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Trump impeachment: Analysis and news on the House charges and Senate acquittal of the president

The Senate trial on the two articles of impeachment against Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, ended with acquittal on both charges.
Image: Impeachment live blog
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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's impeachment followed weeks of testimony related to his efforts to press Ukraine for investigations into Democratic rivals and hours of fiery debate over the process.

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

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White House budget office will not comply with congressional subpoenas

The White House Office of Management and Budget Office will not comply with subpoenas from House impeachment investigators, according to an administration official.

The White House and OMB Director Russ Vought have made it clear they are not participating in the impeachment process, the official said.

"We will continue to not participate in this process which is not designed to get to the truth," Vought told Fox News in an interview last week. "It is designed to relitigate the last election and influence the next election. OMB spends every day trying to have less spending and have more deregulatory initiatives on behalf of what the president promised the American people and we're trying to keep those promises."

Schiff says there have been 'significant breaks in the White House firewall'

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Monday that "there have been real breaks, significant breaks in the White House firewall" despite the Trump administration's efforts to stonewall the impeachment inquiry.

But Schiff said he and his Democratic colleagues "fully expect on things that are more within" the administration's "control, they will stonewall us."

Schiff praised ousted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, former Trump Russia aide Fiona Hill and others who have obeyed House subpoenas. On Tuesday, Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani told ABC News he did not plan to comply with the subpoena aimed at his work in Ukraine. 

Rudy Giuliani will not comply with congressional subpoena

Rudy Giuliani won't comply with a congressional subpoena as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, an attorney for Giuliani told House investigators in a letter on Tuesday.

Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, had been subpoenaed for documents related to his work in Ukraine, which has come under intense scrutiny after Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Last week, two of Giuliani's business associates who had been assisting him in his Ukrainian venture were arrested on campaign-finance charges.

Jon Sale, Giuliani's attorney for purposes of handling the subpoena, wrote that the former New York City mayor "will not participate because this appears to be an unconstitutional, baseless, and illegitimate 'impeachment inquiry.'" Sale called the subpoena "overbroad, unduly burdensome, and seeks documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry."

Read more here.

Trump says Democrats are 'too busy' with impeachment to pass trade deals

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump brought up the impeachment inquiry during an event in the Rose Garden on Tuesday afternoon honoring the 2019 Stanley Cup champions, the St. Louis Blues. 

Ticking off a number of trade negotiations — from Japan to Mexico to China — Trump lamented that despite his efforts, such deals may never get congressional approval.

"I doubt they will because it's Nancy Pelosi," Trump said of the potential blockage in Congress. "They're too busy working on impeachment."

"And by the way, we just hit the greatest economy we've ever had. 'Let's impeach the president. Isn't that a good idea?'” Trump continued, mocking House Democrats. "I wouldn't worry about it, fellas," he added.

 

Poll shows impeachment danger for Susan Collins

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican in a blue state, is facing a potential lose-lose situation on impeachment, according to a new poll Tuesday of what is expected to be one of next year's most competitive Senate races. 

Collins has so far stayed neutral on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, but there is peril for her no matter which side she chooses, according to a new survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, one of the few polls of the race so far.

If Collins supports impeachment, her already soft numbers with Republicans weaken dramatically: Just 35 of Republicans say they would want to re-nominate Collins, while 55 percent said they would prefer a different GOP candidate. But if Collins opposes impeachment, she would lose some of her cross-over support from Democrats, and her 3 point deficit against a generic Democratic candidate would grow to 7 percentage points.

Collins' leading Democratic opponent, state House Speaker Sara Gideon, announced raising $3.2 million in the third quarter of the year Tuesday, while Collins said her campaign raised less than that -- $2.1 million -- but has $7.1 million in the back.

NBC News wrote about the Collins race and impeachment earlier this month.

House Democrats consider formal floor vote to authorize impeachment inquiry

WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders are reaching out to members in swing districts to gauge their support for an official vote on the House floor to open an impeachment inquiry, two sources told NBC News.

Leadership is contacting the most vulnerable members first and then will discuss with the larger caucus as early as tonight at their 6:00 pm ET caucus meeting.

House Republicans and the White House have been demanding an official vote to open an inquiry. The White House has said it won't cooperate with Democrats demands until they do.  

While this would be a significant development to make the inquiry more official, Democrats have argued that it is not necessary as deemed by the Constitution.

Republicans would like a vote to officially open the inquiry because it could give them more rights, including subpoena power.

Majority of college students support impeachment inquiry, new poll shows

Three quarters of all college students support the impeachment inquiry, according to a new poll out today from Axios/College Reaction Poll.

That includes 97 percent of college Democrats and a large majority of Independents, 76 percent. 

But only about one in five, or 22 percent, of college Republicans favor the inquiry. 

Despite the party polarization, college students are still more likely than adults to support impeachment. 

And those numbers are up across all party affiliations from their last poll in May, with the biggest movement among Independents, +32 percent, who now support impeachment as much as Democrats did 3 months ago.

Bolton wanted White House lawyers alerted to Ukrainian efforts, called it 'drug deal,' witness tells Congress

Former national security adviser John Bolton was so disturbed by the efforts to get the Ukrainians to investigate President Donald Trump’s political opponents that he called it a “drug deal,” former White House official Fiona Hill reportedly told Congress on Monday.

Hill, the former top Europe expert in Trump’s White House, testified that Bolton told her over the summer that he wanted no part of the effort, which he said involved acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, a person in the room for Hill’s testimony told NBC News.

Bolton also was said to have referred to Rudy Giuliani as a "hand grenade."

Click here to read more.

State department official responsible for Ukraine to testify Tuesday

House committees are today set to hear from George Kent, the State Department official responsible for Ukraine, who was among those raising red flags about Rudy Giuliani’s smear campaign against ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

On Wednesday, House investigators will interview with Michael McKinley, the former de facto chief of staff to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who resigned over what was seen as Pompeo’s failure to support career officials  targeted in the Ukraine controversy.

House investigators plan to round out the week by calling in Laura Cooper, a career Defense Department official responsible for Russia and Ukraine policy. She’s expected to offer insight regarding the withheld military aid — the first witness to focus on the aid itself.

E.U. ambassador to testify that ex-Ukraine ambassador was 'great' despite Trump ouster

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland will tell Congress on Thursday that he thought former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was "great" and that he has nothing negative to say about her job performance, despite her ouster by President Donald Trump.

A person with knowledge of Sondland’s testimony tells NBC News that Yovanovitch was an able and professional diplomat, and that he had no issues with her whatsoever. The person spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity.

Click here to read the full story from NBC News.

Congressman: GOP 'darn lucky' Fiona Hill deposition wasn't public

After leaving the closed door deposition with Fiona Hill, Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., spoke to reporters on camera. When asked about releasing transcripts he said "at an appropriate time in the future they will be released." He added "these are not hearings. They are depositions."

Heck also said Republicans "are darn lucky these weren’t public."

Ex-Pompeo aide expected to testify in closed session

Two officials working on the impeachment inquiry tell NBC News that a former top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who resigned last week, is expected appear in a closed session with the House committees on Wednesday. The officials outlined the schedule ahead as follows:

Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent is expected to appear in closed session on Tuesday.

Former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Ambassador P. Michael McKinley is expected to appear in closed session on Wednesday.

Ambassador Sondland has been subpoenaed for Thursday.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper is expected to appear in closed session on Friday.

How will the Senate respond?

WASHINGTON — The Senate is back in session Tuesday after a two-week break, and a lot has happened in that time, including President Trump asking China to investigate the Bidens. We’re watching whether enough Republicans support a trial to stop articles of impeachment from being quickly dismissed.

The 53 members of the party would need only three of their number to vote against a dismissal motion to keep a trial going (Vice President Mike Pence would not preside over an impeachment trial to break a tie), and with senators speaking out about Trump’s requests of Ukraine and China, that's a realistic possibility.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who is retiring and has at times been critical of the President, gave a bit of a preview of how centrist Republicans could land on the question of impeachment. He released a statement last week saying, “It’s inappropriate for the president to be talking with foreign governments about investigating his political opponents, but impeachment would be a mistake. An election, which  is just around the corner, is the right way to decide who should be president."

It will be interesting to see if this becomes the way Senate Republicans who are critical of the president’s actions navigate these waters. With statements like that, it’s hard to see how Democrats would ever get 20 Republicans to join them to convict. 

Giuliani says he has 'nothing to do with' oligarch at edges of Trump-Ukraine affair

President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Monday denied being involved with a Ukrainian oligarch whose ethical issues have dovetailed the ongoing impeachment inquiry into the president.

Giuliani also told NBC News he was not planning on visiting Dmitry Firtash, who is currently wanted on corruption charges in the U.S., during a trip to Vienna he planned last week. 

Read what else Giuliani had to say in this NBC News story.

Rep. Matt Gaetz ejected from Fiona Hill testimony

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz tried to sit in on the closed door testimony of Trump's former Russia aide Fiona Hill, but because he is not a member of any the committees interviewing Hill, he was asked to leave by the House parliamentarian. He wouldn’t say if he would try to come to any other depositions this week.

He spoke to reporters after the ordeal:

More depositions scheduled for this week

Multiple sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News the committees leading the impeachment inquiry have scheduled the following additional depositions for this week:

Oct. 15: George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine.

Oct. 17: State Department counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl.

As of this writing, it’s unlikely that Kent and Brechbuhl will appear as scheduled given White House efforts to block the testimony of current Trump administration officials.

 

This week's schedule of depositions and deadlines

Here's the House impeachment inquiry deposition and deadline schedule for the rest of the week.

Happening today

Fiona Hill, Trump's former top Russia adviser, appears for a closed deposition.

Tuesday

  • House returns from recess.
  • Subpoena deadline for Rudy Giuliani to turn over documents.
  • Subpoena deadlines for Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought to turn over documents.
  • Request deadline for the office of Vice President Mike Pence to turn over documents.

Wednesday

  • Subpoena deadlines for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to turn over documents.

Thursday 

  • Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland agrees to appear and testify for closed-door deposition.

Friday

  • Subpoena deadline for acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to turn over documents.
  • Subpoena deadline for Energy Secretary Rick Perry to turn over documents.

 

'Sooo wrong': Trump attacks Schiff, whistleblower over characterization of Ukraine call

President Donald Trump attacked House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., again on Monday morning over his characterization of Trump's July phone call with the newly elected president of Ukraine — a conversation that figures at the center of the House impeachment inquiry.

Trump again said Schiff's comments at a hearing with the acting director of national intelligence last month "fraudulently" fabricated Trump's statements during the call. He also said the whistleblower who filed an official complaint about the call had gotten his conversation with the Ukrainian president "sooo wrong."

NBC News has reported that Schiff himself described his opening remarks at the hearing as a "parody" and that some of his phrasing matches the White House's own summary of what Trump said.

What are the allegations against Trump?

Trump's former top Russia aide set to testify in impeachment inquiry

Fiona Hill, who until August served as President Donald Trump's top Russia analyst, is set to testify to the House privately on Monday under subpoena as part of the impeachment inquiry into the president.

Hill plans to tell Congress that Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland circumvented the administration to pursue a shadow foreign policy on Ukraine, a person familiar with her expected testimony told NBC News last week.

Fiona Hill
Fiona Hill, senior director for European and Russian Affairs on the National Security Council, in the Cabinet Room of the White House on April 2, 2019.Evan Vucci / AP file

A former senior White House official told NBC News that Hill's appearance has caused concern among those close to Trump because she played a central role in the administration's Russian and Ukrainian policy. Read more about her expected testimony.

Ambassador to E.U. to testify he doesn't know why Ukraine aid was held up

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland will testify to Congress this week that he did not know why United States military assistance to Ukraine was held up nor who ordered it, according to a person with knowledge of Sondland’s testimony.

Sondland, who is under subpoena from the House, plans to testify before the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry on Thursday. Read more about his expected testimony.

Donald Trump,Gordon Sondland
President Donald Trump is joined by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, second from right, as he arrives at Melsbroek Air Base, in Brussels, Belgium on July 10, 2018.Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP file

Democratic Rep. Van Drew opposes impeachment. He'll tell you he's on the 'right side of history.'

Rep. Jeff Van Drew has become perhaps the most vocal opponent in his party to removing President Donald Trump — one of just seven House Democrats holding back support for the impeachment inquiry.

Read why Van Drew, D-N.J., hasn't been shy about explaining his position.

Image: Jeff Van Drew
Jeff Van Drew speaks to members of the media outside a closed House Democrats organizational meeting at Longworth House Office Building on Nov. 28, 2018 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong / Getty Images file

Why Democrats are sure Adam Schiff is the perfect person to take on Trump

No one understands the political perils of impeaching a president quite like Rep. Adam Schiff. The California Democrat won a House seat in 2000 by defeating a Republican who had become nationally prominent as a House manager of President Bill Clinton's impeachment.

Read Jonathan Allen's analysis of why House Democrats think Schiff, now the Intelligence Committee chairman, is the right person to lead the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. 

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Schiff Holds News Conference
Rep. Adam Schiff at a news conference on Capitol Hill in on March 30, 2017.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Welcome to the NBC News impeachment live blog. Here's a primer.