Trump impeachment trial live coverage: Democrats make case for obstruction
In their final day of arguments, House Democrats presented their case alleging Trump obstructed Congress.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House voted to send impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially received the House managers on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News
Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
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.
Follow us here for all of the latest breaking news and analysis on impeachment from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
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.
'A testament to cowardice': Vindman's attorney responds to Blackburn tweet
Vindman's attorney responded to Blackburn's criticizing him on Twitter:
"Senator Blackburn’s renewed attack on Lt. Col. Vindman reveals her true character — she has failed to follow her oath of impartiality while serving as a juror and she continues to attack Lt. Col. Vindman, a decorated war veteran, by smearing his service to our country and his courageous act of reporting President Trump's misconduct."
The attorney later added, "That a member of the Senate — at a moment when the Senate is undertaking its most solemn responsibility — would choose to take to Twitter to spread slander about a member of the military is a testament to cowardice. While Senator Blackburn fires off defamatory tweets, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman will continue to do what he has always done: serve our country dutifully and with honor.”
Share this -
Jane C. Timm
34d ago / 3:01 AM UTC
Crow's simple argument: There's no alternative explanation
Rep. Crow said Democrats' arguments that Trump committed impeachable offenses boil down to one simple question: how else do you explain it?
"You've heard a lot the last few days about what happened. How do we know that the president ordered the hold to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations that would help his personal political campaign? In other words, how do we know why it happened? We know it because to this day there is no other explanation.”
Crow then began to make his case: “We know it because the senior administration officials including the president's own senior political appointees have confirmed it. And we know it because the presidents own chief of staff said it at a national press conference. And we know because the president himself directed it."
Share this -
Julie Tsirkin and Liz Johnstone
34d ago / 2:45 AM UTC
Graham says he'll 'resist' pressure to call witnesses Trump wants
"I am not going to give into that pressure. Because I don’t think it will serve the Senate and the country well, there's ways to do this outside of the trial," he told reporters.
In the past, Graham has suggested that in the interest of keeping Trump's impeachment trial short, the Bidens could be investigated by Senate committees. The former vice president, Trump has alleged, wielded his influence to benefit his son Hunter Bidens’s private-sector work in Ukraine. But despite Trump's continued claims, there's no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either Biden.
Share this -
34d ago / 2:27 AM UTC
Trump refers to trial as 'impeachment lite' during RNC dinner
Trump on Thursday evening addressed attendees of the RNC's annual winter meeting, which is taking place at his Doral golf resort.
The president didn’t spend too much time talking about his impeachment trial, but he did refer to the entire process as “impeachment lite,” according to two sources in the ballroom. This is a phrase the president has used at recent campaign rallies and he also argued that what he is experiencing now is nothing compared to the “dark days” of Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal.
Apart from that, the president spent most of his lengthy remarks (80+ mins) on all things 2016, reminiscing about his victory and calling up White House counselor and former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to the stage for a standing ovation.
Share this -
34d ago / 2:17 AM UTC
Images show senators playing with fidget spinners during trial
Courtroom sketch artist Bill Hennessy depicted Sens. Tom Cotton and Richard Burr with their fidget spinners.
Share this -
34d ago / 1:50 AM UTC
Just catching up on impeachment news? Here's what you missed today
Democrats on Thursday honed in on their charge that President Donald Trump abused his power, turning to past statements from some of the president's top allies to help make their case on the third day of his Senate impeachment trial.
House prosecutors used old comments from Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Attorney General William Barr and Trump impeachment defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz to bolster their argument that abuse of power is grounds to remove a president — and pointed to Trump's own statements to illustrate his guilt.
Garcia: 'Inescapable documentary proof' of quid pro quo
“There was a corrupt deal, an Oval Office meeting for investigations. Quid pro quo, this for that. You also saw inescapable documentary proof that completely proves a corrupt quid pro quo,” Rep. Garcia said in remarks after the Senate trial dinner break.
She argued that the House inquiry depositions offered overwhelming evidence of the president’s wrongdoing and pointed particularly to Ukrainians’ reaction to Trump’s team’s requests.
“Even Ukraine, a struggling new country, knew this was wrong,” she said.
Share this -
34d ago / 2:15 AM UTC
Sen. Blackburn slams Vindman, suggests he's unpatriotic
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., criticized Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Thursday, suggesting he was unpatriotic for testifying in the House impeachment inquiry. Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient and Iraq War veteran, listened in on the Trump-Zelenskiy call in July.
He told impeachment investigators that "there was no doubt" what Trump was asking Zelenskiy for.
It truly does seem like everyone has a podcast these days — including, apparently, Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has been teasing his for a little while now without a concrete launch date.
"Starting tomorrow we will begin cracking through the Swamp media’s cover-up of TOP level Democrats selling their public office, resulting in multi-millions, in Ukraine and the conspired attempt with foreign officials to 'destroy' the Trump candidacy," Giuliani claimed on Twitter Thursday evening.
House prosecutors have used Giuliani's involvement in Ukraine to underscore their point that if Trump had truly been concerned about corruption as a matter of U.S. policy, his personal lawyer wouldn't have been a central figure in running what impeachment witnesses have described as a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine.
Share this -
Frank Thorp V and Julie Tsirkin
34d ago / 1:35 AM UTC
Trial resumes with Jeffries' arguments on alleged Ukraine pressure campaign
The trial resumed at 7:14 p.m.
McConnell said after consulting with Schiff they will be going until around 10:30 p.m. tonight, so they will take a short break around the midpoint.
At 7:15 p.m., Jeffries resumed arguments. He ran through the series of events surrounding Trump's July call with Zelenskiy, reading text messages and call logs that took place on the alleged diplomatic backchannel in Ukraine.
Democrats had Taylor Gourmet sandwiches for dinner (Schumer says he actually had steak and potatoes homemade by his wife), and Republicans had Carmine's Italian food.
"I was a trial judge for 6 years so I made a point of never eating a heavy meal before you go back on the bench in the afternoon,” said Texas Sen. Cornyn. "It was a mix of pasta and meatballs. It’ll be a killer."
"They’re fattening us up," said South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds.
Share this -
34d ago / 2:37 AM UTC
What's Trump up to today?
What's the latest from the defense team?
Bubbling up tonight: what their opening arguments will look like starting Saturday. Behind the scenes, we continue to hear about the president’s desire to have his broader team aggressively rebut the impeachment managers’ arguments. And officials at the White House have blasted reporters with no fewer than 15 emails over the course of the day trying to make their case.
So where's the president now?
He’s on the ground in South Florida at his Doral resort, getting ready to speak with party bigwigs at the RNC winter retreat. It’d be shocking if he didn’t mention his impeachment trial tonight. Based on new reporting this morning, there’s "huge frustration" on the part of the president and his allies that the House managers still have today and tomorrow to present arguments before the defense can formally begin its rebuttal so it puts a big emphasis on messaging.
You should expect to see another full-court press from the president’s defense team during breaks, and from his allies in Congress on TV today. The strategic teams have been huddling twice daily ahead of arguments as well, and the president has been working the phones with his allies. Overall, though, multiple sources say the president has generally been pleased with his defense team’s presentations (though those only took place on Tuesday during the rules debates.)