The big news out of Washington this week is house Democrats unveiling of two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress surrounding his dealings with Ukraine and conduct during the subsequent investigation.
As the inquiry continues, members of Louisiana's congressional delegation on key committees and in leadership roles are positioned to influence these historic proceedings.
Here to discuss is Elizabeth Crisp, Washington Correspondent for The Advocate.
Q: So let's just start with review of all the Louisiana Congressman on committees that have held impeachment hearings so far. Who are they?
So first we have a Rep. Clay Higgins, who is from the Acadiana area. He was the only member of the Louisiana delegation who was on the investigative committees that started out the hearings behind closed doors. And now that the impeachment inquiry has moved out to the main judiciary committee, Louisiana is actually in an interesting position of having one Democrat and one Republican-- that's Cedric Richmond from New Orleans and Mike Johnson from the Shreveport area.
Q: And that House Judiciary committee has been at the center of attention since it's held the most recent public hearings. They could vote on articles of impeachment as early as this week. Both Richmond and Johnson have been in the mix there.
Here's representative Mike Johnson on Monday:
"This is not due process. This is not the rule of law. And this is not how to impeach an American President... and the people can see clearly that this is a sham."
Q: Johnson in particular has emerged as a key figure on that committee. Tell us a little bit about his background and how he's put that to use.
Congressman Johnson actually did practice constitutional law for about two decades. He's really worked to try to challenge the process and what it was that our founding fathers meant when they created it an impeachment process.
Richmond has taken a completely different approach to all of this. He's kind of working with the other members of his party. They've decided to kind of piecemeal this out a little bit and each one kind of focuses on a certain area. It seems like it's a very structured approach on that side where as the Republican side is a little bit more about being chaotic.
Q: Now for the highest ranking member of the Louisiana delegation House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. He isn't on any of the relevant committees, but is a prominent figure at the Capitol. What is he saying about this most recent development in the impeachment saga?
Congressman Scalise has been pretty consistently aligned with the president. He doesn't believe that there's anything to this. He constantly points to what we know is an edited transcript, but it was the transcript that was released by the white house. And I don't know that there's really much that could be said in these hearings that's actually going to change his mind.
Q: And finally the folks we didn't mention Rep. Garret Graves and Ralph Abraham aren't on any of the relevant committees either, but would have a vote on articles of impeachment if they make their way to the House floor. Bill Cassidy is in a similar position, but on the Senate side. He would vote whether or not to convict in an impeachment trial. Also, Senator John Kennedy is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. He would see articles of impeachment first if they crossed over from the House. All of those guys are Republicans. Is there any reason to believe they'll break from the party line?
Oh no. I would say that they havedefinitely been vocal supporters of the president, especially Congressman Abraham.