The fast-moving impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, stemming from the president's dealings with Ukraine, involves numerous hearings, depositions and subpoenas of present and former top administration officials and other figures — and more than a few presidential tweets.
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Trump impeachment highlights
Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Judiciary Committee will move forward with articles of impeachment
- “The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit, at the expense of national security,” Pelosi said.
House Judiciary Committee calls four legal scholars to testify about the constitutional grounds for impeachment
House Intelligence Committee releases report on impeachment findings
Read our coverage of the public impeachment hearings
- Intelligence Committee witnesses included former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill, embassy aide David Holmes; EU Amb. Gordon Sondland, Pentagon official Laura Cooper, State Dept. undersecretary David Hale; White House Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Pence aide Jennifer Williams, ex-Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, former White House Russia aide Tim Morrison and ex-Ukraine Amb. Marie Yovanovitch.
Castor falsely claims that administration has cooperated with oversight investigations
As part of an exchange with Berke, Castor was asked if it was true that he had previously said that the Trump administration has cooperated and facilitated oversight investigations by Congress.
“Absolutely,” he said. “The Trump administration has participated in oversight during the entire Congress until it got to the impeachment inquiry.”
Before the impeachment inquiry, however, the administration has blocked numerous information requests by Democrats in Congress and has ordered current and former officials to defy congressional subpoenas that requested testimony or certain records.
Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, for example, defied congressional subpoenas that related to the development of the citizenship question for the 2020 Census. Earlier, this year, the White House blocked Trump adviser Stephen Miller from testifying before a House committee on the administration’s immigration policies.
The administration has blocked the House from obtaining his tax returns and now the case involving the president’s financial records from his accounting firm, sought by several House committees, has reached the Supreme Court.
Republicans says Democrats ‘wrong’ to have witnesses ask questions
As Democratic counsel Barry Berke questioned Castor about whether Trump viewed Biden as his top political opponent in 2020, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, expressed exasperation that Democrats were allowing Berke to ask questions after he had delivered an opening statement earlier in the hearing.
“We’re going to ignore the rules and allow witnesses to ask the questions? Then how many other rules are you just gonna disregard?” Gohmert said.
Gohmert said it’s “not appropriate” for Berke to question Castor after Berke himself appeared as a witness.
“It’s just wrong,” Gohmert said. “There is no rule nor precedent for anybody to be a witness and then getting to come up and question” other witnesses.
Gohmert and other GOP lawmakers attempted to raise a point of order, suggesting that Democrats were violating House rules.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said, “It’s unprecedented for a person to come” and sit as a witness “and then return to question.”
Nadler, however, said that he had designated Berke to question the staff counsels of the House Intelligence Committee, which he said was in accordance with the rules of the House, specifically rule 660.
Kellyanne Conway elaborates on why Trump is skipping the impeachment hearings
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, said Monday that the decision by him and the White House not to participate in the House impeachment hearings has nothing to do with cooperating with Congress.
NBC News’ Kristin Welker asked Conway if there’s any chance the White House will cooperate or if it plans to stick to its position of rejecting Democrats' invitation to get involved with the process.
“It's not about cooperation. It's about colluding with an illegitimate process,” Conway said at a White House stakeout with reporters.
A reporter then pointed out that the White House has been defending Trump on social media and asked Conway why officials won’t do that in the hearing room.
“Why would we legitimize this process that the American people can't even follow, aren’t digesting? The polls are going in the opposite way, [and] it’s forced the Democrats to [hold] focus groups [on] terms and phrases.”
Conway added, “Does anybody here think it's a bad idea to investigate Burisma? Really?”
Article II: Inside Impeachment — The Drafting Table
The House Judiciary Committee is drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The Constitution limits grounds of impeachment to treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Which ones will the Democrats choose to move forward with, and why?
Heidi Przybyla, NBC News Correspondent covering politics and government, explores the potential scope of the charges as Democrats prepare to bring them to the full House for a vote.
Impeachment Inquiry Report transmitted to Judiciary Committee
On Friday evening, the Chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs Committees transmitted the “Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report” to the House Judiciary Committee.
In addition to the final report and its appendices — initially released publicly in draft form on Tuesday and now in final form with authorized technical and conforming changes — the transmittal includes the Minority’s Views (the same document that the Minority released publicly on Monday, which they submitted again last night) as well as additional records and materials relating to the inquiry.
These records include all transcripts of interviews, hearings, and depositions undertaken during the inquiry, as well as additional evidence cited in the report.
Top Judiciary Republican urges chairman to call Adam Schiff and Hunter Biden as witnesses
The ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee on Friday asked chairman Jerrold Nadler to call additional witnesses in the impeachment inquiry — and Rep. Adam Schiff is at the top of the list.
Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee that led the impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine, is "the author of the Intelligence Committee report and the chief prosecutor for the House," Rep. Doug Collins noted in his Friday letter to Nadler. "At a minimum, he should testify about his report, just as Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Independent Counsel Ken Starr testified to this Committee about their reports."
He also said Nadler should call the whistleblower who first alerted Congress to Trump's July 25 call with his Ukrainian counterpart because the "president should be afforded the opportunity to confront his accusers."
In closed door depositions, Republicans sought to learn the identity of the whistleblower from other witnesses, but Collins said that's not his goal. "This testimony can be conducted in a way that does not reveal the identity of the whistleblower," he maintained.
Collins also called for hearing from other witnesses who'd been demanded by the ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes. They include Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden, and Alexandra Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee staffer who's said she reached out to officials in Ukraine to find out information about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's ties to Russia.
Calling those witnesses would "provide context and transparency about the underlying facts at issue in this 'impeachment inquiry,'" he wrote in the letter.
There was no immediate response from Nadler, but Schiff turned down Nunes's request for many of the same witnesses last month, writing the impeachment inquiry “will not serve as vehicles for any Member to carry out the same sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.”
White House rejects House Judiciary's invitation to participate in impeachment hearings
The White House on Friday rejected an invitation to take part in impeachment hearings before the House Judiciary Committee.
In a brief letter to Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., White House counsel Pat Cipollone sharply attacked the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump as "completely baseless" and said House Democrats had "violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness."
Cipollone did not explicitly answer whether the White House would take part in the Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Monday, but a senior administration official told NBC News "the letter means that the White House will not participate in the House proceeding."
"House Democrats have wasted enough of America's time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings," Cipollone wrote. "Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation's history. Whatever course you choose, as the President has recently stated: "if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business."
Josh Lederman and Leigh Ann Caldwell
Former Ukrainian diplomat agrees to Senate interview on alleged 2016 election meddling
Andriy Telizhenko, the former Ukrainian diplomat who alleges Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election, tells NBC News he’s already been contacted by Senate staff regarding a request to be interviewed as part of the probe by Chairmen Graham, Johnson, and Grassley.
Telizhenko says he plans to “fully cooperate with the U.S. government on any investigations” but that no date for an interview has been set.
Telizhenko is one of the Ukrainians who is traveling with Rudy Giuliani this week as he conducted interviews first in Budapest and now in Kyiv about the Bidens, former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and others. Telizhenko formerly worked for former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, but he was working at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in 2016 when he says that he was directed by his superiors to help former DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa dig up dirt about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Chalupa didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The senators say they’re requesting transcribed staff interviews as well as documents from Chalupa and Telizhenko.
The push from Graham, Grassley, and Johnson come despite the fact that the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to vice chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., found that Russia and no other country meddled in a major way in 2016. And former White House official Fiona Hill, a world-renowned expert on Russian intelligence, testified that Americans who push the theory Ukraine meddled in 2016 are advancing a narrative being pushed directly by Russian spy services.
“It’s clear these rogue chairmen are veering into conspiracy territory when even Leader McConnell says he disagrees with their plan. These chairmen are laundering Russian propaganda to deflect from Donald Trump’s attempt to extort Ukraine into manufacturing dirt on a political rival and exonerate Russia for its criminal interference in the 2016 election," Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the Senate Finance Committee's ranking member said in a statement. "Republicans are kicking dirt in the eyes of the American people.
It’s incredibly dangerous for my colleagues to ignore the warnings of our intelligence agencies and misuse taxpayer money to spread Russian propaganda and Rudy Giuliani’s bizarre conspiracy theories, " Wyden said. "The Senate should not be acting as an arm of the Russians or the president’s attorney.”
Sen. Mark Warner: 'There was no Ukrainian intervention' in 2016
Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Friday denounced the debunked conspiracy theory promoted by Republicans that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.
"I'm not gonna talk about any of my colleagues' specific comments. I am gonna be absolutely explicit. There was no Ukrainian intervention," he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
The disputed claim — that Kyiv interfered to hurt Trump’s campaign and boost Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's chances — has been advanced by President Donald Trump and some GOP lawmakers, most recently during the impeachment inquiry into the president allegedly pressuring Ukraine's president into investigate his political rivals.
Both Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. made the claim in interviews earlier this week. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., excoriated Republican lawmakers on Monday for "increasingly outlandish claims" about Ukrainian meddling.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, broke with Republicans this week and said he saw no evidence to support the allegation. Also, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Trump ally, said Tuesday that he also has not seen any concrete evidence pointing to a Ukrainian influence campaign.
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the election in an effort to harm Clinton's campaign and benefit Trump's.
Happening Friday in the impeachment inquiry
The House Judiciary Committee set a deadline of 5 p.m. ET Friday for the White House to decide whether it will mount a defense in the House impeachment inquiry.
In his December 1 letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone refused to participate in the committee's first public hearing earlier this week, but left open the possibility of participating in future sessions if Democrats made certain concessions.
Looking ahead, the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold another hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Monday at 9 a.m. ET.