Thursday morning news: December 5, 2019

House Judiciary Committee takes up impeachment inquiry » NADLER: The House Committee on the Judiciary will come to order. 

With those words, Judiciary Chairman Jarold Nadler on Wednesday gaveled in a new phase in the impeachment inquiry. 

It is his committee that will decide whether to draft articles of impeachment against President Trump. And Nadler left little doubt where he stands on the matter. He said the president clearly abused his power in a July phone call with the president of Ukraine.  

NADLER: That call was part of a concerted effort by the president and his men to solicit a personal advantage in the next election. 

Lawmakers asked a panel of law school professors to help answer one question: Did the president’s conduct meet the constitutional threshold for an impeachable offense. 

The three witnesses called by Democrats said there’s little doubt that it did. Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill testified …

GERHARDT: If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning. 

But the lone witness called by Republican members, George Washington University’s Jonathan Turley, disagreed. He said Democrats simply have not proven their case.

TURLEY: You can’t say the president is above the law if you then say the crimes you accuse him of really don’t have to be established. 

He called the case against Trump “one of the thinnest records ever to go forward on impeachment.” 

Bill calls for action against China’s “reeducation camps” » As the impeachment battle splits Washington, lawmakers in the House were united on another matter this week. The House voted 407-to-1 to hit China with “targeted sanctions” over persecution of religious minorities. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Uighur Human Rights Policy Act calls for sanctions against senior Chinese officials—including the Communist Party’s secretary in the Xinjiang region. It would also require President Trump to condemn the crackdown in Xinjiang and call for the closure of detention camps. China is holding as many as 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in so-called reeducation camps.

The bill has further riled Chinese officials following the U.S. condemnation this week of Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused the United States of smearing the country’s —quote—“counterterrorism and de-radicalization.” 

The bill now heads to the Senate for approval. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Georgia governor announces pick for U.S. Senate seat » Georgia’s Republican governor has chosen a replacement for outgoing GOP Senator Johnny Isakson. 

KEMP: I am proud to announce that conservative businesswoman and political outsider Kelly Loeffler will be Georgia’s next U.S. senator. 

Governor Brian Kemp heard there at a press event introducing Loeffler on Wednesday. 

Kemp’s decision went against President Trump, who wanted Georgia Congressman Doug Collins appointed to the seat. 

Some pro-lifers expressed concerns about Loeffler because she serves on the board of hospital that has performed abortions in the past and is currently fighting to overturn a pro-life law in court. But on Wednesday, Loeffler said that’s no reflection of her views. 

LOEFFLER: I am strongly pro-life. The abortion-on-demand agenda is immoral. In the Senate I look forward to supporting S160, Senator Lindsey Graham’s 20-week abortion ban. 

She added—quote—“I look forward to supporting President Trump’s conservative judges.”

Loeffler will be on the ballot in a special election next November to determine if she’ll complete the final two years of the Senate term. She’s reportedly prepared to spend $20 million of her own money to keep the seat.

North Korea threatens “Christmas present” for U.S. » North Korea and President Trump are once again trading military threats. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has that story. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The Trump administration is still working to jumpstart stalled nuclear talks with Pyongyang. But Kim Jong Un’s regime says it wants significant concessions from Washington. And if that doesn’t happen, a North Korean official said the country will send a—quote—“Christmas gift” to the United States. 

Some see that as a veiled threat to restart test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles. 

President Trump responded by saying his relationship with Kim was “really good.” But he added that the U.S. military is “by far the most powerful” in the world, and—quote—“hopefully we don’t have to use it. But if we do, we will use it.”

On Wednesday, a top North Korean general slammed Trump’s response and warned that any attack would cause a “horrible” consequence for Americans.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen. 

U.S. sailor kills two civilian contractors at Pearl Harbor shipyard » The Pentagon says a U.S. sailor shot and killed two civilian Department of Defense employees at the Pearl Harbor shipyard Wednesday before taking his own life.

The military didn’t release a motive or any identifying information about the shooter. A third victim is in stable condition at a hospital. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam reopened Wednesday following a lockdown.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) The Capitol is seen in Washington, early Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, as House Democrats continue to probe whether President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by coercing Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his family. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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