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Analysis after a contentious second day of Judiciary Committee testimony

Presenting the evidence: The House Judiciary Committee is hearing from lawyers for Democrats and Republicans about the Intelligence Committee's investigation into Trump.

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The House Judiciary Committee on Monday heard from lawyers for both Democrats and Republicans on findings from the Intelligence Committee's impeachment inquiry over allegations that President Donald Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in order to pressure its government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

Witnesses for the Intelligence Committee included majority counsel Daniel Goldman and the Republicans' lawyer, Steve Castor. Also on the witness list was Barry Berke, majority counsel for the Judiciary Committee. The hearing began at 9 a.m.

Follow us here for all of the latest breaking news and analysis from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HIGHLIGHTS

  • The House will announce articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday, multiple sources told NBC News. They are expected to be abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
  • The Monday hearing, which included roughly nine hours of testimony, was marked by interruptions and fiery exchanges.
  • Rudy Giuliani's role in the push by Trump to investigate a political rival once again became the focus during an intense round of questioning by the Democrats' lawyer.
  • As the Republicans' lawyer was being questioned, the Justice Department inspector general released its long-awaited report examining the origins of the probe into Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Download the NBC News mobile app for the latest news on the impeachment inquiry

Live Blog

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.  

Trump (very briefly) weighs in on hearing

Trump, during a White House event about school choice, was asked if he had watched any of Monday's testimony. Yes, the president said, "a little." 

"I did, I watched a little bit, very little ... it's a disgrace, it's a disgrace to our country, it's a hoax and it should never ever be allowed to happen again," Trump said of the impeachment inquiry. 

'Kangaroo court': Republicans slam process, Dem lawyer

Republican lawmakers have largely used their time to lambaste the impeachment inquiry and attack Goldman. 

Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, refused to ask the witnesses questions during his time and instead castigated Goldman for the way in which Democrats have run the hearing and his reluctance to answer some of their questions about how the House Intelligence Committee compiled its report and how call logs made it into the impeachment report. 

 

Gohmert called the process a "kangaroo court" and seemed to argue that there is little difference between Biden, acting on behalf of the Obama administration, demanding the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor and Trump allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival. 

"We already got the forms. All we have to do is eliminate Donald Trump’s name and put Joe Biden’s name," he said. "He’s already admitted to the crime that’s been foisted on the president."

Biden's ‘No Malarkey’ tour defense declared 'a lot of malarkey’

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, criticized Hunter Biden’s top dollar work in Ukraine and his father’s defense of it, zeroing in on a testy spat the former vice president had with a voter last week during his ‘No Malarkey’ campaign tour.

The former vice president “falsely stating once again that nobody said there was anything wrong with his son’s deal in Ukraine,” Chabot said. “That’s a lot of malarkey!”

 

Old-timey phrases aside, Chabot’s retelling of the spat is inaccurate: Biden was accused of directing his son to take a job in Ukraine and sell access. There’s no evidence the elder Biden was involved in his son’s work. While there are ample critics who say Hunter’s work presents an appearance of conflict of interest, there are no credible claims that his father was at all involved.

Comey tweets Fox News canceled on him

Following the release of the Justice Department inspector general's report, former FBI director James Comey said in a tweet that he was bounced from a Tuesday morning appearance on "Fox & Friends," but he will be on MSNBC during the 4 p.m. hour today.

Fox News later issued a statement refuting that he was slated to be on as a guest. 

“James Comey was not booked and was never confirmed to appear on Fox & Friends,” the statement said.

The Economist says it is 'puzzled' by Sen. Kennedy's Ukraine claim on 'Meet the Press'

The Economist magazine refuted a claim made by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election in a letter released to NBC News on Monday. 

The publication said it was "puzzled" after Kennedy claimed multiple times during an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Dec. 1 that Kyiv interfered in the election citing multiple news outlets to support his allegation. 

"I think both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. I think it's been well documented in the Financial Times, in Politico, in The Economist, in the Washington Examiner, even on CBS, that the prime minister of Ukraine, the interior minister, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, the head of the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption League, all meddled in the election on social media and otherwise," Kennedy said. 

However, John Prideaux, the U.S. editor of The Economist, cited in the letter two articles of its reporting on Ukraine refuting that claim, one of which reported that the then-Ukrainian president favored Hillary Clinton but did not direct any of its government agencies to meddle in the election. It also reported that Ukrainian officials at the time supported Clinton because they believed she would be tougher on Russia than Trump.

"But there is no evidence we have seen that Ukraine was engaged in subversion or disinformation, which is what Sen. Kennedy seems to be implying," Prideaux wrote. 

The president and his allies, including some Republican lawmakers, have floated a debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine — not Russia — that interfered in the election. U.S intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Hearing has resumed

After a 10-minute recess, the hearing is back in session. 

DOJ inspector general report drops during impeachment hearing as witnesses grilled

Just as impeachment witnesses were being grilled during the second House Judiciary Committee hearing, the Justice Department inspector general released its long-awaited report examining the origins of the probe into Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. 

Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the investigation was justified and was not tainted by political bias, refuting Trump and his allies who have argued that partisanship drove the FBI probe. 

 

It also found, however, that the FBI mishandled parts of its application to monitor Carter Page, a Trump campaign aide, as it was probing Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Horowitz concluded that the investigation was launched because of evidence the Russian government was using emissaries to contact the Trump campaign as part of its efforts to influence the election.

Read the full article here

Goldman details Trump's political interests in alleged demand for investigations

Goldman made a key point when breaking down the political implications of Trump's alleged attempt to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Goldman, a seasoned prosecutor, noted the fact that Trump wanted only the announcement of an investigation by the Ukrainians is an indication of him wanting it to help his campaign because investigations are done covertly and then an announcement is made. 

He also undercut the Republican argument that there was no bribery because the needed military aid was released after the whistleblower complaint began to circulate in the administration and news of Congress inquiring about the holdup. 

Watch as Collins has testy back-and-forth with Goldman over call records

Collins and Goldman had one of the fiercest exchanges of the day, with Collins shouting at Goldman over the House Intelligence Committee releasing call logs from Giuliani and his indicted associate Lev Parnas that showed conversations with Nunes and conservative journalist John Solomon.

Pressed on who looked for Nunes' phone number in the call information they received, which appeared to come from subpoenas the committee made to AT&T, Goldman said he would not address how they conducted the investigation. On why it was decided to include the information in the report, Goldman said it was peripheral evidence to the probe and that questions about the calls were better addressed to the individuals who were actually on the calls.

 

“I’m done with you right now,” Collins said to Goldman at one point when Goldman was trying to expand upon an answer. Minutes earlier, Republicans were criticizing Democrats for "badgering" their counsel, Castor.

Collins also pushed Goldman to say who authorized the release of the phone call information in the report, to which Goldman said he would not address specific deliberations of the investigation.

At another point, Collins criticized Goldman for suggesting Sondland landed his ambassadorship because he was a major Trump donor. Sondland donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration.

"Mr. Goldman, you’re a great attorney, but you’re not Adam Schiff and you don’t wear a pin,” Collins said. Gaetz later jumped in, shouting at Goldman that Republicans "want Schiff in that chair and not you."

In conclusion, Goldman tried to offer a closing statement in the exchange but Collins cut him off, saying, "you won't answer my questions, so we're done.