Scalise calls allegations against Trump 'baseless,' 'disgraceful'
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., called the allegations against President Donald Trump "baseless" and "disgraceful" when asked about Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments that the witnesses' testimony at the first public impeachment hearing Wednesday "corroborated evidence of bribery."
“I think it's disgraceful that these liberals here in Washington continue to try to throw baseless allegations and accusations at the president, when they've tried for years to push an impeachment narrative," Scalise told reporters Thursday.
He claimed that Pelosi, who refrained from launching a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump for much of the year despite pressure from her caucus, is "obsessed" with impeaching the president.
On Wednesday's testimony, Scalise said Democrats "don't have anything. There are no impeachable offenses," adding that they "refuse to bring issues that would actually help families, lower drug costs, do other things that matter to people, because they don't like the results of the 2016 election.”
Trump attacks Pence aide who said Ukraine call was 'unusual and inappropriate'
President Donald Trump on Sunday blasted an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence who told House impeachment investigators earlier this month that Trump's asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to probe the Bidens and Democrats in a July 25 call was "unusual and inappropriate."
"Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement [sic] from Ukraine," Trump tweeted. "Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!"
The president has labeled other Trump administration officials who have testified in the impeachment inquiry, including some career diplomats, as Never Trumpers. The term is a reference to conservatives during the 2016 election cycle who pledged never to support the then-Republican candidate, even as he breezed through the GOP primary onto the party's nomination.
Full story here.
Pelosi: Trump's conduct is 'so much worse' than Nixon's
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that President Donald Trump's conduct is "so much worse" than that of former President Richard Nixon, adding that Trump is insecure about being an "imposter."
"I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower," Pelosi said of the CIA employee whose complaint about Trump's conduct toward Ukraine led to the impeachment inquiry. "The president can come before the committee and speak all the truth that he wants ... He has every opportunity to make his case."
"But it's really a sad thing," Pelosi continued. "What the president did was so much worse than even what Richard Nixon did. At some point, Richard Nixon cared about the country enough to recognize that this could not continue."
Read more here.
GOP Rep.: Trump Ukraine actions 'alarming,' 'not okay'
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, told CNN's "State of the Union" that "of course" trading foreign aid for politics favors is "alarming."
"As I've said from the beginning, I think this is not okay," Turner, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said. "The president of the United States shouldn't even in the original phone call be on the phone with the president of another country and raise his political opponent. So, no, this is not OK."
But Turner lamented the process by which Democrats were conducting the impeachment inquiry, and, pointing to Holmes' testimony, said the newly disclosed call wasn't "scandalous" because Trump essentially said the same thing in the July 25 call, a summary of which was released by the White House.
GOP senator says whistleblower's sources 'exposed things that didn't need to be exposed'
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said Sunday that the administration officials who provided the whistleblower with information on President Donald Trump's conduct toward Ukraine "exposed things that didn't need to be exposed."
Johnson, who spoke with the president about why military aid was being withheld from Ukraine prior to the administration releasing the hold in mid-September, told NBC's "Meet the Press" he wanted "to point out is the damage being done to our country through this entire impeachment process."
"It's going to be very difficult for future presidents to have a very candid conversation with a world leader because now we've set the precedent of leaking transcripts," he said. "The weakening of executive privilege is not good. And by the way, these individuals that leaked this. If their interest was a stronger relationship with Ukraine, they did not accomplish this. Having this all come out into public has weakened that relationship and exposed things that didn't need to be exposed."
Read more here.
House releases two more impeachment transcripts
House impeachment investigators on Saturday released the transcripts from joint depositions of Deputy Assistant to the President Timothy Morrison and Vice President Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, Jennifer Williams.
Schiff said in a statement:
“The testimony released today shows that President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky immediately set off alarm bells throughout the White House. Both witnesses provided the Committees with first-hand accounts after personally listening to the call in the White House Situation Room.
“Mr. Morrison confirmed Ambassador Taylor’s testimony to the Committees that the Ukrainians were told that U.S. military assistance, not just the White House meeting, was conditioned on their public announcement of political investigations that the President wanted. Additionally, following the September 1 meeting between President Zelensky and Vice President Pence, Mr. Morrison confirmed that Ambassador Sondland informed one of President Zelensky’s top aides that American military aid was conditioned on the investigations. Mr. Morrison informed John Bolton of the meeting and was told by Mr. Bolton to go see the lawyers, which he did.
“Ms. Williams testified that the President’s requests were ‘unusual and inappropriate’ and shed light on ‘possible other motivations behind a security assistance hold.’ She also confirmed, like Lt. Col. Vindman, that the Ukrainian President specifically mentioned ‘Burisma’ during the call, even though the White House call record does not reflect that. Importantly, Ms. Williams also testified that in mid-May, President Trump instructed Vice President Pence to cancel plans to attend President Zelensky’s inauguration before the date for the inauguration had been set.
Both officials are testifying in open hearings this week.
Read Williams' deposition here.
Ready Morrison's testimony here.
5 things we learned from Yovanovitch's public testimony
Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who is one of several figures at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, spent more than six hours testifying before the House Intelligence Committee Friday.
The hearing didn't reveal much beyond what was learned from her closed-door deposition last month, but it did provide the American public the chance to hear the unconstrained, and at times emotional, account of a top diplomat who House Democrats hope can be one of the faces of their inquiry.
Here are five things we learned from her public appearance. And in case you missed her day on Capitol Hill, catch up on key moments here.
ANALYSIS: The devastating day Trump's presidency came into sharp focus — in Congress, the White House and court
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's worlds collided in devastating fashion in Washington on Friday, exposing legal and political vulnerabilities that Democrats want to exploit as he works to survive impeachment and his 2020 re-election bid.
All three branches of government demonstrated, in one day and in unmatchable high-profile fashion, the cost Trump and his loyalists have been willing to impose on the nation and its citizens — including members of his inner circle at times — in pursuit of political and personal aims. And ultimately, those costs are at the heart of the argument Democrats will make for ousting Trump, one way or the other.
"The powers of the presidency are immense, but they are not absolute and they cannot be used for corrupt purpose," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on Friday. "The American people expect the president to use the authority they grant him in service of the nation, not to destroy others to advance his personal or political interests."
Read the full analysis here.