Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress
Five people familiar with the discussions tell NBC News tonight that House Democrats have settled on bringing two articles of impeachment against President Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The intent to bring those two articles, they caution, is not final until an official announcement is made.
These sources spoke after Democratic members of House judiciary met this evening. Speaker Pelosi also met this evening with Rep. Engel, per Alex Moe's note moments ago.
Two sources familiar tell NBC News that judiciary Democrats will meet again tomorrow at 8 a.m. to continue discussions.
Read the full article here
Analysis: The GOP's bottom-line impeachment defense: Get over it
WASHINGTON — The impeachment of President Donald Trump boiled down to a reality test Monday as the Judiciary Committee moved a step closer to drafting articles formally charging the president.
Trump's fellow Republicans mounted a vigorous defense that held — all at once — he didn't do it, nothing he did was wrong and that they will impeach his rival for doing the same thing (even if it's not really the same thing) if the president eventually loses to that rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
"We already we got the forms — all we have to do is eliminate Donald Trump’s name and put Joe Biden’s name," Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said during a raucous and unusual Judiciary hearing in which lawyers for that panel and the House Intelligence Committee testified as witnesses.
Democrats argued Trump presents a clear threat to American democracy because he is directing an ongoing campaign to force a foreign nation to help him destroy his leading rival in the upcoming 2020 elections.
The risk is so imminent, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said, that Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani's recent trip to Ukraine is part of a "pattern of conduct" that "represents a continuing risk to the country."
And yet, in a stirring moment toward the end of the hearing, it was Republican staff lawyer Steve Castor — a man who held firm for nine-plus hours as the president's champion — who quietly acknowledged that, at best, Trump had been pursuing a "good faith" belief in what amounts to a Russian disinformation campaign to frame Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 election.
Ultimately, most Republicans said they saw no evil and heard no evil — except when it came to Biden, who has been the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination since announcing his bid in April and who by dint of his status as a private citizen is not susceptible to impeachment.
For the full analysis click here
Articles of impeachment to be announced Tuesday
A senior Democratic aide confirms to NBC News that Democrats will announce articles of impeachment Tuesday morning.
House Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel left a meeting earlier in Speaker Pelosi’s office and said there will be an announcement Tuesday morning on impeachment with the relevant committee chairs.
Asked if this announcement would be about articles of impeachment, Engel said “Yeah, everything.”
Article II: Inside Impeachment - Grilling the Lawyers
Lawyers for the Democratic and Republican sides of the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees presented the evidence gathered so far in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
NBC News Correspondent Leigh Ann Caldwell discusses how each side argued their cases for and against impeachment and how they held up under cross-examination.
Listen to the episode here
In closing statements, Nadler says 'facts are clear," Collins laments 'impeachment scam'
After a more than 9-hour hearing, which included fiery exchanges between witnesses and members, bickering between both sides over procedure and bathroom breaks, Democrats and Republicans made their closing arguments in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Chairman Nadler argued that Trump violated his oath of office when he pressured Ukraine to announce an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and Democrats. Nadler, D-N.Y., argued Trump clearly put “his own interest before the country” and jeopardized national security and the integrity of American elections in the process by hinging a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in critical military aid on a vulnerable ally to open the investigations.
“The facts are clear, the danger to our democracy is clear and our duty is clear,” Nadler said. “President Trump violated his oath to the American people.”
Nadler also excoriated Republicans for their conduct during the hearing.
"I am struck by the fact that my Republican colleagues have offered no serious scrutiny of the evidence at hand,” he said. “They have talked about everything else, but they have offered not one substantive word in the president's defense."
Ranking member Collins summed up the Republican case against impeachment, shifting away from the president’s own conduct and arguing against the process and questioning their motives. He called it an “impeachment scam” and said that Democrats have eroded the institutional integrity of Congress by going forward with the inquiry.
“We have become a rubber stamp,” he said.
He claims that the Democrats hamstrung the process and is conducting a “smear job” against the president, which is a long-standing vendetta stemming from Democrats losing the 2016 election. Collins also said Democrats are using the "same playbook" from the Russia investigation.
"We're seeing the problems with the Russia investigation play out again in front of our eyes,” he said.
Hearing is adjourned
The Judiciary impeachment inquiry hearing concluded at roughly 6:42 p.m. It began at 9:08 a.m.
The evidence presented by both sides
Lawyers for the Democrats and the Republicans are taking turns summarizing the cases they’ve built: Democrats are attempting to lay out in detail the evidence supporting their position that Trump committed impeachable offenses (and should, therefore, be impeached). Republicans are attempting to explain why Trump did not commit impeachable offenses (and should, therefore, not be impeached).
Click here for a summary of the evidence presented by both sides.
Planned recess if House vote occurs before end of questioning
After more than nine hours of questioning, the hearing is nearing an end with only a few committee members left. Chairman Nadler informed the committee that if a scheduled vote on unrelated House business happens before the end of questioning, the members will recess and return.
Comey reacts to Russia probe IG report: Trump's attacks were 'all nonsense'
In his first interview since the release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report Monday, former FBI Director James Comey said the findings prove that President Donald Trump's attacks on him and other FBI officials were "all nonsense."
“It was all made up. Two years of sitting silently at the FBI while you’re lied about, and finally the truth is out,” Comey told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace.
The report concluded that FBI and Department of Justice officials did not demonstrate political bias when they launched their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, contradicting Trump’s repeated claims.
In 2017, Trump fired Comey, who had been leading the Russia probe, prompting the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Comey has since become an outspoken critic of the president.
In spite of the report’s findings, Comey expressed concern over Trump’s attempts to vilify the FBI, stating that “a lot of damage can’t be undone” because “good people believe something that a president of the United States says.”
“[Trump] is never going to be able to use the FBI as a political instrument, which is why he continues to try to burn it down,” he said.
Comey also took aim at Attorney General William Barr's statement disputing the inspector general's report.
"It is very, very serious that the attorney general of the United States first himself made false statements about his premier law enforcement organization,” Comey said. "You think he’d at least have the decency to say to the people of the FBI, 'I was wrong about that. I'm sorry I said that about you.'"
Castor's 'Fresh' fashion statement gets noticed
Castor, the GOP lawyer, raised eyebrows Monday morning when he arrived at the impeachment hearing with a green reusable bag holding his files and folders. He also unwittingly raised the profile of North Carolina-based grocery chain, The Fresh Market, which is now calling itself "the official briefcase maker of Steve Castor" and offering free reusable bags to customers.
The DOJ inspector general's report entered into record
Nadler noted that the Justice Department's inspector general report released today that looked at the probe into Trump's 2016 presidential campaign has been entered into the Judiciary Committee's record.