

Three of the other former managers are now on the bench. Former Rep. Ed Bryant, R-Tenn., is a federal district court judge, while Charles Canady, R-Fla., and James Rogan, R-Calif., serve on state courts.

Rogan cheerfully responded to an email seeking an interview but said he couldn’t comment.

“I would like to help you, but I fear I am rather hamstrung by our Canons of ethics,” Rogan said. “Not only am I precluded from discussing anything related to the current situation, I am precluded from saying anything that might be interpreted that way (such as giving advice).”

Then there’s former Rep. Bob Inglis, a Republican from South Carolina who wasn’t an impeachment manager but forced a Judiciary Committee discussion on easily the most vulgar accusation levied against Clinton for his conduct. He seemed almost sheepish when encountered in the Capitol recently.

“We made a mistake” impeaching Clinton, Inglis said, adding that the substance of the matter “wasn’t so very consequential.”

“I can say that now, in retrospect — I didn’t think that at the time — but I think that was because I was probably sort of blinded by my dislike of President Clinton, you know, and wanting to stop him,” Inglis said. “So there may be some similarities there in this scenario.”

“If somebody’s the president of the United States and they do something that’s bad enough, then even their own followers are generally going to turn on them,” McCollum said. “And that’s not happened yet. It happened with Nixon. That did not happen with Clinton and that does not appear to me to be likely to be happening with Trump _ at least on the facts that are out there right now.”

By: Kerry Picket of the Washington Examiner

The three members of Congress still in office who were among the 13 House managers during the Clinton impeachment said they plan to use their experience to protect the president.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who gave the opening statement on the House floor in 1998 during the hearing and is retiring after serving 20 terms, told Fox 6, “I’m going to use that institutional memory basically to say they’re wasting the taxpayers' time. There’s no way the Senate is going to kick Donald Trump out of office.”

“If they are dumb enough to start going down the road of impeachment, I will be very active in dealing with that issue,” the Wisconsin Republican said.

Rep. Steve Chabot, who has sat on the House Judiciary Committee for 23 years, released a blog post nearly two weeks ago arguing the Democrats were not following appropriate procedures of the House to move forward on impeachment of the president.

"The Democrats on the committee decided to pass a resolution, laying out the procedures that would be followed for an impeachment investigation. But wait a minute. This is not the way it’s supposed to be done," the Ohio Republican said, referring to a House Judiciary Committee hearing this month.

"The Dems have decided to throw out 200 years of precedent on impeachment. The first step is supposed to be for the House of Representatives to authorize the Judiciary Committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry. But they don’t have the votes. So they didn’t do it. They just went straight to the committee and told them to look busy on impeachment, by passing stuff that sounds like impeachment, but really isn’t," he wrote.

Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested House Republicans focus on the legitimacy of the impeachment inquiry itself, saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not have the power to launch an impeachment inquiry without a full House vote.

"One month before the 1998 election, we had a vote in the House of Representatives where 31 Democrats voted with all the Republicans to open an inquiry into the impeachment of President Clinton. He was eventually denied a law license for five years and fined by the court because of his conduct. But the one thing I do believe America deserves is for every member of the House to agree to vote on whether or not they agree there should be an inquiry of impeachment based on this transcript," the South Carolina Republican said in a Fox News interview.

"I don't think she has the power to say we're opening an impeachment inquiry by herself," he said. "I think every member of the House should do what we did in 1998: Vote."

By: Calvin Freiburger of Life Site

September 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, appeared on EWTN’s World Over with Raymond Arroyo on Thursday to discuss House Democrats’ latest calls to impeach Donald Trump, arguing the president’s opponents were abusing procedure to keep the White House from mounting a proper defense against a false scandal.

For the past week, the political news cycle has been dominated by claims that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help investigate allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden, the current frontrunner to run against Trump in 2020, pressured the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor that had been investigating his son Hunter’s business dealings in the country.

Biden openly bragged on video last year about successfully threatening to cancel a billion-dollar loan guarantee if the prosecutor in question, Viktor Shokin, was not fired. Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine's former Foreign Minister, says Shokin was fired as part of a crackdown on “prosecutor offices which were systemically corrupt” (a defense disputed by documents from the legal team defending Hunter Biden’s company, according to reporter John Solomon).

On Wednesday, the White House released a rough transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. It shows Zelensky referencing U.S. defense support for Ukraine, to which Trump says, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” and asks for assistance investigating Crowdstrike, the cybersecurity contractor the Democrat National Committee contracted to investigate its hacked emails in 2016 (National Review’s David French, a stridently anti-Trump attorney, concedes this portion of the conversation is “entirely proper”). 

Zelensky then requests that Rudy Giuliani, former New York City Mayor and now one of Trump’s personal attorneys, travel to Ukraine and meet with him. Trump responds by praising Giuliani, then adds, “the other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.”

Trump’s defenders argue it’s legitimate for world leaders to request assistance in rooting out a previous administration’s potential corruption; his opponents claim it was at the very least inappropriate given Trump and Biden’s political rivalry, and a serious abuse of power if Trump made congressionally-authorized foreign aid a condition of compliance.

The U.S. did place a temporary hold on the aid, but the Ukrainians didn’t know that until a month after the phone call, didn’t perceive Trump’s request as threatening the aid, and reportedly attributed the delay to legitimate U.S. concerns about the proposed sale of a Ukrainian missile/jet engine factory to China.

Sensenbrenner told EWTN’s Arroyo that the controversy was “just another hit job on a president that (Democrats) have done nothing but hate since the moment the election results were announced in November of 2016.”

“All of us have asked friends or acquaintances to do them a favor,” he said. There's not a quid pro quo involved in that, it's just saying ‘please look into this.’ Now what happened is that Biden was in the Ukraine asking that the prosecutor that was investigating (his) son’s company for corruption be fired. Now if this was done in the United States, that's a clear case of obstruction of justice, but I guess because it was done in the Ukraine it's not.”

Sensenbrenner also accused Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, of having “completely ignored the procedural safeguards that we used in the Clinton impeachment 20 years ago” by holding hearings in which Trump “has not been able to have witnesses come” and “present a defense.”

As for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, Sensenbrenner said “she’s refused to put on the floor a motion to have a formal impeachment inquiry, which Republicans did against Clinton 20 years ago and which Democrats did against Nixon in 1974. Once again, the Speaker's mouth has gone into third gear before her mind started up.”

On Thursday, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, excoriated “Democrats, their media mouthpieces, and a cabal of leakers” for “ginning up a fake story, with no regard to the monumental damage they’re causing to our public institutions and to trust in government.” 

He also noted that the original complaint that ignited the scandal largely consisted of things the whistleblower claimed to have heard secondhand, and that multiple elected Democrats and Democrat National Committee officials had themselves asked the Ukrainian government for politically-damaging information about Trump.

The Daily Wire noted that some left-wing activists are trying to make an issue out of Trump’s comment that Vice President Mike Pence “had a couple of conversations also” with Ukrainian officials, even attempting to get the hashtag #PresidentPelosi trending based on the theoretical scenario of impeaching both Trump and Pence, in which case the Speaker of the House would be next in the presidential line of succession.

By: Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

WAUWATOSA - Jim Sensenbrenner represents a very Republican seat in Congress.  

But when he held a town hall meeting in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa earlier this month, he was visiting the most “anti-Trump” community in his district.  

The result was a snapshot of our polarized times amid an exploding uproar over the presidency. The senior lawmaker in his final term met with a mix of pats on the back for his decades of service, respectful pushback on his politics, and exasperated epithets for his support of Donald Trump.  

One Democrat in the audience complained that Trump “sees himself as above the law.”

“When will you be ready to say you’ve seen enough, and he has to go?” asked Chris Rockwood, who made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Sensenbrenner in 2014.  

“I’m not ready to say that. I support him in the 2020 election,” said the 76-year-old Republican, adding moments later:

“I like to spend my time on things that can … accomplish something. … Now Donald Trump has a 94% approval rating among Republicans. What you’re suggesting I do is waste my time (opposing Trump) so you can quote me in a general election campaign,” Sensenbrenner said. “I am not going to do that, Chris.”

That exchange in Wauwatosa took place a few days before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry, records of a phone call confirmed that Trump asked the leader of Ukraine to investigate his political opponent Joe Biden, and the government released the whistleblower complaint that triggered the Ukraine controversy that has consumed Washington.

Sensenbrenner has defended the president since then, as he did at his Sept. 21 Wauwatosa town hall, where he argued that Trump didn’t offer a “quid pro quo” to Ukraine for the information he wanted and therefore “did nothing wrong.”

Two listeners disliked his answers on Ukraine so much they walked out. One muttered “bulls***t” as she left. A man who hadn’t been called on interrupted Sensenbrenner — a huge no-no for the procedurally strict congressman — and yelled, “You’re not answering (the) question!”    

Sensenbrenner, who precedes every town hall by reciting lengthy rules of decorum, said: “You heard what the rules are. Now either sit down or please leave the room.”

When the man said, “I’ll do neither,” he was rebuked by another member of the audience for speaking out of turn. Sensenbrenner threatened to gavel the meeting to a close.

“Fine. I’ll leave, Jim, but answer (the) question (that was) asked, not the one you hear in your head!” he said, muttering “a**hole” as he left. Sensenbrenner suggested he pick up a copy of “Miss Manners” on his way out.  

Though it teetered a bit, the Wauwatosa town hall didn't degenerate into a full-blown partisan shouting match.  

In fact, some of Sensenbrenner’s Democratic constituents made a point of prefacing their policy disagreements with respectful nods to his long tenure and the regular listening sessions he holds.  Sensenbrenner typically invites local state legislators to these events. In this case, it was Democrat Robyn Vining, which lent a bipartisan aura to the meeting.     

Was the town hall in Tosa more remarkable for its outbreaks of tension or its fragile civility?

Or just the fact that it happened at all?

Fewer and fewer members of Congress conduct town halls. And the trend toward increasingly one-sided districts makes it that much more unlikely that lawmakers will ever field questions from a room full of people who disagree with them.           

But Wauwatosa voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton by 22 points in 2016, while Sensenbrenner’s district overall voted for Trump by 20 points.   

Asked in an interview about his most contentious town halls, Sensenbrenner said, “I’ve gaveled things closed because of a near riot breaking out a couple of times — two in this room.” He was referring to the Wauwatosa Public Library. (One of those stormy meetings occurred during the recall fight over former GOP Gov. Scott Walker).

A town hall meeting just a few days before Wauwatosa’s had ended prematurely, even though it was on friendly Republican turf in the town of Delafield.

“Thank you for all of your service. Thank you also for so many town hall meetings,” said Phyllis Warden of Delafield. “I’m sorry that with your retirement, the legislative consciousness you have, that historical perspective, is going to be lost to all of us.”

One constituent asked Sensenbrenner how people can fight the “resistance (Democrats) are giving our president.”

Sensenbrenner echoed his complaint and said of Trump: “I agree with probably 90% of what he has done. I probably agree with about 30% of the way he said it. (But) everybody knew what his personality was in 2016, and they voted for him anyhow.”

Then the congressman called on a man named Jerry Lee, who was not a Republican and who complained that the United States wasn’t a republic because its representatives didn’t listen to the people.

Sensenbrenner interjected, “You elect us!” and asked him, “If you don’t like this (system), what’s better?”

Lee replied that gerrymandering made Congress undemocratic.

“So, don’t give me that crap!” said Lee, and “Don’t interrupt me. I didn’t finish.”

Sensenbrenner said: “I won’t give you any more. I am going to adjourn this portion of the meeting. I don’t like to be cussed at, at these meetings.”

Down came the gavel in Delafield.

Sensenbrenner told a reporter he wished more of his colleagues held in-person listening sessions in their districts as opposed to telephone town halls where, “like talk radio, a call screener decides who gets to talk to the congressman.”

He plans to keep holding them until he retires in January 2021 after 42 years in the House.  

“I don’t think I should be running away from my constituents during the last 15 months,” he said.

His town hall in Wauwatosa drew Republicans as well as Democrats. Two constituents thanked him for supporting gun rights, while others urged him to support restrictions like an assault weapons ban.

While guns and climate change sparked debate, Trump was easily the most divisive topic. A woman thanked Sensenbrenner for supporting Trump. A man told him that Trump was shredding values that Sensenbrenner extols such as civility and rule of law.

“When are you going to publicly stand up to a very unfit person?” said the constituent, Bob Kinosian.

Sensenbrenner said he opposed Trump on tariffs and his use of an emergency declaration to fund the border wall, but accused Democrats of blanket intransigence, calling it “disgusting.”  

“You’ve had a very long and distinguished career … we all appreciate you continue to hold these town hall meetings,” said Rockwood, the Wauwatosa man who ran against Sensenbrenner five years ago.  

But during a long back-and-forth, Rockwood told Sensenbrenner, “You and your fellow Republicans have traded your party’s conscience for two Supreme Court justices and a tax cut,” and urged him and other party elders to recruit a GOP challenger against Trump.   

The two clashed in a fairly civil fashion over the Ukraine controversy and Democratic oversight of the president, which was when two audience members fuming over Sensenbrenner’s answers walked out.

Rockwood, a lifelong Democrat who was wearing a button supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president, expressed mixed feelings about his Republican representative in an interview afterward.   

“I make a point of disagreeing without being disagreeable (with Sensenbrenner) … but we just can’t get a good answer out of him,” said Rockwood.  

“My fear is that his successor will be even worse. … He’s not all bad on the issues. And he’s come from an era when bipartisanship existed. Now I wish he’d be more upset about the demise of that era rather than just following in line with Republican leadership,” he said.  

There was one thing the Democrats and Republicans interviewed at the town hall meetings in Delafield and Wauwatosa agreed on — that they would like to see whoever succeeds Sensenbrenner maintain the tradition of taking live questions, in person, from constituents at open meetings in communities across the district.

If it's not too much to ask.

By: Chad Pergram of FOX News

The House of Representatives is currently on a two-week recess for the Jewish holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, but that doesn't mean the wheels of its impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump won’t churn on Capitol Hill and in Congressional districts.

The House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees will continue to toil behind the scenes investigating and, eventually, crafting actual articles of impeachment. More on that in a moment.

On Friday afternoon, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., issued a subpoena demanding a slew of Ukraine-related documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by Oct. 4. They also scheduled depositions with five State Department officials between Oct. 2 and Oct. 10.

In a letter to colleagues, Schiff also confirmed that the intelligence committee will hold a closed briefing with intelligence community Inspector General Mike Atkinson on Oct. 4. Lawmakers also want to hear from President Trump’s attorney Rudolph Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr. Sources tell Fox the intelligence community whistleblower is putting together a legal team and may not be heard from for a few weeks.

“I do think the Attorney General has gone rogue,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said Friday. “He has for a long time now. And since he was mentioned in all of this, it’s curious that he would be making decisions about how a complaint would be handled."

There has long been tension between the administration and the Democratic House over providing witnesses and documents on a host of subjects, ranging from testimony by former White House Counsel Don McGahn during the Mueller probe to information regarding the census.

The subpoenas are part of a two-pronged strategy by Democrats. Get the information to help tailor the articles of impeachment, or convert a refusal to comply into an impeachment article itself.

House Democrats say the recess period is important to educate the public about the impeachment process and to gin up support for it

“Congress ought to be talking to their constituents and gaining their perspective on that and why they think this is such an important facet of this ongoing investigation,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “I think consideration of the public's viewpoint is critically important.”

“We are not going to be able to engage the American people here [in Washington],” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. “This is what impacts them the most..we have to go home and educate them.”

Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., flipped his district from red to blue in 2018. Phillips says he’s seen “a distinct change from my constituents over the last number of months and a growing call for action” against the president. Phillips says he’ll use the break “to educate those in our districts about how this process works.”

Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., is a former high school government teacher.

“One of the things I did this week was I put a civics one on one lesson on my social media. This is the impeachment process. So I kind of went right back into teacher mode. And I want people to understand that this is the process,” said Hayes. “I plan to do a lot of civics this week.”

Keep an eye on the 31 House districts currently held by Democrats which President Trump won in 2016. A lot of these members have town hall meetings planned over the recess. Pay particular attention to some of the forums conducted by Reps. Kendra Horn, D-Okla., Haley Stevens D-Mich., Max Rose, D-N.Y., Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., and Ben McAdams D-Utah.

So, what might the articles of impeachment against Trump actually look like?

It is unlikely the House will actually just craft a solitary article of impeachment. Various Democrats would like to impeach President Trump for different reasons. There’s the Ukraine matter. Some may prefer to tackle emoluments. Cummings may cite obstruction of Congress as his panel struggles to get documents and testimony from the administration. Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, has wanted to impeach Mr. Trump over “moral fitness,” citing the President’s conduct when it comes to the treatment of minorities and his 2017 remarks about Charlottesville. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., may target the President’s stonewalling of Congress for his tax returns.

The House Judiciary Committee crafted five articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon in 1974. The panel approved three of the five: obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress. The committee did not adopt articles of impeachment related to Nixon’s campaign to bomb Cambodia and his failure to pay taxes. Nixon resigned before the full House could consider the articles.

In 1998, the Judiciary Committee adopted four articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton However, the full House only approved two of the four: lying to a grand jury and obstruction of justice. The House rejected an additional article of lying to a grand jury and an article centered on "abuse of power."

If the full House approves any single article of impeachment, Trump is considered “impeached.”

As always, it's about math. The current House breakdown is 235 Democrats, 199 Republicans, and one independent: Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich. To pass anything in the House, 218 yeas are needed. That means Democrats can only lose 17 votes from their side and still have enough to pass an article of impeachment. Amash has endorsed impeachment, so let’s say the magic number is actually 16. If the president is to be impeached, that means Democrats could have 15 of their own voting for articles of impeachment while representing a district which Trump carried in 2016.

A House floor vote to impeach the President is kind of like an indictment, codified in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. If the House votes to impeach, Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution sends the article(s) to the Senate for a trial presided over by Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts. (Note Roberts’ proper title. This is one of the reasons the Chief Justice is “of the United States,” and not just the “Supreme Court.”)

The House then sends over “impeachment managers” to present the House’s case to the Senate. These are actual House members who essentially serve as “prosecutors.” The remaining impeachment managers from President Clinton’s 1999 Senate trial are Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was in the House at the time, along with Reps. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, and Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

If the Senate votes to “convict” the impeached figure, they are evicted from office. A two-thirds (67) vote is required for a Senate conviction.

There have only been 19 impeachments in House history. But the Senate has only voted to remove eight persons from office.

By: Aaron Colen of The Blaze

A former police officer told Congress that she would not comply if a law was enacted banning assault weapons, and she implored Congress not to turn millions of legal gun owners into criminals, according to Fox News.

Dianna Muller, who served with the Tulsa Police Department in Oklahoma for 22 years before founding the gun advocacy group the DC Project, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday in opposition to legislation infringing on Second Amendment rights.

"Please don't legislate the 150 million people just like me into being criminals. It has happened. You've already done it," Muller said. "I was a bump stock owner, and I had to make a decision: do I become a felon, or do I comply?"

Regarding any potential assault weapons ban, Muller drew the line: "I will not comply."

GOP Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) highlighted the imprecise nature of the term "assault weapons" and the way the use of such a term bans certain weapons illogically.

Sensenbrenner asked a panel of witnesses whether a hunting rifle should be banned if it was a semiautomatic weapon.

Heritage Foundation senior legal policy analyst Amy Swearer replied by pointing out that there are no mechanical or functional differences between semiautomatic hunting rifles and so-called assault weapons that would be banned.

Swearer also used a personal anecdote to defend the use of AR-15s for home defense, saying her mother struggled to accurately fire a handgun and was able to be more effective at the gun range with an AR-15.

President Donald Trump has, on a somewhat inconsistent basis, signaled a willingness to discuss gun control legislation with Democrats, including red flag laws and expanded background checks.

However, those talks have taken a negative turn starting with Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke declared "hell yes" he wants to take AR-15s and AK-47s off the streets. Any prospect of legislative progress was further damaged by Democrats' most recent push to impeach President Trump for his conversations with Ukraine about investigating Joe and Hunter Biden.

By: Bret Lemoine of the Associated Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump repeatedly pushed Ukraine's president to "look into" Democratic rival Joe Biden, according to a rough transcript of a summer phone call that is now at the center of Democrats' impeachment probe into President Trump. President Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to work with Attorney General William Barr and Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer. At one point in the conversation, President Trump said, "I would like for you to do us a favor."

The president's words set the parameters for the debate to come — just the fourth impeachment investigation of an American president in the nation's history. The initial response highlighted the deep divide between the two parties: Democrats said the call amounted to a "shakedown" of a foreign leader, while President Trump — backed by the vast majority of Republicans — dismissed it as a "nothing call."

The call is one part of a whistleblower complaint on the president's activities. After being stymied by the administration, lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees will get their first look at the complaint on Wednesday. Congress is also seeking an in-person interview with the whistleblower, who remains anonymous.

President Trump spent the day meeting with world leaders at the United Nations, a remarkable split screen even for the turbulence of the President Trump era. On his schedule: a meeting with Zelenskiy.

In light-hearted appearance before reporters, Zelenskiy said he didn't want to get involved in American elections, but added, "Nobody pushed me." President Trump chimed in, "In other words, no pressure."

The next steps in the impeachment inquiry were still developing a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched the probe. Moderate Democrats, including some from districts where President Trump remains popular, urged the speaker to keep the inquiry to Ukraine and not expand into other issues Congress had already been investigating. Pelosi announced the impeachment probe on Tuesday after months of resistance to a process she has warned would be divisive for the country and risky for her party. But after viewing the transcript on Wednesday, Pelosi declared: Congress must act.

Two Wisconsin men know firsthand how the impeachment process works. Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Barrett were members of Congress when President Bill Clinton was impeached in the House. Both men admitted it's a politically-charged issue.

Impeachment is rare, but both had front-row seats in 1998.

"It is an extended process," said Barrett. "I did serve on the Judiciary Committee when President Clinton was impeached. That literally took months."

Now the mayor of Milwaukee, Barrett said Wednesday, Sept. 25 he was worried about timing.

"You have an election coming up in 13 ½ months," said Barrett. "Is there time there?"

Alongside Barrett at the time was Sensenbrenner, who gave the opening statement during the hearing. With partisan politics at a fever pitch, Sensenbrenner said Wednesday he believes the impeachment talks will fizzle out.

"I'm going to use that institutional memory to say they are wasting the taxpayers' time," said Sensenbrenner. "There is absolutely no way the Senate is going to kick Donald Trump out of office."

Sensenbrenner on Sept. 4 announced his retirement after 40 years in office. He told FOX6 he planned to work until January 2021 to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.

"If they are dumb enough to go down the road of impeachment, I will be very active in dealing with that issue," said Sensenbrenner.

The Senate would have to take up impeachment in a trial.

Only two presidents have been impeached -- President Bill Clinton and President Andrew Johnson. Both stayed in office after Senate trials failed.

By: Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

WASHINGTON - The release Wednesday of a written account of the phone call between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine drew wildly different interpretations by defenders and critics of Trump. 

Consider the reactions of several Wisconsin lawmakers to the substance of the phone call, in which Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with U.S. Attorney General William Barr to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s potential challenger in the 2020 election. 

“Now we know President Trump solicited interference from Ukraine in our 2020 election,” Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin said on Twitter Wednesday after the release of a written summary record of the call by U.S. government note-takers. 

“This is a threat to our national security and democracy. By law, the Trump (administration) needs to provide the whistleblower complaint & Inspector General report to Congress. That needs to happen now,” said Baldwin, who voiced her support for the first time Tuesday of an impeachment inquiry by the U.S. House.

Meanwhile, veteran GOP lawmaker Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin said the substance of the phone call showed there wasn’t anything damning about Trump’s conversation.

 “This is really nothing,” Sensenbrenner said in an interview Wednesday.

The senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee said that “Democrats put the cart before the horse” when they announced Tuesday they were launching an impeachment inquiry before seeing the written notes of the phone call.

He rejected the idea that the call shows any “quid pro quo,” meaning evidence that Trump was asking Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son in exchange for U.S. aid and support.

“There was nothing related to military aid (in the call) except the fact that the U.S. is doing its share and Germany is not,” Sensenbrenner said.  

Trump had placed U.S. aid to Ukraine on hold in the days prior to the phone call.

Asked if it troubled him that the U.S. president was asking a foreign leader to investigate his own potential opponent in the 2020 election, Sensenbrenner said Trump “is doing his job” by looking into possible corruption on the part of an American citizen, even if it’s his political opponent.

“If I had firsthand evidence my opponent in an election committed a federal crime, (then) by not reporting it to the FBI, I would have committed a crime myself. Here the president wanted to get to bottom of it,” said Sensenbrenner, referring to the unsubstantiated assertion that as vice president, Biden helped secure the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to prevent an investigation affecting Biden’s son, Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.   

Sensenbrenner said the controversy over Trump’s phone call is “made up by people who have been spending two and half years trying to get Trump. … This transcript to me tells me that this is not a legal issue against Trump. This is a political issue, and Democrats are using their majority in the House of Representatives in order to try to influence an election.”

Interviewed Wednesday, House Democrat Mark Pocan of Wisconsin said Trump’s defenders are “dizzy with spin.”

The written account of the phone call is “confirmation of the president’s confession that he asked the leader of another government to essentially get information on a political opponent’s family,” he said.  

Pocan said the key document in his mind is not the account of the phone call but the report of the intelligence whistleblower whose complaint about the president ultimately pushed the story into the public domain, a report sent to the intelligence committees on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.   

But the Democratic lawmaker said the essential element of a “quid pro quo” was clear in the nature and context of Trump's conversation with Zelensky and the White House decision prior to the call to withhold military aid to Ukraine — even if Trump didn’t explicitly tie his request for an investigation to the threat of withholding aid. 

“No one would actually expect anyone to say (in a conversation) things like ‘it’s a quid pro quo.’ That would be ridiculous. You only read that in a bad novel,” Pocan said. "A few days prior (to the call) he's holding the funding up, and asking for a favor" in the call involving investigations of Democrats.

Pocan said accusations about Biden’s involvement in Ukraine were “ridiculous” and that the president and his supporters were “desperate to try to change the subject.”  

Fellow House Democrat Gwen Moore said in a statement: “The memo confirms that Trump solicited a foreign leader to advance his electoral chances. This is a blatant disregard for the rule of law. But the president is not above the law.”

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday that "it seemed like a pretty appropriate call from my standpoint.”  

While Trump talked about both Biden and the Russia investigation, “to me, that's not an inappropriate thing ... to talk about. And this obviously, he's got a personal connection, because potentially improper activity was directed at him,” Johnson said. “I understand the president’s frustration here." 

Johnson, who was one of the GOP lawmakers invited to the White House on Wednesday to discuss the call before the call summary was released, said he saw nothing wrong with Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, playing a key role in the Ukraine matter because "the president sometimes can appoint different people to work for him, speak on his behalf. That’s up to the president.”  

House Republican Mike Gallagher said in a statement: “Most Americans do not support impeachment, yet Speaker Pelosi is taking this serious step without all the facts. That is profoundly irresponsible and the call transcript already contradicts key claims from anonymous sources. In light of all that, I’m glad the Administration supports full transparency.” 

House Republican Glenn Grothman issued a statement Wednesday criticizing the impeachment inquiry, saying "important business before the House has ground to a halt due to these distractions."

Grothman said it was appropriate for Trump to have a "broad discussion" with the Ukraine president about corruption, and said there are legitimate questions about "why Hunter Biden was employed by Ukrainian-based gas company, Burisma Holdings, at the same time his father oversaw Ukrainian relations for the Obama Administration."