The Democratic House managers used their final day of arguments on Friday — the fourth full day of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial — to make their case that President Donald Trump obstructed Congress in denying them witness testimony and documents.
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Highlights from the Senate trial
- Democrats finished hours of arguments in which managers called Trump a "dictator" and a danger to the nation with a plea to the Senate: "Give America a fair trial, she's worth it," lead House manager Rep. Adam Schiff said.
- The White House is set to begin laying out Trump's defense Saturday morning.
- "Get rid of her": A voice appearing to be Trump's is heard on tape demanding Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's ouster.
- Schiff warned his fellow lawmakers that "the next time, it just may be you" who Trump targets.
- Democratic House manager Rep. Val Demings says the evidence is "pretty painful" for senators.
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OMB releases 192 pages of Ukraine-related documents to watchdog group
Just before midnight, the White House Office of Management and Budget released a trove of Ukraine-related documents, "including records that have not been produced to Congress in its impeachment investigation," the watchdog group American Oversight said.
American Oversight obtained the records as part of a number of Freedom of Information Act requests.
"We have an email from the night before the call with the president of Ukraine saying they were drafting the footnote to put that hold in place," Austin Evers, the group's executive director, told MSNBC's Ali Velshi. "So, again, this is black-and-white evidence of the machinations that the president was putting the entire government through to execute his corrupt scheme."
Many of the documents are so redacted as to render them unreadable, according to an initial NBC News review. The pages include emails and letters from several GOP lawmakers and staffers asking for an explanation of the withheld Ukraine aid.
In addition, there are emails from OMB's acting director, Russell Vought, and associate director of national security programs, Michael Duffey, on the morning of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on July 25.
First GOP defection: Collins breaks with party to vote for a Schumer amendment
As expected, Schumer's 10th amendment failed. Unlike with the previous nine amendments, however, the vote did not come down exactly along party lines. Susan Collins of Maine became the first Republican defection of the day, and the amendment was killed, 52-48.
The amendment was to allow senators more time to file responses to motions.
Collins, a moderate Republican who is up for re-election this year, is considered one of the most likely in her party to vote to call witnesses and hear new evidence. She had also pushed McConnell on Tuesday to soften the rules in his proposed blueprint for the trial.
Watch: Sekulow, Nadler trade blows over executive privilege
We're in the home stretch
Schumer's office says there are just two amendments left. After those amendments are finished, the Senate will vote on final passage.
Amendment 9 was tabled at about 1:18 a.m.
The 10th amendment is to allow adequate time for parties to respond.
Trump has tweeted or retweeted over 40 times since 6 a.m. Switzerland time
DAVOS, Switzerland — It's just after 7 a.m. here in Davos, and Trump appears to be up and tweeting.
By an NBC News count, he has tweeted or retweeted more than 40 times since just before 6 a.m. local (midnight ET.) Many are retweets of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, as well as various Republican lawmakers.
Chief Justice Roberts admonishes both sides, flashes back to 1905
Chief Justice John Roberts, who has presided over hours of proceedings, took a moment to rebuke both sides after things got testy between House impeachment manager Jerry Nadler and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow.
"I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body. One reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse," Roberts said.
"In the 1905 Swayne trial, a senator objected when one of the managers used the word 'pettifogging,'" he added, referring to Charles Swayne, a judge who was impeached in 1904 and acquitted by the Senate in 1905. "And the presiding officer said the word ought not to have been used. I don't think we need to aspire to that high a standard but I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are."
Schumer's 9th amendment would pave way for new witnesses, evidence
After the Bolton amendment met its demise, Schumer introduced his ninth amendment. It calls for a Senate vote on any motion to subpoena witnesses and documents.
McConnell's rules resolution includes a provision that says there will be a vote only on whether it would be in order for the Senate to vote on motions to subpoena witnesses and documents. To get to actual votes on witnesses and documents, this amendment would have to pass first.
Schumer's latest amendment would eliminate that obstacle and provide for a vote on any motion to subpoena witnesses and documents after the question period.
Nadler rips Trump's 'absolute immunity' defense as debate gets heated
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., arguing in support of an amendment that would have the Senate subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton, blasted a defense cited by Trump's legal team as well as Trump's attorneys in courtrooms across the country: absolute immunity.
"Obviously, this is ridiculous. It's been flatly rejected by every federal court to consider the idea. It's embarrassing the president's counsel would talk about this today," Nadler said of the strategy before turning a critical eye to the senators before him.
"The president is on trial in the Senate, but the Senate is on trial in the eyes of the American people. Will you vote to allow all the relevant evidence to be presented here? Or will you betray you pledge to be an impartial juror?" Nadler said.
"Will you bring Ambassador Bolton here? Will you permit us to present you with the entire record of the president's misconduct? Or will you instead choose to be complicit in the president's cover-up? So far, I'm sad to say I see a lot of senators voting for a cover-up, voting to deny witnesses, an absolutely indefensible vote, obviously a treacherous vote."
Trump attorney Pat Cipollone said it was Nadler who should be embarrassed.
"The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you for the way you've addressed this body. This is the United States Senate. You're not in charge here," Cipollone shot back.
Trump's legal team has argued that White House aides have "absolute immunity" to ignore congressional subpoenas, and many did so during the House's impeachment inquiry. But the argument has been rebuffed in court.
A federal judge ruled in November that former White House counsel Don McGahn must obey a subpoena for testimony issued by the House Judiciary Committee, writing in her ruling: "With respect to senior-level presidential aides, absolute immunity from compelled congressional process simply does not exist."
'A drug deal': What Bolton could tell Congress about Ukraine affair
John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, had a front-row seat to the White House's Ukraine dealings, including the decision to withhold military aid.
Fiona Hill, Trump's former top Russia expert, testified that Bolton was so disturbed by the administration's effort to persuade Ukraine to investigate Trump's political opponents that he called it a "drug deal" and wanted to alert White House lawyers. Hill also testified that Bolton, who was her boss, called Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was heavily involved in the Ukraine pressure campaign, a "hand grenade."
Bolton, who left his post on poor terms with the president, announced this month that he is willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed.
Highly anticipated Bolton amendment arrives
The seventh amendment was tabled along party lines, just like the six before it.
And now the moment everyone has been waiting for: a subpoena for John Bolton's testimony.
Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, did not testify during the House impeachment inquiry, saying at the time that he would fight a subpoena. However, he has since walked back that stance and said he would testify if subpoenaed. The administration has indicated that Trump is likely to try to block it.
Bolton is a key impeachment witness, as he was privy to much of the administration's Ukraine efforts. In particular, he had raised concerns about Rudy Giuliani's role in shaping Ukraine policy.