The fast-moving impeachment of President Donald Trump, stemming from his dealings with Ukraine, moved to the Senate for trial in January after the House voted a month earlier to adopt two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The Senate voted in early February to acquit the president on both charges.
Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Read all of the breaking news and analysis on impeachment from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
Trump impeachment highlights
- Trump is acquitted by the Senate on both articles of impeachment, with one GOP defector.
- Senate moves to impeachment trial endgame.
- Senators ask final questions before critical vote on witnesses.
- Senators probe prosecution, defense.
- The president's defense delivers closing arguments.
- Trump's legal team digs in.
- The president's defense begins.
- Democrats make case for obstruction.
- Trump impeached by the House on both articles of impeachment.
- Impeachment inquiry witnesses testify: Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill and others.
Download the NBC News mobile app for the latest news on the impeachment inquiry
Trump's legal team asserts president did 'absolutely nothing wrong,' urges Senate to acquit
President Donald Trump did "absolutely nothing wrong," is the victim of a partisan plot to take him down and should be swiftly acquitted in a Senate trial, his legal team argued in a brief Monday.
The 110-page trial memo, prepared for submission to the Senate a day before the president's impeachment trial begins in earnest, counters House Democrats' argument that Trump abused the power of his office for personal gain by working to pressure Ukraine to announce politically advantageous investigations and then, once caught, sought to obstruct Congress' investigation.
Read the full story here. And read the full brief below:
Some Senate trial details emerge
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's organizing resolution — the measure laying out how President Donald Trump's impeachment trial will be conducted — will afford both sides of the case 24 hours each for opening statements, but that time must be packed into two working days, two Republican sources familiar with the proposal said Monday.
The number of hours per side would be the same as what was allotted for President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999. Arguments for both sides ended up spanning three days each, and even then, neither the House impeachment managers nor Clinton's defense team used up their full 24 hours.
With the start of Trump's trial just a day away, Senate Democrats have protested about being kept in the dark about procedural details. A draft of McConnell's rules for the trial has not yet been made public, though several GOP senators have offered clues.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that after House impeachment and the president's defense team present, there would be "16 hours of questions submitted by the members in writing" to Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told "Meet the Press" that “there hasn't been the most basic negotiation or exchange of information” between Democratic and Republican leadership teams.
Trump forced to take a back seat in his impeachment defense with Senate set to begin
In what will be one of the most crucial moments of his presidency, Donald Trump will find himself in an uncomfortable position, taking a back seat as someone else mounts his public defense.
Just days before opening arguments begin in his Senate impeachment trial, the president was still his own most visible and vocal defender.
But as the trial begins in earnest on Tuesday, Trump will be handing over the reins for one of the most crucial moments of his presidency to a team of his staunchest cable TV legal defenders, including former independent counsel Ken Starr, the famed defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Read the full story here.
White House's top Russia official put on leave pending investigation
The top White House official responsible for Russia and Europe has been put on administrative leave indefinitely amid a security-related investigation, two U.S. officials and a former U.S. official tell NBC News.
Andrew Peek, who took over the Russia portfolio at the White House National Security Council in November, had been scheduled to join President Donald Trump at the Davos Forum this week before he was abruptly put on leave, one of the officials said. The officials declined to specify the nature of the investigation.
Dershowitz: Trump shouldn't be removed from office even if he is guilty of House charges
Famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, who recently signed on to assist President Donald Trump's impeachment legal team, said Sunday that Trump should not be removed from office even if he is guilty of everything the House has accused him of in the articles of impeachment.
"Congress was wrong in impeaching for these two articles," he told ABC's "This Week." "They are not articles of impeachment. The articles of impeachment are two non-criminal actions."
Host George Stephanopoulos then asked, "Is it your position that President Trump should not be impeached even if all the evidence and arguments laid out by the House are accepted as fact?"
Dershowitz responded, "When you have somebody who, for example, is indicted for a crime — let's assume you have a lot of evidence — but the grand jury simply indicts for something that's not a crime, and that's what happened here, you have a lot of evidence, disputed evidence, that could go both ways, but the vote was to impeach on abuse of power, which is not within the constitutional criteria for impeachment, and obstruction of Congress."
Dem senator says he's 'fine' with Hunter Biden testifying in impeachment trial
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Sunday that he's "fine" with Republicans calling former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden as a witness in President Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial.
"We take the position that we want to hear from witnesses," Brown told CNN's "State of the Union." "I don't know what Hunter Biden has to do with the phone call the president made."
"I think many Republicans think that's a distraction," he added. "That's what Republican senators tell me quietly."
Democrats and Republicans have been battling for weeks over just how much more information will be presented at the trial, which is set to begin Tuesday.
GOP senator on Trump asking Ukraine, China for political help: 'Things happen'
During an interview with ABC's "This Week", host George Stephanopoulos asked Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, "Setting aside whether it's an impeachable offense, do you think it was proper for the president to solicit foreign interference in our election?"
"Well, I don't know that has been actually proven," Shelby said.
Stephanopoulos then pointed to Trump's public calls to have Ukraine and China probe the Bidens over the younger Biden's business dealings in the two countries.
Shelby said those calls were just political statements.
"I didn't say it was OK," Shelby said, adding, "people do things. Things happen."
Schiff says intelligence community withholding documents on Ukraine
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday that the National Security Agency is withholding "potentially relevant documents" from Congress regarding Ukraine just as President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial is set to start.
"The intelligence community is beginning to withhold documents from Congress on the issue of Ukraine," Schiff told ABC's "This Week." "They appear to be succumbing to pressure from the administration. The NSA in particular is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on Ukraine, but also withholding documents potentially relevant that the senators might want to see during the trial."
"That is deeply concerning," Schiff continued. "And there are signs that the CIA may be on the same tragic course. We are counting on the intelligence community not only to speak truth to power but to resist pressure from the administration to withhold information from Congress because the administration fears that they incriminate them."
Perdue on Lev Parnas: 'This is a distraction'
Trump forced to take a back seat in his impeachment defense as Senate trial begins
WASHINGTON — In what will be one of the most crucial moments of his presidency, Donald Trump will find himself in a position he’s proven uncomfortable with — having to take a back seat as someone else mounts his public defense.
With just days until opening arguments in his Senate impeachment trial, the president was still his own most visible and vocal defender. "I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!" he tweeted on Thursday. “They’re trying to impeach the son of a bitch, can you believe that?” he complained Friday to Louisiana State University's NCAA football champion team during their White House visit.
But as that trial begins in earnest on Tuesday, Trump will be handing over the reins for one of the most crucial moments of his presidency to a team of his staunchest cable TV legal defenders, including former independent counsel Ken Starr, famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi.
House managers cite 'overwhelming' evidence against Trump in their brief to Senate
House managers in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump filed their brief to the Senate on Saturday outlining a "compelling case" against Trump, who will deliver his own brief to the chamber on Monday.
The House managers, seven Democratic congressional leaders who will try the case against Trump during the Senate trial starting next week, say in the briefthat the evidence against Trump is "overwhelming" and proves he used his official power to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the upcoming 2020 election.
It details instances in which members of Trump's internal circle defied congressional subpoenas and refused to cooperate with a House investigation. The House managers called Trump's behavior "the Framers' worst nightmare" and said Trump's actions present a "danger to our democratic processes."
Who is Robert Hyde? The latest character in the Trump impeachment saga has a wild backstory
Robert Hyde once said he was "never really into politics" until Donald Trump ran for president, but thanks to the impeachment saga, the two men may be inextricably linked.
Democrats are calling for an investigation into the actions of Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate and onetime landscaper, after the emergence of menacing-sounding messages he traded with Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
In the WhatsApp messages, which House Democrats released Tuesday night, Hyde, who is running for Congress in Connecticut, indicated that he was tracking the movements of Marie Yovanovitch in Kyiv when she was the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Giuliani had been pushing to have Yovanovitch pulled from her post because he saw her as an impediment in his bid to get the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a Trump rival.
"They are moving her tomorrow," Hyde said in a message to Parnas on March 25.
Trump lawyer dismisses new evidence, including photos of the president with Lev Parnas
Less than 12 hours after the White House announced President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial defense team, new questions have emerged about connections between some of his lawyers and figures at the center of the Ukraine investigation.
A document dump from the House Judiciary Committee overnight Friday included more information about Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who is currently under federal indictment for his alleged role in the political pressure campaign in Ukraine.
The released documents included photos of Parnas with President Trump as well as shots of him with Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general who is among the lawyers on the president's impeachment team.
Bondi in an interview on NBC's "TODAY" on Saturday morning dismissed the photos.
Texts suggest Trump backer sent Parnas info about Ambassador Yovanovitch
New text messages released by House Democrats on Friday indicate Robert Hyde, the Republican congressional candidate who told Lev Parnas he had a U.S. ambassador under surveillance, was passing along to Parnas information he’d received from another Trump supporter who claimed knowledge of the ambassador’s whereabouts.
Hyde identified the man in texts to NBC News and on Twitter as Anthony de Caluwe and said he’d merely copied and pasted the information to Parnas from messages he’d received from de Caluwe.
Reached by email, de Caluwe told NBC News that Hyde’s statements were "incorrect." He confirmed that Hyde had indeed asked him for information about Marie Yovanovitch's whereabouts but he had declined to help Hyde.
New evidence shows Nunes aide communicated with Parnas on Ukraine
New evidence released Friday by House Democrats shows Derek Harvey, a former White House official and top aide to GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, communicated extensively with Lev Parnas about both Ukraine aid and setting up Skype interviews with former Ukrainian prosecutors.
The messages show that Harvey was far more involved than previously known in what appears to be a robust effort by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to investigate Ukraine-related matters.
The documents released Friday include messages between Parnas and Harvey arranging times to meet and to speak by phone, and sharing articles and tweets about Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and alleged Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, claims that have been called an unfounded conspiracy theory.
Meet Trump's legal team for the impeachment trial
The legal team for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate includes some high-profile names, including well-known personalities from television appearances and presidencies past, according to sources familiar with Trump's legal strategy.
Here's who's on the team so far, according to the sources.
Article II: Inside Impeachment — Lev Parnas speaks
On Friday’s episode of Article II, host Steve Kornacki talks to Josh Lederman, national political reporter for NBC News, about the new allegations being made by indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and how these claims will factor into a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
The two discuss:
- What’s in the trove of texts, voice mails and other records that were released for possible use during the impeachment trial.
- Who is implicated by Parnas’s allegations.
- The possible motivations behind his account.
- How this new evidence will shape the fight over witnesses and other aspects of the Senate trial.
ANALYSIS: Trump may discredit an impeachment trial designed to acquit him
As his impeachment trial opens Tuesday, President Donald Trump's instinct for creating chaos represents an imminent threat to Senate Republicans' ability to protect him, and themselves.
That is, the more Trump discredits the Senate during his trial, the more he discredits an outcome engineered to help him now and as he seeks re-election.
For Republicans, the challenge is to acquit Trump while using the trappings of the Senate to present as much of a patina of high-minded fairness and objectivity as possible. And no venue in American politics is more aptly designed to preserve his power than a Senate that has perfected the art of smothering justice with solemnity.
Pompeo vows to 'evaluate' possible surveillance of ex-Ukraine envoy
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he will look into revelations that former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch might have been under surveillance, and possibly even in harm's way, before she was ousted last spring in what Democrats allege was part of President Donald Trump's effort to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats.
"We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there," Pompeo said in an interview on the conservative talk-radio show "Tony Katz Today." "I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation — my obligation as secretary of state — is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate. Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that."
Ukraine announced this week that it was opening an investigation into the possible surveillance of the ex-U.S. envoy, which recent reports said could violate Ukrainian and international law.
The possibility that Yovanovitch's movements had been closely watched came to light in records House Democrats obtained from Lev Parnas, a close associate of Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. In text messages to Parnas, a Trump donor named Robert Hyde, who is running for a House seat in Connecticut, disparaged Yovanovitch and gave him updates on her location and cellphone use.
Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called upon the State Department to investigate the matter.
In his interview Friday, Pompeo also said he had never met Parnas "to the best of my knowledge. I’ve never encountered, never communicated with him."
He added in a separate interview Friday with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt that he didn't know Yovanovitch was being surveilled: "Until this story broke, I had, to the best of my recollection, had never heard of this at all."
History shows Chief Justice John Roberts could cast tie-breaking votes at Trump's impeachment trial
A major question looms over President Donald Trump's impeachment trial: Will there be any witnesses?
The decision will be up to a simple 51-vote majority of the Senate under the chamber's rules, meaning the 47 Democratic senators are looking for four Republicans to back their demand that several top current and former Trump administration officials testify.
But there's another way witnesses could get called. Democrats could reach the simple majority threshold with just three Republican members if the presiding officer breaks the resulting 50-50 tie. In normal Senate business, that that job would fall to Vice President Mike Pence, the president of the Senate. But the rare instance of an impeachment trial is presided over by the chief justice, in this case John Roberts, who was officially sworn in for the role on Thursday.
Indicted Giuliani associate Parnas says Trump ordered Ukraine ambassador's firing several times before recall
Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, claimed in an interview that aired Thursday that President Donald Trump ordered the firing of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine several times before her recall was publicly announced in April.
"He fired her probably, at — to my knowledge — at least four or five times," Parnas said in the second part of an interview on MSNBC’s "The Rachel Maddow Show." Parnas and another man have been charged with allegedly funneling money from foreign entities to U.S. candidates in a scheme to buy political influence.
Parnas said Trump once tried to fire Yovanovitch at a dinner in a private area of a Trump hotel.
Trump impeachment defense team expected to include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz
President Donald Trump's defense team for the Senate trial is expected to include former independent counsel Ken Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton, and defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Dershowitz's past clients include financier Jeffrey Epstein and O.J. Simpson. Also expected to join the team is Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr as Clinton special counsel, the source said. Another source familiar with the White House's plans said Pam Bondi, former Florida attorney general, will join the team as well.
Reacting to watchdog report on Ukraine funding split down party lines
Reaction to the GAO report released earlier Thursday, which said the Trump administration violated the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine, was split down party lines.
"The OMB, the White House, the administration — I'm saying this — broke the law," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters after the decision was released. Pelosi said the finding illustrate the administration's "tangled web to deceive."
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., tweeted that the GAO decision demonstrates "without a doubt" that "the president himself ordered this illegal act." Van Hollen had requested the office review the hold in October.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D.-Vt., said, "Congress chose to provide military assistance to an ally which is literally under attack by Russia, and the law required that aid to be delivered. But instead of executing the law and standing with our ally, the president withheld the aid to serve his own political interests."
Republican senators indicated the ruling would not change their minds.
"My understanding of the impoundment act was that you cannot withhold money after the end of the fiscal year. I don't know any other requirements in the impoundment act," said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
"I mean I think that the president has the right to move money around and all the presidents have worked within this realm, but none of that really rises to anything even remotely close to something you'd impeach somebody over," he said.
Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama suggested the timing of the decision's release was political. "I don't recall offhand the GAO ever getting involved in a partisan political game and they're right in here, you know?" Shelby said.
Reading, campaigning, praying: Senators get ready for the Trump impeachment trial
How do you get ready to serve as jurors weighing whether a president should be removed from office? Senators have just four days left to find out.
Some members are spending the final weekend diving into background material.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he took notes on the Senate floor Thursday as Schiff read the articles and plans to further review them as well as trial briefs before the trial begins next week.
“I'll get a copy of the [Congressional Record] to review them again and look at the various fine points of the elements of both articles of impeachment,” he said, adding that he plans to review the trial briefs that the House and White House counsel must deliver before Tuesday, which will outline their arguments.
Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said that he’s been paying attention to the case from the get-go — but others, he said, might need to invest more time catching up on the details.
“For any of us who haven’t been preparing, they’re cramming right now,” he said. “I’d say it’s like a test back in college — you probably need to be prepared.”
The view as lawmakers leave the Capitol
FBI visits Robert Hyde's home and office after he's swept into Ukraine scheme
The FBI paid a visit to Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde's Connecticut home and business on Thursday, a senior law enforcement official said.
The agent's visit comes days after the House Intelligence Committee released texts Hyde sent an associate of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani suggesting he was surveilling then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
A spokesperson for the FBI field office in New Haven, Connecticut declined to comment. Hyde did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
One of Hyde's neighbors told NBC News that an FBI agent arrived at Hyde's home before dawn and parked out front in a gray SUV. The neighbor said they believed the FBI agent did not enter Hyde's home and left by 10:30 a.m. Hyde has a "No Trespassing" sign on his property and a sign indicating security cameras are in operation, the neighbor said.
Hyde told NBC News earlier this week that he was drunk and unserious when he sent the texts to Giuliani's now-indicted associate Lev Parnas. In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, Parnas called Hyde a "weird" character he met at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and doubted that Hyde was actually surveilling Yovanovitch.
Chief Justice John Roberts swears in senators for Trump impeachment trial
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrived at the Senate Thursday afternoon to swear in the nation’s senators for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Roberts himself was sworn in to preside over the trial before he asked the senators to “solemnly swear” to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”
Two Republican and two Democratic senators — Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. — escorted the chief justice to the chamber before he was sworn in by the Senate’s president pro tempore, Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Schiff reads articles of impeachment against Trump on Senate floor
The seven House managers chosen to serve as the prosecution in the Senate trial are making another procession from the House to the Senate chamber Thursday to present and read the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The managers began that procession through Statuary Hall and the Capitol Rotunda at noon ET. The lead manager, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., then read the two articles on the Senate floor as the other managers faced the dais.
"Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the presidency, in that: Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States presidential election," Schiff said, reading the text of the first article into a microphone. "He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his re-election, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States presidential election to his advantage."
Trump administration violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid, Government Accountability Office says
The Trump administration violated the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a decision released Thursday.
"Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law," the government watchdog said. "OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA."
The ruling was released hours before senators were set to be sworn in for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. The House impeached the president for abuse of power, alleging that the president withheld the Ukraine aid for personal and political gain, as well as for obstructing the congressional probe into the hold.
Ukraine launches probe into alleged surveillance of former U.S. envoy
Ukraine has launched criminal investigations into the possible illegal surveillance of former U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and the reported hacking of Burisma Holdings, the natural gas company at the center of the Trump impeachment.
"Ukraine's position is not to interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States of America," the Interior Ministry, which runs the police forces, said in a statement.
However, recent reports pointed to the possible violation of Ukrainian and international law, it said.
"Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities on the territory of its own state," the statement added.
Earlier this week, records released by House Democrats appeared to show that before she was ousted by the Trump administration last spring, Yovanovitch was being closely monitored.
Giuliani associate Parnas says Trump 'knew exactly what was going on'
Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani who has been implicated in an alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, says, "President Trump knew exactly what was going on."
"He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn't do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials," Parnas, who faces campaign finance charges and was arrested while trying to leave the country, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in an interview that aired Wednesday night. "I mean, they have no reason to speak to me," he said, referring to Ukraine's current president and other of the country's top officials.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in response Thursday morning: "These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison. The facts haven’t changed — the president did nothing wrong and this impeachment, which was manufactured and carried out by the Democrats has been a sham from the start."
Giuliani denied after the interview that he told Ukrainian officials that Parnas spoke on behalf of Trump, responding that his associate "never" spoke for the president. Asked by NBC News whether he believed Parnas was lying, Giuliani said, "All I can say is the truth."
Read more from Maddow's interview of Parnas about Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and others.
What to expect Thursday in the Senate impeachment trial
After the historic transmittal of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate on Wednesday, here's what we expect in the Senate impeachment trial Thursday:
- At noon, the House impeachment managers will formally present the articles of impeachment — a process that took fewer than 15 minutes during the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999.
- Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, will preside as the president pro tempore and will call on the sergeant-at-arms to present the impeachment managers. The sergeant-at-arms will then make the following proclamation, set forth in Senate rules: "Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, President of the United States."
- The lead manager, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will read the resolution establishing the managers and the articles of impeachment.
- At 2 p.m., Chief Justice John Roberts will arrive, escorted by two Republicans (it's still unknown who they will be) and two Democrats (Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Dianne Feinstein of California), to swear in all 100 senators — a process that took a little over 20 minutes in 1999.
- Roberts will then read the following oath to the body: "Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?"
- The Senate clerk will then call up senators in groups of four to sign the impeachment oath book at the desk, which senators must do to sit in the trial.
- Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to take some housekeeping measures, which could shed light on what next week will entail past Tuesday's consideration of the organizing resolution.
Article II - Special Delivery
Today on Article II, Steve Kornacki talks to Capitol Hill producer Alex Moe about the historic day in Washington that began with the naming of the house impeachment managers and ended with the delivery of the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The two discuss:
- Who the seven House managers are and why they were chosen.
- What happens now that the articles are in the hands of the Senate.
- How new evidence could shape the trajectory of the Senate trial.
House sends impeachment articles to Senate
The two articles of impeachment were signed by Pelosi at a historic engrossment ceremony Wednesday evening and then hand-delivered to the Senate in a procession through the Capitol that was led by the House clerk and sergeant-at-arms and included the House managers.
Pelosi was flanked at the ceremony by the House managers, who will serve as the prosecution in the Senate trial, and committee chairs who conducted the impeachment inquiry. The speaker signed the articles using several pens, which she then distributed to the managers and committee heads as keepsakes.
The seven managers then followed House Clerk Cheryl Johnson, who carried the articles, into Statuary Hall, past Pelosi's leadership office, through the Capitol Rotunda and then past Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office. The House clerk then took the articles into the Senate chamber.
As the message that the articles were transmitted was read aloud, all the senators in the room turned around to look except McConnell, who faced forward to the dais, not turning around once to see the scene unfold behind him.
House votes to send articles of impeachment to Senate
The House voted Wednesday to send the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, a move that will allow his trial to begin on Tuesday.
The two articles, charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, will later be walked from the House side of the Capitol to the Senate side, where they will be received by the secretary of the Senate.
The House vote also formally approved the seven “managers” selected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to prosecute the case against the president.
Sen. Blunt: Impeachment trial could take 3 weeks or more
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said Wednesday that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump could last "a minimum of three weeks."
"Hard to imagine it would be less than two," he said. "Something in the neighborhood of three weeks, maybe as many as five. But we'll just have to see."
Blunt was also asked if he had any new thoughts on calling witnesses after House Democrats released records on Tuesday that showed Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, wrote a letter requesting a private meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, then the president-elect of Ukraine, with Trump's "knowledge and consent."
"My initial view of the evidence last night is there's not much there that hasn't been already acknowledged by either the President or Mr. Giuliani," he said.
Blunt added that doesn't "see much enthusiasm" for including a motion to dismiss the impeachment articles in the Senate rules for the trial — comments that come on the heels of other Republican senators expressing similar sentiments.
"Anybody, including any of the president's lawyers, can make a motion to dismiss any time they want to, but I think there is a significant desire on our side for the president to be heard, for the other side to necessarily be heard, for the equal amount of attention," he said, adding that he thought both sides deserve the right to be heard under the Constitution.
House committee probing possible threats to Marie Yovanovitch
Records released Tuesday by House Democrats appear to show that former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was being closely monitored by a Republican congressional candidate, her physical movements tracked in real time along with her computer and phone use.
The documents include WhatsApp exchanges between Giuliani associate Parnas and Robert Hyde, a GOP candidate for Congress in Connecticut, where they appear to be discussing Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed from her post at Giuliani's urging.
Yovanovitch on Tuesday night through her lawyer called for authorities to investigate whether her movements in Ukraine were indeed being monitored as Hyde suggested in the text messages released tonight.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Elliot Engel said on Wednesday that he was doing just that.
"Yesterday, the Foreign Affairs Committee staff contacted the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security to flag this information and seek assurances that proper steps have been taken to ensure the security of Embassy Kyiv and that of Ambassador Yovanovitch. I’m grateful for the Department’s quick response and confident this matter is getting the attention it merits," he said in a statement.
He added, "The Foreign Affairs Committee will now seek to learn what, if anything, the State Department knew about this situation at the time these messages were sent. Today, I will convey a formal request for documents, information, and a briefing from senior officials related to this matter. This unprecedented threat to our diplomats must be thoroughly investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
What senators can say, read and do: Decorum guidelines for Trump's impeachment trial
Here are the guidelines for how senators are to conduct themselves during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, which is expected to begin on Tuesday. They were put out by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
- Senators should plan to be in attendance at all times during the proceedings.
- Upon the announcement of the arrival of the chief justice, senators should all silently rise at their desks and remain standing until the chief justice takes his seat. Similarly, when the chief justice departs, senators should rise and remain standing until he has exited the chamber.
- Senators will only have the opportunity for limited speech at the trial. Members should refrain from speaking to neighboring senators while the case is being presented.
- Reading materials should be confined to only those readings which pertain to the matter before the Senate.
- No use of phones or electronic devices will be allowed in the chamber. All electronics should be left in the cloakroom in the storage provided.
Senate weighs restricting reporters during Trump impeachment trial
The Senate is weighing significant restrictions on reporters covering the upcoming impeachment trial, including limiting the movements of reporters and upping security screenings for the press.
The Standing Committee of Correspondents, an elected body of journalists that govern and advocate for print media, wrote to Senate leaders on Tuesday "vigorously" objecting to the proposed restrictions, which the group said included forcing reporters into penned areas and barring them from walking freely around outside the Senate chambers.
They said it was not clear how the proposed rules added to safety "rather than simply limit coverage of the trial."
Presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, said on Tuesday night after the debate that she did not support the change.
Pelosi names 7 House Democrats who will present case against Trump at Senate trial
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday announced the seven House Democrats who will act as the "managers" in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
The managers are: Reps. Adam Schiff of California, who will be the lead manager; Jerry Nadler of New York' Hakeem Jeffries of New York; Jason Crow of Colorado; Zoe Lofgren of California; Val Demings of Florida; and Sylvia Garcia of Texas.
The managers have varied biographies: Schiff was a federal prosecutor; Demings was a police chief; several are attorneys, and Lofgren was a staffer on the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment and a House member during the Clinton impeachment.
Pelosi said the House would vote Wednesday afternoon to approve the managers and transmit the two articles of impeachment to the Senate. The trial is set to begin on Tuesday; it's not yet clear if witnesses will be called.
Giuliani sought private meeting with Ukrainian president, documents show
Rudy Giuliani wrote a letter requesting a private meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, then the president-elect of Ukraine, with President Donald Trump's "knowledge and consent," according to records released by House Democrats Tuesday.
The letter was part of the evidence turned over to the House impeachment investigators by lawyers for Lev Parnas, the Giuliani associate who is awaiting trial on campaign finances charges. It bolsters Democrats' argument that Giuliani was doing Trump's bidding by trying to dig up dirt on political rival Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.
Trump has previously tried to distance himself from his attorney's effort, saying in November that "I didn't direct him."
Schumer says some Republicans could support call for witnesses, documents
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday on ABC's "The View" that some Republican senators are considering supporting his call for witnesses and documents in the Senate impeachment trial.
"You know, what Joe Friday used to say, "Just the facts, ma'am," on the old 'Dragnet' show. That's what we want, 'just the facts, ma'am,' and we're making progress," Schumer said. "Some of the Republicans are now beginning to say, 'Maybe we need witnesses and documents.' Had Nancy [Pelosi] sent the stuff right over and [Mitch] McConnell moved to dismiss, who knows what would have happened."
Schumer added that if witnesses are called during the Senate trial, their testimony "could be exculpatory, it could be further incriminating, but we'll let the chips fall where they may. But we will not rest until we get the truth."
Speaking on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Schumer said "a trial without witnesses and documents is not a real trial, it's a sham trial, and the American people will be able to tell the difference between a fair hearing of the facts and the coverup."
He added: "Do senate Republicans want to break that lengthy historical precedent by conducting the first impeachment trial of a president in history with no witnesses? Let me ask that question again. This is weighty. This is vital. This is about the republic."
Pelosi says she's not working with McConnell on timing of sending impeachment articles
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday that she's not coordinating with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on when to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
When asked if she was working with McConnell, Pelosi told reporter at the Capitol, "No, he's not working with us. He's keeping it all in the dark. But we will be ready."
Pelosi also said she is looking for "integrity" and "commitment to our Constitution" in selecting House managers for the Senate trial, "which I think describes every member of the House Democratic Caucus."
Rep. Kildee: House managers 'will use every tool' available to call witnesses
Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee, the chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Caucus, said Tuesday on MSNBC that House managers in President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial "will use every tool that they have available to them in order to get witnesses called.”
"One, the witnesses that we would like to have had in the House inquiry were blocked by the president and would have been blocked for months and months had we just allowed that time to pass," Kildee said. "I think with the chief justice sitting in the chair, we ought to have a much better chance of getting an order to testify or a subpoena executed upon."
Kildee also said he thinks it's "very possible" that new evidence could be introduced during the trial.
"I mean, obviously, part of the concern is the ability to produce evidence means we're going to have to get our hands on that evidence to get some of the documents that are necessary," Kildee said. "But I'll obviously leave that to the managers."
"We'll make the decision tactically, how to best go at this," he continued. "We what feel very strongly about is that the facts support our contention, the facts support our case that the president abused his authority and attempted to undermine our elections. And when the American public hears that, whether the Senate votes to remove the president or not, the public will be able to draw their conclusions based upon the facts."
McConnell says he expects Trump impeachment trial to start Tuesday
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that the Senate's trial of President Donald Trump will likely begin Tuesday.
McConnell said the start date is contingent on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sending the two articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday, as she said she would if the House approves, and that the Senate would begin preparations for the trial this week.
"The House is likely to finally send the articles over to us tomorrow and we’ll be able to — we believe if that happens — in all likelihood, go through some preliminary steps here this week which could well include the chief justice coming over and swearing in members of the Senate and some other kind of housekeeping measures," McConnell said after a closed-door luncheon with members of the Senate Republican Conference, referring to Chief Justice John Roberts, who will have the job of presiding over the trial.
McConnell unlikely to pursue dismissal vote on impeachment articles
While President Donald Trump has tweeted that he would like to see the Senate dismiss the impeachment articles against him ahead of a trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unlikely to hold such a vote.
That’s because there is little appetite from Republican members facing difficult re-election races in 2020 to cast a vote that could be seen as overly protective of the president, GOP aides and senators say.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would like to see “2020 Republican incumbents in tough voting situations. So I think recognizing that that's his goal, I think it won't surprise you that we're thinking about that too, and how to avoid that as much as possible."
Pelosi says House to vote Wednesday to send Trump impeachment articles to Senate
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that the House will vote Wednesday to send the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, three sources in a Democratic caucus meeting told NBC News on Tuesday.
Sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate is necessary to begin the trial. Pelosi on Wednesday will also name the House "managers" who will prosecute the case against Trump in the Senate, the sources said.
A Wednesday vote could lead to a trial beginning next Tuesday, which lawmakers are expecting.
Article II - End of an Impasse
Today on Article II, Steve Kornacki talks to MSNBC Washington Correspondent Garrett Haake about the preparations underway for an impeachment trial in the Senate.
The two discuss:
- Next steps required from lawmakers before a trial can begin
- What timeline to expect once the Senate trial gets underway
- Why the impasse between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to have ended, and whether anything was accomplished from the standoff
McConnell could nix vote on a motion to dismiss to protect vulnerable GOPers
As Trump tweeted this weekend that he wants the Senate to immediately dismiss the charges against him, Senate Majority Leader McConnell is likely not to mandate a vote to dismiss at any point in the process to protect politically vulnerable Republicans.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.,— a key senator to watch in this process along with four other moderate Republicans: Romney, Collins, Murkowski and Gardner— said Monday evening that he would not vote on a motion to dismiss because he wants to decide if he wants to hear from witnesses.
"I would vote against the motion to dismiss. I think we need to hear the case; Ask your questions. Then as they did in the Clinton impeachment we ought to decide then whether we need to hear from additional witnesses or need additional documents. So a motion to dismiss is not consistent with hearing the case," Alexander told NBC News.
There is little appetite from politically vulnerable Republicans to cast a vote that looks like they are dismissing the charges against the president, which is what a motion to dismiss would do.
"It's pretty clear to me that this is no longer about convicting and removing Donald Trump as president. This is about Chuck Schumer getting 2020 Republican incumbents in two tough voting situations. So I think recognizing that that's his goal, I think it won't surprise you that we're thinking about that too, and how to avoid that as much as possible," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and McConnell confidante said.
McConnell: Pelosi holding onto articles 'achieved absolutely nothing'
McConnell opened the Senate floor on Monday speaking about impeachment, saying Pelosi "may finally wind down her one-woman blockade of a fair and timely impeachment trial," adding he’s "glad the speaker finally realized she never had any leverage in the first place."
He said Pelosi holding the articles "achieved absolutely nothing," instead accidentally conceding that their "case is rushed, weak and incomplete." He also reiterates that the "Senate was never going to pre-commit ourselves to redoing the prosecutors' homework" for the House.
"The House has done enough damage, the Senate is ready to fulfill our duty."
Pelosi accuses Trump of a 'cover-up' after president lashes out over impeachment
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump of a cover-up on Monday after he lashed out at Democrats in tweets calling his impending Senate impeachment trial a "witch-hunt."
"In the Clinton impeachment process, 66 witnesses were allowed to testify including 3 in the Senate trial, and 90,000 pages of documents were turned over," Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted in a direct response to the president. "Trump was too afraid to let any of his top aides testify & covered up every single document. The Senate must #EndTheCoverUp."
Earlier Monday, Trump accused Pelosi and other House Democrats of hypocrisy over the issue of calling witnesses, claiming they are demanding "fairness" in the Senate trial but did not allow the White House its choice of witnesses or the opportunity to ask questions of those who were called to testify in the House inquiry.
Schiff says he hopes public pressure will nudge Republicans toward calling witnesses
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Monday that he hopes public pressure to have a fair impeachment trial will put pressure on moderate Senate Republicans in the Senate to insist Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., call key Trump administration witnesses.
"If we had merely rushed the articles over there and given McConnell the chance to sweep it under the rug before the country can be informed about the kind of non-trial he wanted to have, I think it might have led to a different result," Schiff said on ABC's "The View," defending the Democrats' approach to the impeachment process. "At least we have the prospect now of holding senators accountable and insisting on a trial with witnesses.
"If McConnell succeeds in dismissing this case without witnesses, it will be the first impeachment case — not just involving a president, but involving anyone in the nation's history — in which a trial went forward without witnesses," he added.
Democrats have been calling for testimony from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton and others who they say have firsthand knowledge of President Donald Trump's actions toward Ukraine.
Schiff also said House Democrats are considering whether to subpoena Bolton, who has said he would testify if issued such an order. But the Senate should hear from Bolton directly rather than through a House deposition, Schiff said, adding that he is skeptical Bolton would agree to appear before House lawmakers.
"Our goal is to have a fair trial in the Senate, to let the senators evaluate the evidence," he said.
How Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the politically charged Trump impeachment trial
It's a duty John Roberts undoubtedly doesn't want but cannot avoid.
The Constitution requires that when a president is put on trial for impeachment, "the Chief Justice shall preside." Roberts will be the third to assume that responsibility after Salmon P. Chase presided over the Senate trial of Andrew Johnson in 1868 and William Rehnquist oversaw the trial of Bill Clinton in 1999.
It won't take Roberts more than a few minutes to get to the U.S. Capitol, directly across the street from the Supreme Court, leaving the court that he seeks to run in a nonpartisan manner and entering the highly charged political atmosphere of the Senate. But the televised image of him seated in the presiding officer's chair will be a misleading one: He'll actually have little control over what goes on.
ANALYSIS: Could Democrats be better off without impeachment witnesses?
That's the warning some party strategists are sending as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., prepares to send two articles of impeachment and a roster of House prosecutors to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., later this week.
"Given where things stand right now, there's only one smart solution: Get out of this as quickly as possible," said Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis, former chief of staff for Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The tension lies not in the facts of the case but in the politics of convincing voters that Trump is unfit for the presidency before November's election. Democrats are certain that the president violated his duty to the country and equally sure that there's zero chance that the necessary two-thirds of the Senate — a share that would require 20 or more Republicans — will vote to remove him from office.
Does the value of witnesses outweighs the risks for Democrats? Read the full analysis.
Trump suggests Senate should dismiss articles rather than hold trial
Pelosi says no regrets about holding onto impeachment articles, suggests Trump could face more
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday she had no regrets about holding onto the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump for weeks and suggested he could face additional articles of impeachment going forward.
"Well, let's just see what the Senate does," Pelosi told ABC's "This Week" when asked if the House could file additional articles against Trump. "The ball will be in their court soon."
"I think that the American people have been very fair about saying, yes, we do want to see witnesses," she added. "That wasn't part of the discussion three weeks ago. It is now."
Article II: Inside Impeachment — The Chief Justice Shall Preside
On Friday's episode of Article II, Steve Kornacki talks to Pete Williams, NBC News' justice correspondent, about the role of the chief justice in the approaching Senate impeachment trial.
The two discuss:
- How Justice William Rehnquist approached the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
- What Roberts’s job will be when the Senate trial begins.
- How Roberts will balance his responsibility to the trial with his responsibilities to the court.
Cipollone will take the lead on Trump's defense team in Senate impeachment trial, Conway says
White House counsel Pat Cipollone will take the lead on President Donald Trump's defense team for the Senate impeachment trial, senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed in remarks to reporters at the White House on Friday.
Cipollone, a former Justice Department official, will be joined by his two deputies, Mike Purpura, a former federal prosecutor and Justice official, and Patrick Philbin, who served in the George W. Bush Justice Department. Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow will also be part of the proceedings.
On Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and frequent defender of Trump's presidential powers who has been floated as a possible team member, Conway said, “We’ll see.”
Conway was equally noncommittal about the House Republicans who may join the defense.
GOP Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a close Trump ally, named some Republican colleagues of his who he said could help with Trump's case in a recent interview with former White House adviser Steve Bannon. They included vocal trump defenders Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, Matt Gaetz of Florida, a member of the Judiciary Committee, and John Ratcliffe, who sits on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels.
Cipollone, 53, had been widely expected to play a prominent role in Trump's defense. The White House counsel since late 2018, he has helped Trump fight against the House impeachment inquiry and worked closely with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on shaping the process for the Senate trial.
When will Trump's Senate trial start and how long will it last? The picture begins to take shape.
The developments on Friday could put the start date of arguments in the Senate trial of President Donald Trump around Tuesday Jan. 21, after the Martin Luther King holiday the day before.
And that raises the possibility that the trial may not be over before the real kickoff of the 2020 presidential primary on Monday Feb. 3 at the Iowa caucuses.
So what does that mean for the Senate and for Trump?
Trump says 'you have to' block Bolton from testifying 'for the sake of the office'
President Donald Trump told Fox News that he thinks he would "have to" invoke executive privilege to block former national security adviser John Bolton from testifying in the Senate impeachment trial, saying it would be "for the sake of the office."
In an interview excerpt released Friday, Trump said when asked by the network's Laura Ingraham why he wouldn't allow Bolton to testify, "I have no problem, other than one thing: You can't be in the White House as president — future, I'm talking about future, many future presidents — and have a security adviser, anybody having to do with security, and legal and other things. ..."
"You're going to invoke executive privilege?" Ingraham asked.
"Especially — well, I think you have to. For the sake of the office," Trump said.
The administration has tried to prevent several top officials from testifying in the House and Senate proceedings, frustrating Democrats who have called for their testimony. Bolton, a key figure in the impeachment saga who did not testify during the House inquiry, said earlier this week he would be willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate.
Trump said Thursday that he wouldn't mind a deal in the Senate for witnesses to be called if it meant that his defense could also call people to testify, including Joe Biden and his son Hunter. When asked whether he’d object to his former national security adviser testifying, Trump told reporters at the White House that it would be up to the Senate, but protecting executive privilege was critical.
Sen. Susan Collins working with 'fairly small group' of Republicans to ensure witnesses at Trump's trial
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Friday that she's been working with "a fairly small group" of Republican senators to make sure witnesses can be called in President Donald Trump's impending Senate impeachment trial.
"We should be completely open to calling witnesses," Collins told reporters in Bangor, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. She declined to say who or how many GOP lawmakers she's been working with, but said “I am hopeful that we can reach an agreement on how to proceed with the trial that will allow the opportunity for both the House and the president's counsel if they choose to do so."
Pelosi prepares to send articles of impeachment to Senate, will consult with Democrats on Tuesday
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to Democratic lawmakers on Friday that she will consult with her members on Tuesday as she announced steps to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The letter also suggested that the House could name its managers, who will act as the prosecutors of President Donald Trump for the Senate trial, and transmit the two articles of impeachment against the president as soon as next week. But Pelosi gave no specific indication of exactly when she intends to send the articles to the Senate, a step that is necessary for the trial to begin.
"I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate," she wrote. "I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further," she said.
McConnell backs resolution allowing dismissal if impeachment articles are delayed
McConnell said Thursday that he is signing on to resolution from Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., that would allow for the dismissal of the articles of impeachment if Pelosi fails to transmit them to the Senate.
It is highly unlikely the resolution will pass, as it needs 67 votes— unless McConnell were to go nuclear— and neither option seems viable.
Trump would support witnesses testifying in Senate trial if Bidens were called
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he wouldn’t mind a deal in the Senate for witnesses to be called during his impeachment trial if it meant that his defense could also call people to testify, including Joe and Hunter Biden.
"I’m going to leave it to the Senate, but I’d like to hear from the whistleblower, I’d like to hear from shifty Schiff, I’d like to hear from Hunter Biden and Joe Biden," Trump told reporters in response to a question about whether there were circumstances under which he’d support the calling of witnesses in his impeachment trial.
When asked whether he’d object to his former national security adviser John Bolton testifying in a Senate trial, Trump said that it would be up to the Senate, but that it would be critical to protect executive privilege.
"That’s really going to be up to the Senate," he said. "I'd have to ask the lawyers because we do have to, to me, for the future, we have to protect presidential privilege. When we start allowing national security advisers to just go up and say whatever they want to say, we can't do that."
Pelosi won't budge on sending impeachment articles to Senate, despite calls from Democrats
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that she will send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate "when I'm ready," rebuffing calls from top Democrats to submit them.
“No, I’m not holding them indefinitely," Pelosi told reporters during a press conference at the Capitol. "I will turn them over when I’m ready, and that will probably be soon.”
Some Democrats in the House and Senate have joined Republicans in recent days in saying it's time for Pelosi to send the articles to the Senate.
Top House Dem walks back remark that Pelosi should send Senate the impeachment articles
Trump and McConnell met at White House to discuss Senate impeachment trial
President Donald Trump met privately with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at the White House on Wednesday and discussed the impending Senate impeachment trial, two sources confirmed to NBC News.
McConnell walked Trump through the potential format of the trial and conveyed the current mood among Senate Republicans, one of the sources said. McConnell said earlier this week that he has enough Republican support to proceed with his plan for the trial without the support of Democrats, who are demanding he call several top administration witnesses.
McConnell's plan would follow the parameters of former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial: an initial agreement to first hear the case and a later vote on whether to call witnesses.
Top House Democrat: 'Time to send' articles of impeachment to Senate
House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., said Thursday that "it is time" for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to transmit the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.
Smith's call comes as several Democratic senators this week have pushed for Pelosi to send the articles to the Senate so the trial can begin.
"I understand what the speaker is trying to do, basically trying to use the leverage of that to work with Democratic and Republican senators to try to get a reasonable trial, a trial that would actually show evidence, bring out witnesses," Smith told CNN. "But at the end of the day, just like we control it in the House, [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell controls it in the Senate."
"I think it was perfectly advisable for the speaker to try to leverage that to get a better deal," he continued. "At this point, it doesn't look like that is going to happen. And yes, I think it is time to send the impeachment to the Senate and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial. He ultimately is."
Article II - Like It's 1999
On today’s episode of Article II, Steve Kornacki talks to special guest Bill McCollum, a former Florida Congressman who served as one of 13 house managers in the 1999 Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
The two discuss:
- McCollum's selection as a house manager and the political consequences of his appointment
- The case Republican managers tried and failed to make for live witnesses to testify during the trial
- Comparisons between impeachment then and now
Pelosi refuses to give more info on impeachment timing
Impeachment witness John Bolton says he'll testify. House Democrats should call his bluff.
Former national security adviser John Bolton announced on Monday that “if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.”
My first thought was that House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., should issue a subpoena immediately. As Trump’s national security adviser during the Ukraine aid scandal, Bolton is a key witness who could presumably provide important context about the decision to withhold funds.
The House chose not to subpoena Bolton during its impeachment hearings, and he had said that he would fight such a subpoena in court. But his apparent willingness now to cooperate with the Senate would most likely undermine efforts to fight a subpoena issued by the House.
Graham to submit resolution calling on Pelosi to 'immediately' send articles of impeachment
A draft of Graham's resolution obtained by NBC News says the Constitution does not provide Pelosi, D-Calif., "with the power to effectively veto a resolution passed by a duly elected majority of the House of Representatives by refusing to transmit such a resolution to the Senate." Such a withholding of the articles "is a flagrant violation of the separation of powers expressly outlined in the bicameral impeachment process under the Constitution of the United States," it says.
On Sunday, Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, proposed going further, telling Fox News, "If we don't get the articles this week, then we need to take matters in our own hands and change the rules."
Some Democratic senators say it's time for Pelosi to submit Trump impeachment articles
A growing number of Democratic senators are saying it's time for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to submit the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.
"We are reaching a point where the articles of impeachment should be sent," Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters Wednesday.
In an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday, Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said he believes "it is time for the speaker to send" the articles. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., also said Pelosi should submit the articles.
McConnell has the GOP votes for Trump's trial now. That doesn't mean he'll have them later.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday he has enough Republican votes to start the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump without the support of Democrats, who have been demanding witness testimony.
But his announcement doesn't settle the contentious issue of whether witnesses will be allowed to testify during the Senate trial — which Democrats have called for. Rather, it postpones a vote on the issue — leaving open the possibility that a handful of Senate Republicans could break with the party and back Democratic efforts to call witnesses against the president.
Pelosi not ready to send articles of impeachment, but could be 'soon'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her fellow Democrats Tuesday that she's not yet ready to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate — but suggested she could be soon.
In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi maintained she wants to immediately see the Senate resolution laying out the process for Trump's trial before she transmits the articles charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on to the Senate. The move would start the trial process in the Senate.
"Soon, the Senate will have the opportunity to honor its oath to 'do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws,'" Pelosi wrote, before arguing the process that's been proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unfair.
Trump says Bolton testimony 'going to be up to the lawyers,' Senate
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that whether his former national security adviser John Bolton testifies in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial is "going to be up to the lawyers" and the Senate.
When asked about Bolton's stated willingness to testify before the Senate if subpoenaed, Trump told reporters during a bilateral meeting with the Greek prime minister: "Well that's gonna be up to the lawyers. It will be up to the Senate, and we'll see how they feel.
"He would know nothing about what we're talking about, because if you know, the Ukrainian government came out with a very strong statement, no pressure, no anything, and that's from the boss, that's from the president of Ukraine," Trump continued. "The foreign minister came out with a statement that was equally as strong.
"And frankly, if you look at it, and you look at everything, all they have to do is read the transcripts," Trump said. "You take a look, not just at one, you take a look at two transcripts, they were absolutely perfect, there was absolutely nothing done wrong, there was no false statement."
Trump added that the military aid to Ukraine that he had blocked "got there two or three weeks ahead of schedule, long before it was supposed to be there. There was absolutely nothing done wrong."
There was high-level pushback from top Trump officials over the hold in aid, including from Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, according to The New York Times. Bolton was also concerned about Trump's broader efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats, witnesses testified during the House impeachment inquiry.
McConnell says he has enough Republican votes to begin Trump's trial without witnesses
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Tuesday that he has enough Republican votes to start the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump without the support of Democrats, who have been demanding witness testimony.
"We have the votes once the impeachment trial has begun to pass a resolution — essentially the same as, very similar to, the 100 to nothing vote in the Clinton trial," McConnell told reporters.
The announcement by McConnell means that once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., transmits the two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — the trial would begin in the Senate with rules in place under which the question of whether witnesses are allowed to testify would not be dealt with until later in the trial.
The first phase of the trial would include "arguments from prosecution, arguments from defense" and a "period of written questions" submitted by Republican and Democratic senators, McConnell said.
McConnell blasts House Dems for what he calls their 'mythical leverage' ploy
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ripped House Democrats on Tuesday for what he said was their attempt to assert "mythical leverage" over how the Senate conducts President Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial.
"House Democrats say they're waiting for some mythical leverage. I've had difficulty figuring out where the leverage is," McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor. "Apparently this is their proposition: If the Senate does not agree to break with our own unanimous, bipartisan precedent from 1999 and agree to let Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi hand-design a different procedure for this Senate trial, then they might not ever dump this mess in our lap."
McConnell called Pelosi's decision to withhold the two articles of impeachment against Trump in what she said is a bid to ensure fair Senate proceedings "dangerous" and "a new sort of pretrial hostage negotiation where the House gets to run the show over here in the Senate."
"This is already the longest delay between the impeachment vote and the delivery of the House's impeachment message in American history — already," he said. "It's almost as though this House Democrat majority systemically took all the framers' warnings about partisan abuses of the impeachment power, took everything the founders said not to do — not to do — and thought, 'Now there's an idea. Why don't we try that?'"
McConnell added that he thought it was "contemptuous of the American people to tell them for weeks that you feel this extraordinary step is so urgent and then delay it indefinitely for political purposes."
Article II: Impeachment and War
On today’s episode of Article II, Steve Kornacki talks to Mark Murray, NBC News senior political editor, about how Congress is balancing its constitutional responsibilities, the power to impeach and to check the President’s powers of war.
The two discuss:
- The Democrats' argument that the strike against Soleimani is a distraction from impeachment
- The Republicans' argument that the president is focused on national security as Democrats try to remove him from office
- The challenge facing Congress, as it attempts to move forward on impeachment while debating next steps on Iran
Schiff won't rule out Bolton House testimony
NBC News' Kasie Hunt asked House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff whether he would rule out getting Bolton to testify in front of the House rather than the Senate.
"I'm not foreclosing anything we continue to do investigative work in the House," he said. "At the same time, what makes the most sense given that we are on the precipice of the trial in the Senate is to have him come and testify before the Senate. The Senate will make the decision about whether the president should be convicted or removed from office, so why get it secondhand?"
He added, "it makes the most sense for him to come before the Senate and these other witnesses as well so that is what we are pushing for but I am foreclosing nothing in terms of the House."
Romney says he wants to hear from John Bolton
Sen. Mitt Romney told reporters that he wants to hear what John Bolton knows in a forthcoming Senate impeachment trial.
"Sure, I'd love to hear what he has to say," Romney said in response to a question about if John Bolton should testify in the Senate.
"He has first-hand information and assuming that articles of impeachment do reach the Senate," he added, "I'd like to hear what he knows."
Romney also said he doesn’t want to comment on the process or how Bolton’s testimony comes about.
"The leaders are trying to negotiate that process right now," he said. "But ultimately I'd expect I'd want to hear from John Bolton."
White House on impeachment: where things stand
Trump has found himself at a standstill on the impeachment front with Pelosi’s decision to hold up articles of impeachment, leaving him waiting on her next move before he can make his.
The White House is holding off on making any strategic moves until the Senate receives the articles of impeachment and starts to determine what the rules of a trail will be, said a White House official.
Key factors, like whether witnesses will be called or who will be making the case in the Senate for Democrats, will affect parts of the White House’s strategy. The uncertainty of what the White House’s defense will need to look like came into focus on Monday when Bolton said on Monday that he would be willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate.
One key decision Trump has yet to make is who will lead his defense team in a Senate trial. It has been expected that White House counsel Pat Cipollone will have a role, but a final decision on who will be mounting the defense won’t be made until the articles of impeachment are sent over, the official said.
Behind the scenes, White House staffers are continuing to talk with their Senate allies about the process and refine their case, the officials said. In the meantime, Trump took to Twitter and the Rush Limbaugh show on Monday to try to continue mounting his defense.
WATCH: The latest developments in the impeachment inquiry
GOP senators introduce resolution to dismiss impeachment
"If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case, the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business," Hawley said.
Ten other Republican senators, including Rick Scott of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, co-sponsored the measure.