ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
77°
Sunny
H 91° L 74°
  • clear-night
    77°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 91° L 74°
  • clear-day
    91°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 91° L 74°
  • clear-day
    88°
    Evening
    Mostly Sunny. H 95° L 75°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Is it impeachment if Speaker Pelosi doesn't say so?
Close

Is it impeachment if Speaker Pelosi doesn't say so?

Is it impeachment if Speaker Pelosi doesn't say so?
Photo Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, right, the ranking member, listen to debate on amendments as the panel approved procedures for upcoming impeachment investigation hearings on President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Is it impeachment if Speaker Pelosi doesn't say so?

Bristling over the "I'' word, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped short Thursday of saying the House is ready to launch an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump , even as Judiciary Committee Democrats set the stage to do just that.

Pelosi has been a moderating force in her divided caucus, as liberals push to impeach and centrist Democrats are wary of fixating on Trump. She's been consistent in her restraint. But in having it both ways, opening the door to impeachment while not leading the charge, she was giving space for different opinions but leaving Democrats with a mixed message .

By approving ground rules for impeachment hearings Thursday, the Judiciary Committee sparked the questions anew.

"If we have to go there, we'll have to go there," Pelosi said Thursday about the impeachment investigation. "But we can't go there until we have the facts."

Pelosi cut off repeated questions on the topic during her weekly press conference. She said she was done discussing it.

"People are impatient about it," she conceded. "We can't go any faster than the facts."

She said, "We're still on the same path."

The approach from Pelosi and her leadership team comes as the Judiciary Committee pushes ahead with its first impeachment hearings this fall, backed by more than half the House Democrats who want some sort of an investigation.

Trump told reporters he's not concerned about the impeachment planning, calling it an "embarrassment" to the country. Asked if he believes Pelosi is scared of impeaching him, Trump said: "I don't think she's scared of anything. I think she's a smart woman and I think she knows exactly what she's doing."

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says there's no uncertainty about what his committee is doing: It's an impeachment investigation, no matter how you want to phrase it.

As the committee voted Thursday to approve guidelines for impeachment hearings, Nadler promised an "aggressive" fall schedule, starting with next week's public session with Trump aide Corey Lewandowski.

"Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature," Nadler, D-N.Y., said earlier as he opened the meeting.

"But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat. And we are doing so."

Impeachment has divided Democrats who control the House, a split that is becoming even more pronounced ahead of the 2020 election as the party measures the weight of its oversight responsibility with the mood of public opinion.

Democrats on Nadler's committee, including some of the most liberal members of the House, have been eager to move forward with the process. But moderates, mostly first-term lawmakers who handed their party the majority in the 2018 election, are concerned about the committee's drumbeat on impeachment especially in districts where Trump remains popular.

Given those divisions, Nadler and Pelosi have been talking about impeachment very differently. While Nadler has been clear that his committee is moving ahead, Pelosi is reluctant to mention the "I'' word.

In private meetings, Pelosi has urged caution and told the caucus that the public isn't there yet on impeachment.

At the same time, Pelosi has quietly signed off on the committee's moves and said Thursday she supports its work.

She said Thursday that when she travels the country, "people are saying it's good to be careful about how we proceed."

Outside groups that spent the month of August flooding lawmakers' telephone lines and showing up at town hall meetings to push impeachment find Pelosi's approach out of step with the party's priorities.

"It's just an absurd position," said Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist and president of Defend the Republic, a messaging group around the issue. He is a former campaign aide to Hillary Clinton.

Petkanas said the "discombobulation of some of the leadership messaging is disappointing," but not a blow to the efforts to push Judiciary Committee Democrats to act. "It kind of doesn't even matter what she calls it, they're doing the thing."

The confusion was highlighted this week as leadership split on what to call what was happening. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., indicated to reporters that there was not an impeachment investigation — and then issued a clarification saying the House is not considering one "at this time." The caucus chairman, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., tweeted that committee adopted the resolution for the "IMPEACHMENT INVESTIGATION."

Ahead of the committee vote, several freshman lawmakers met with Nadler on Wednesday and expressed concerns about the path ahead. Hoyer's office had encouraged them to raise their questions.

"It's sucking the air out of all the good stuff that we're doing, so that's our concern," said Florida Rep. Donna Shalala, who attended the meeting.

As soon as the committee voted Thursday, the House GOP's campaign committee began singling out Democratic freshmen who voted for the resolution, warning they will "pay dearly for this decision at the ballot box."

With Democrats divided and the 2020 campaign ahead, it's unclear whether the impeachment process will ever move beyond the committee's investigation.

The Republican-led Senate is unlikely to convict Trump and remove him from office.

The GOP's House leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, a close ally of Trump, said there's "no reason' to move forward with impeachment. "This is not something to play with," he said.

Still, the committee has persisted in advancing the issue, keeping questions swirling about Trump's actions in office. Its work is also intended to bolster the Democrats' lawsuits against the Trump administration to force witness testimony and documents as the White House has repeatedly blocked both.

The committee says the resolution approved Thursday is similar to the approach taken at the beginning of the impeachment investigations into Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

The first hearing scheduled under the new impeachment rules is with Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager, on Sept. 17 over questions of obstruction of justice. According to special counsel Robert Mueller's report , Trump asked Lewandowski to deliver a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting that he limit Mueller's inquiry.

The committee also intends to hold hearings as it is investigating the spending of taxpayer money at the president's hotels and properties and hush money payments Trump made to kill potentially embarrassing stories about alleged affairs.

Nadler said all of those investigations will inform the decision on whether to move ahead and vote on articles of impeachment.

Republicans expressed their frustration with the entire process.

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the panel, said the committee "has become a giant Instagram filter ... it's put in there to look like something, but it's really not."

___

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington and Matthew Daly in Baltimore contributed to this report.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A North Carolina man charged in the death of his 2-month-old child faced a judge in Burke County on Monday.  >> Read more trending news  Maurice Dashawn Springs, 23, is charged with second-degree murder.  Officials said deputies were called to Carolina Health Care System – Blue Ridge on Sept. 4 after an unresponsive 2-month-old boy was taken to the hospital by his parents.  The baby was transferred to Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, but he died on Sept. 9.  The Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division and Burke County's Department of Social Services started an investigation after reports from emergency room staff and at Levine's.  According to a search warrant, deputies believe the child died of shaken baby syndrome. “No visible signs of trauma to the head or anywhere on the child. That’s the next logical place you go – shaken baby,” Sheriff Steve Whisenant said. Officials said CT scans showed multiple subdural hematomas consistent with a traumatic brain injury. Springs’ family said he loved the baby with all his heart, and they are standing by him. The child’s mother was in court but too distraught to talk afterward. “As a parent and a grandparent, any time there is a young child involved all of us struggle with thinking about what a child went through,” Whisenant said. WSOC-TV learned that deputies interviewed Springs for hours. They are not revealing what he said during that interview prior to his arrest. 
  • SeaWorld Entertainment says CEO Gus Antorcha, abruptly resigned Monday after a disagreement with the board of directors. Antorcha, 45, the former chief operating officer of Carnival Cruise Lines, was named CEO of the Orlando based company on Feb. 18.  His salary was $600,000 a year and he is not entitled to nor seeking severance benefits, according to an SEC filing.  The company named Marc Swanson, its current chief financial officer, as its interim CEO. Mr. Swanson has been with SeaWorld for 19 years.  Shares of SeaWorld dipped 1.9% in after-hours trading. The stock is up 36% so far this year.
  • A touching picture of a school custodian in Texas comforting a student with autism is gaining national attention. According to KTRK-TV, Hollie Bellew-Shaw of Alvin, Texas shared a picture of her fourth-grade daughter’s elementary school custodian.  Ms. Esther is on the floor of the school stage as Bellew-Shaw’s daughter Kenlee wrapped herself in a blanket and covered her ears.   (App users tap here to see post) “Our school custodian is literally the best, sweetest individual in the world,” Bellew-Shaw captioned the picture on Facebook.  “Kenlee wanted no part of being in the cafeteria this morning with all the noise, so she laid down w/her blanket on stage.  When Ms Esther saw her, she came and laid next to her and patted her back.” The Alvin Independent School District also shared the picture.  As of Monday evening, their post was liked over 1,600 times, had hundreds of shares and dozens of comments. (Tap here to see post)
  • A longtime assistant Los Angeles city attorney killed himself last week after gunning down his wife and 19-year-old son, police officials said. Authorities were alerted to the killings when Eric Lertzman’s daughter, 25, fled to a neighbor’s house after escaping through a bathroom window, according to an LAPD news release. The dead include Lertzman, 60; his wife, Sandra Lertzman, also 60; and their 19-year-old son Michael Lertzman. The daughter’s identity was not revealed by police, but Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer identified her as Rachel Lertzman. Sandy Lertzman's sister, Cindy Stern, wrote on Facebook of the shock of the tragedy. “You never think this is going to happen to your immediate family,” Stern wrote. “Still in shock, but completely heartbroken about losing my dear sister Sandy, nephew Michael and brother-in-law Eric to gun violence today. Grateful beyond words that Rachel survived.” A GoFundMe page set up to help Rachel Lertzman in the wake of her family’s deaths had raised more than $122,000 as of Monday morning. >> Read more trending news According to police, dispatchers received a call around 9 a.m. Wednesday for shots fired and an assault with a deadly weapon at the Lertzman home in Northridge. Greg Demos, the neighbor from whom Rachel Lertzman sought help, told KTLA she ran over in her pajamas and said her father had tried to shoot her. She was “upset, confused distraught, somewhat in shock,” as she recounted what happened, Demos told the news station. “‘I don’t know what to tell you, Greg, but this is what just happened in my house, and I don’t know what to do,’” Demos recalled her telling him. “She said, ‘My dad took a shot at me, and my mom and my brother are still inside.’” Demos told ABC7 in Los Angeles that he and Rachel Lertzman ran back to the family’s home. “I went with her to the door and I knocked on the door, yelled. Nothing,” Demos told the news station. “We went to the back. She had locked the doors and left. She said my mom and my brother are still inside. We pummeled on the door, yelled for her dad, yelled her mother’s name and brother’s name. No answer. “And that's when we called the police.” Police officials said the investigation showed Eric Lertzman shot and killed his wife in their bedroom, then attempted to shoot his daughter in her bedroom across the hall. She locked herself in a bathroom for safety. Lertzman then went to his son, Michael, and killed him, authorities said. Watch ABC7's live coverage of the police response to the Lertzman home below. “During this time, (Rachel Lertzman) escaped through the bathroom window and ran to a neighbor’s residence,” the news release said. “Eric returned to the master bedroom, where he turned the weapon on himself, ending his own life.” According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office, Eric Lertzman died of a gunshot wound to the head. Both Michael and Sandra Lertzman died of multiple gunshot wounds. Their deaths were classified as homicides, while Eric Lertzman's death was labeled a suicide. Two handguns were found in the home, according to police. Feuer said on Twitter that Eric Lertzman had been with the city attorney’s office since 2005. “This is a horrible tragedy,” Feuer said in a statement. “As we search for answers to how this could happen, we mourn the victims and envelop those left behind with our love during this time of unbearable loss. Of course, we will provide members of our city attorney family with needed counseling and support.” Police officials said detectives were still searching for a motive, but “investigators believe the recent loss of a loved one and ongoing health issues played a significant role.” Eric Lertzman’s mother, Phyllis Lertzman, died Aug. 26, according to her obituary. NBC Los Angeles reported that Eric Lertzman had taken leave from work after undergoing a recent colon surgery. The attorney's health had deteriorated over the past year or so, neighbors said. “Just terrible it came to this, that he couldn’t reach out to us or other family members for help,” longtime family friend Russ Beck told the news station. Beck described Eric Lertzman as a “kind soul” who enjoyed riding dirt bikes until his health no longer allowed it. Lertzman’s Facebook page, which had little activity, shows him standing next to a motorcycle and wearing riding gear. Eric and Sandy Lertzman had been married for 33 years, according to social media posts. A post on Sandy Lertzman's Facebook page indicated they celebrated their anniversary Aug. 24, less than three weeks before the homicides. In a 2016 Facebook post, Sandy Lertzman described her husband as a “supreme” husband and father. “I love you forever and can’t wait to share at least the next 30 years with you,” she wrote. In a 2017 anniversary post, which was accompanied by a wedding photo, she described Eric Lertzman as her best friend. Sandy Lertzman also heaped praise on her children on social media. On a birthday post about Rachel Lertzman, the proud mother described her as “amazing, beautiful, charismatic, dedicated, ever-environmental, fabulous, gorgeous, honest, intelligent, journey-driven, kind, loving, multitalented, nondiscriminatory, over-the-top, passionate, quick-witted.” When Michael Lertzman turned 18 in 2017, she wrote: “You are an awesome human being, and we are proud of you and love you! XO, Mom and Dad.” She expressed similar sentiments in October, when her son turned 19. 'From the day you were born, you've brightened our world, and we're very proud of you for the awesome person you are,' she wrote. Family and friends of the Lertzman family expressed shock and sorrow over the killings. Aviva Eagle, who described herself as a cousin, said Sandy Lertzman was “always full of love and always smiling.” Eagle described Michael Lertzman, a student at California State University Northridge, as smart with his whole future ahead of him. Alan Dreiman, president of the university’s chapter of Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, wrote of the teen’s warmth. “Michael was a shining light in our lives, a wound that will never heal,” Dreiman wrote. “A huge thank you to everyone who has offered support. That is the only thing getting everyone through these terrible times. Our condolences are sent out to family, friends, and the community. May we all stay strong.” Chabad at CSUN, the university’s Jewish Student Center, also mourned him on social media. “We are beyond devastated by the horrific news of today,” a post on the group’s Facebook page read. “Chabad at CSUN stands with our AEPI (Alpha Epsilon Pi) brothers, as well as the Northridge community.” Camp Alonim, a program of the American Jewish University-Brandeis Bardin Campus in Simi Valley, said the teen was a longtime camper and staff member. “Mikey’s personal warmth, his gentle spirit, his wide smile and his infectious enthusiasm will never be forgotten,” the group’s Facebook page read. “He will always be a beloved member of our Camp Alonim family. We send our deepest condolences to his sister, Rachel (CIT '10), and the many people whose lives Mikey touched.” A woman named Erica Hartman responded that she had seen Michael Lertzman the Friday before he was killed. “He ALWAYS had a smile on his face and greeted everyone with nothing short of genuine happiness,” Hartman wrote. “We are devastated by this horrible news,” Julie Hertel wrote. “I know there are many current and former campers, my daughter included, that are heartbroken, shocked and numb to hear this news. “Campers should look to their camp family to help them through this difficult time. It helps to be with or talk with others that knew and loved Mikey. Share your stories and memories about him, this will bring comfort to you and your friends. My heart goes out to everyone impacted by this awful situation.”
  • A firefighter died and six other people were wounded Monday morning in a suspected propane gas explosion in Maine. >> Read more trending news  Farmington police Chief Jack Peck said a firefighter died after authorities were called just after 8 am. Monday to investigate a gas smell at a building on Farmington Falls Road. He said the LEAP building at 313 Farmington Falls Road exploded while firefighters were investigating the smell. 'All of us are one big family. We all know each other, especially in a small town,' Peck told reporters Monday at a news conference. 'We all feel for (the slain firefighter's) family. ... It affects us deeply.' Four other firefighters, an employee who works at the building and an ambulance worker were also injured, he said. Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols said the explosion left behind 'total devastation.' Images from the scene showed scattered debris and smoke. 'It looks like a war zone here,' Landry told WMTW. 'The newly constructed building is gone. The adjacent building is half down. (Firefighters) are hosing down what debris is left of the building. Not much.' The explosion took place at the LEAP building, according to the Sun Journal. The nonprofit group works to empower people who have developmental, cognitive and intellectual disabilities, told the Sun Journal that his home shook during the explosion, knocking pictures off his walls. He said when he went outside to investigate, he saw 'complete chaos' and 'complete devastation.' 'It was white insulation, materials everywhere,' he told the Sun Journal. 'I was dumbfounded.' It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion, which sent debris and smoke into the sky before 8:30 a.m., though Peck said a preliminary investigation pointed to a possible gas explosion. 'It looks like it may have been a propane or natural gas leak,' Peck said at a news conference. 'That's in the very early stages of investigation.' Police did not immediately identify the firefighter killed in the explosion, citing the need to notify the firefighter's next of kin. Maine Gov. Janet Mills told reporters she knew the slain firefighter. 'Our hearts go out to all the families of the injured and the deceased and all the people in the community,' she said. Peck said Farmington fire Chief Terry Bell was among the people injured. A majority of the victims suffered burn injuries that appeared to be consistent with a building explosion, he said. The explosion took place at the LEAP building, according to the Sun Journal. The nonprofit group works to empower people who have developmental, cognitive and intellectual disabilities, according to the group's website. Mills said the state Fire Marshal's Office would conduct an investigation into the cause of the explosion. 'Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this tragedy, especially to the loved ones of the firefighter lost and others injured,' she wrote in a Twitter post. 'I am grateful for the work of first responders who are at the scene and urge Maine people to avoid the area.

Washington Insider

  • Angered by stories over the weekend about possible sexual misconduct by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his law school days at Yale University, one progressive Democrat in Congress is ready to introduce articles of impeachment against Kavanaugh - but there is no guarantee the issue would be acted upon by the House. 'I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I believe Deborah Ramirez,' Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted. 'It is our responsibility to collectively affirm the dignity and humanity of survivors.' But even as some Democrats in Congress call for more answers about the FBI investigation of complaints about Kavanaugh, the lawmaker in charge of the committee which would deal with an impeachment effort said Monday that it wasn't on his radar screen. Instead, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told a New York radio show that his panel's various investigations of President Trump leave little time or oxygen to specifically go through allegations against Kavanaugh. “Even Jerry Nadler figured out that impeachment of Brett Kavanaugh, based on this ridiculous accusation, is a Bridge Too Far,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). But there were also Democrats in Congress who disagreed with Nadler, as they demanded a further investigation not only of Kavanaugh, but of the FBI background investigation of the Justice. 'Those who voted yes on his nomination betrayed the women of this country and we learn more of the depth of that betrayal with every new detail & allegation,' tweeted Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Only one member of the Supreme Court has ever gone through impeachment proceedings, Justice Samuel Chase, who was accused of being too partisan to serve on the bench. While he was a Justice, Chase had campaigned in the 1800 election for John Adams, who lost that election to Thomas Jefferson. Looking for payback, the House approved articles of impeachment against Justice Chase for his partisan activities, but the Senate refused to convict. On the floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuffed talk of Kavanaugh's impeachment. 'This is not just a left-wing obsession with one man. It is part of a deliberate effort to attack judicial independence,' McConnell said in a Senate floor speech, as he said this was more than a case of 'sour grapes.' 'Six of the Democrat presidential candidates — plus one who has now quit to run for the Senate — have publicly flirted with packing the Supreme Court,' McConnell said. 'Court-packing. Today’s bold new Democrat idea is a failed power grab from the 1930s,' McConnell added, referring to the effort by Democrats to help President Franklin D. Roosevelt achieve more of his New Deal platform, without interference by the Supreme Court.