The Note: Democrats face conflicting internal instincts on impeachment

Some of the key decisions about articles of impeachment are still lingering.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It's fast vs. slow, broad vs. narrow, and principles vs. mathematical realities.

Yes, Democrats have the votes to impeach. And yes, they believe they've accumulated enough evidence to make that happen before Christmas.

But key decisions about how many articles to draft, what they should cover and even whether all of them need to pass are still lingering. Knowing that other potential evidence awaits -- up to and including Rudy Giuliani's strangely timed trip to Ukraine and what President Donald Trump knows about it -- isn't helping Democrats reach a consensus.

Missing from the calculations at this point are how or whether to entice Republicans to support impeachment. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said their choice is whether to be "patriots or partisans," and final votes look increasingly to take place with zero GOP backing.

Giuliani's travels aside, the Republican effort to portray as a circus what Democrats want to showcase as a sober responsibility has had some impact.

Democrats have been outspent in the impeachment fight, and are worried about being out-maneuvered. They still need to sort through their own conflicting instincts and political agendas before they can move on to the serious matter at hand.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Deadlines have a way of motivating Capitol Hill to get to work, but they are also often used by members as leverage.

In addition to the self-imposed pressure Democrats now face to work quickly on impeachment, there's also a fast-approaching deadline at the end of the month for Congress to pass a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that she did not think Congress was headed for a shutdown.

"I don't think anybody wants that. I think the president and the Republicans learned in the last shutdown that … there was no upside to it," Pelosi said on CNN Thursday. "And we're on a good path."

Of course, Republicans have accused Democrats of being obsessed with impeachment and laser-focused on that path alone.

Democrats face extra pressure to show constituents when they go home over the holiday that they're continuing to legislate. Republicans could easily exploit that vulnerability, and, as always, Trump's willingness to sign on to any deal will be unpredictable.

The TIP with Christopher Donato

After campaigning with former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa, former Secretary of State John Kerry hit the campaign trail for Biden in New Hampshire. Kerry, who told reporters after one event that he has "no desire to serve" in a Biden administration, made his pitch of support for Biden's presidential campaign.

Kerry is no stranger to New Hampshire, having won the First in the Nation primary in 2004. He told the crowds in Nashua and Hampton that he wasn't here "just for any old reason" and that his reason was because "I know that Joe Biden is the person who can beat Donald Trump and bring this country back together and get the job done."

The former secretary of state said it was important to have "a president who understands that the next great infrastructure initiative of our nation is to meet the challenge of this crisis and to make it America ..." and called out the president for his relationship with dictators such as North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

Kerry basked in the spotlight, speaking for over 30 minutes at both events. His home state of Massachusetts, just a few miles down the road, was on his mind.

"You're all very courageous," Kerry told the crowd in Hampton. "I know the Patriots are playing. ... Joe Biden is like the Patriots. Fun to watch the promise and the potential of the young quarterbacks. But come February, I like having an experienced Tom Brady."


The long-awaited Department of Justice Inspector General report examining the origins of the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is set to be released Monday, in a moment sure to draw intense political scrutiny on the activities of law enforcement agents tasked with probing contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russia. Here's what you need to know.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News' Katherine Faulders, who explains what lawyers from both sides of the aisle will be presenting to the House Judiciary Committee today as the impeachment inquiry rolls on. Then ABC News Senior Investigative reporter Aaron Katersky tells us what to expect from the long-awaited DOJ Inspector General's report into the origins of the Russia investigation.


  • President Donald Trump will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence at 12:30 p.m. After that, the president will participate in a roundtable on empowering families with education choice at the White House.
  • President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will participate in two Christmas receptions, one at 4:15 p.m., one at 8:15 p.m.
  • The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing and receive presentations from counsels to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and House Judiciary Committee as part the ongoing House impeachment inquiry at 9 a.m.
  • The Justice Department Inspector General's Office is expected to release its report on the investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation.
  • Campaigning in New Hampshire on Monday: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md.
  • Campaigning in Nevada: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro will host two meet-and-greet events in Iowa at 9:30 a.m. and at 7 p.m. CST.
  • Tom Steyer will make two campaign stops in Columbia, South Carolina, one at 4:15 p.m., one at 5:45 p.m.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will speak at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council's annual meeting in Washington at 6:30 p.m.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

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