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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.
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Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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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

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

Live Blog

Mulvaney acknowledges Trump held up Ukraine aid partly for political reasons

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday acknowledged that President Donald Trump held up aid to Ukraine partly over a debunked conspiracy theory involving the 2016 election.

"We do that all the time," he told reporters at a rare briefing.

"Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy," he added. The question of whether the assistance was held up for political reasons is at the heart of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

Pelosi says she has 'no idea' about impeachment timetable. She's not alone.

It is anyone's guess when the impeachment process might conclude.

The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees have another full week of closed-door depositions lined up and there could be more to come. Intel Chairman Adam Schiff has said he also intends to hold open hearings.

Only then would action shift to the House Judiciary Committee, which would take up the work of the investigative committees, likely hold its own hearings, mark up and vote on the article(s). In past impeachments, the mark-up alone has taken several days. Only then would the full House debate the articles, then vote.

"Everyone that I talk to would like this to be done in 2019," Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the Oversight Vommittee, told reporters on Wednesday. "The problem is that the president is a one-man crime wave, and he's generated a number of arguably impeachable offenses, and we have a responsibility to research those."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was even more blunt on Thursday when asked about the timeline: "I have no idea...The path, the timeline, will depend on the truth-line."

If and when any articles are sent to the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Wednesday he would act on them quickly.

A Christmas conclusion to the impeachment process is clearly on the mind of senators — for whom few things sharpen the mind more than the prospect of getting home for a holiday recess.

Bottom line? Don't make holiday plans yet.

Sondland's lawyers say he can't turn over subpoenaed docs

NBC News has obtained a copy of a letter that Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s lawyers sent to House committees this morning explaining why he’s unable to give them the documents they’ve subpoenaed, but wishes the Trump administration would.

Sondland has turned over all relevant documents to the State Department “regardless of the device or platform on which they were created,” the lawyers wrote. That’s a reference to the fact that, as NBC News has previously reported, Sondland often used his personal cellphone to conduct diplomatic conversations and also communicated with WhatsApp.

But the sought-after records belong to the State Department, and by law and regulation, Sondland can’t produce them on his own, his lawyers wrote. The State Department “has directed Ambassador Sondland and other similarly situated employees not to provide documents without State Department’s approval,” they wrote.

“Ambassador Sondland has encouraged the State Department to provide the Committees with the requested documents in advance of his deposition," the lawyers wrote. "He strongly believes that disclosure will lead to a more fulsome and accurate inquiry into the matters at issue and will corroborate the testimony that he will give in key respects."

Read Sondland's 18-page statement to impeachment investigators

Sondland to testify Trump directed Giuliani to push Ukraine scheme

WASHINGTON — U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland will tell Congress on Thursday that Rudy Giuliani told him President Donald Trump wanted Ukraine’s new government to investigate both the 2016 election and a natural gas firm tied to Hunter Biden, according to prepared testimony obtained by NBC News.

Sondland will testify that Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, even mentioned getting the Ukrainians to investigate "the DNC server" — a reference to a Democratic National Committee computer that plays prominently in a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian interference in 2016.

The ambassador is expected to tell House investigators that he ultimately learned that Giuliani, far from freelancing, was advancing Trump’s goals when he pushed for Ukraine to investigate the president’s political opponents.

Read more about Sondland's expected testimony.

More Trump admin officials to be deposed next week

Several Trump administration officials are scheduled to appear for depositions next week as part of the impeachment inquiry, according to two Hill staffers. They include:

  • Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.
  • Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of European and Eurasian affairs, on Oct. 23.
  • Alexander Vindman, director of European affairs at the National Security Council, on Oct. 24.
  • Timothy Morrison, top Russia adviser at the National Security Council; and Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer in Kiev, on Oct. 25.

Acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor is already scheduled to testify before House investigators on Oct. 22.

E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland to appear at closed-door hearing Thursday

Lawmakers will on Thursday morning at 9.30AM ET have the chance to ask Gordon Sondland about his involvement in Ukraine policy, at a highly anticipated closed-door hearing. Given Ukraine is not an E.U. member, members are likely to ask why the E.U. ambassador should be involved there at all.

Sondland, a wealthy Oregon hotelier and GOP mega-donor, contributed $1 million through four LLCs to Trump's inaugural fund and was appointed as the U.S. ambassador to the EU in June 2018. He had no formal diplomatic experience before Trump picked him for one of the country’s top ambassadorships.

Sondland asked Ukrainian officials during private White House talk about gas firm linked to Hunter Biden

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers plan to grill Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Thursday about a private discussion he had with top Ukrainian officials in the White House in which he explicitly mentioned the Ukrainian gas company linked to Hunter Biden, amid negotiations over granting Ukraine’s new president an audience with President Donald Trump, NBC News has learned.

Sondland’s meeting with the Ukrainians just steps away from the White House Situation Room came minutes after a larger West Wing meeting that included then-National Security Adviser John Bolton, who had been noncommittal about scheduling a meeting between Trump and new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Sondland directly contradicted Bolton by telling the Ukrainians that in fact, Trump was committed to meeting with Zelenskiy on the condition he open a corruption investigation, two people told about the matter tell NBC News.

Bolton abruptly ended the meeting.

Read more about the private discussion and Sondland's role here.