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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

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

1198d ago / 8:41 PM UTC

Democratic lawmaker concerned that Sondland 'has been less than truthful'

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E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland isn’t filling in as many gaps as lawmakers would have hoped, telling House committees that he can’t recall various details surrounding the Ukraine scandal, according to three sources present for parts of his ongoing testimony Thursday.

"A lot of memory lapses," said one lawmaker who was in the room.

As she emerged from the closed door deposition with Sondland, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fl., told NBC News that, "I'm concerned that he has been less than truthful throughout the day."

"I mean some of the things that he says he doesn't remember, it would be very hard to believe that he didn't remember, I mean very specific things that, you know, are unique to different situations that they've discussed throughout the day. And unless has the worst memory. Or, and is, you know, far more far more incompetent than than one would think an ambassador to the European Union should be," she said.

Yet two of the sources described Sondland as eager to distance himself from other players, especially Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Sondland framed his contact with Giuliani as "very minimal" said a second lawmaker who said "Sondland was "walking a tightrope" in revealing information advantageous to himself but not recalling other details.

The lawmakers said his testimony did not appear designed to harm President Donald Trump so much as to insulate Sondland from the scandal.

1198d ago / 7:09 PM UTC

New poll: 54% support House's decision to open impeachment inquiry

A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds that a majority — 54 percent — of American adults approve of the House’s decision to begin an impeachment inquiry, while 44 percent disapprove.

The same poll found that a 58 percent majority says Trump definitely or probably has done things that are “grounds for impeachment.”

And it showed a lack of confidence in both parties when it comes to handling the impeachment inquiry. Fifty-seven percent say they are not confident that Republicans in Congress will be fair and reasonable during the inquiry, while 52 percent say the same of Democrats.

The Pew survey questioned a panel of respondents, which allows for re-asking the same questions to the same people at different points in time. Overall, nine percent of adults who opposed the impeachment proceedings early last month now approve of the House’s decision to open the inquiry.

Of that nine percent, 61 percent are Democrats or independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, while 32 percent are Republicans or independents who lean toward the Republican Party.

1198d ago / 5:47 PM UTC

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.

1198d ago / 4:35 PM UTC

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

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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.

1198d ago / 4:11 PM UTC

1198d ago / 3:05 PM UTC
1198d ago / 2:53 PM UTC

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."

1198d ago / 2:16 PM UTC

Read Sondland's 18-page statement to impeachment investigators

1198d ago / 2:02 PM UTC

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.

1198d ago / 1:45 PM UTC
1198d ago / 1:37 PM UTC

More Trump admin officials to be deposed next week

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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.

1198d ago / 12:00 PM UTC

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.

1199d ago / 2:02 AM UTC

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.

1199d ago / 11:39 PM UTC

Excerpts from McKinley's opening statement

Below are excerpts from the opening statement made to Congress today by former Ambassador Michael McKinley, who recently resigned as Pompeo’s senior adviser, according to a former colleague familiar with the testimony:

"The timing of my resignation was the result of two overriding concerns: the failure, in my view, of the State Department to offer support to Foreign Service employees caught up in the Impeachment Inquiry on Ukraine; and, second, by what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives.

I was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents. I was convinced that this would also have a serious impact on foreign service morale and the integrity of our work overseas.

Since I began my career in 1982, I have served my country and every President loyally. Under current circumstances, however, I could no longer look the other way as colleagues are denied the professional support and respect they deserve from us all."

1199d ago / 11:12 PM UTC

Top State Department aide resigned because of Pompeo's silence on Marie Yovanovitch

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Michael McKinley, the former top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, told Congressional impeachment investigators that his sudden resignation was, in part, due to Pompeo’s silence about the recall of Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, according to two people in the room for McKinley’s testimony.

After a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which the president disparaged Yovanovitch, McKinley asked Pompeo to write a "statement of support" for the former ambassador, but Pompeo remained silent, McKinley told Congressional investigators, according to a person in the room.

Trump called her "bad news" and sad that her "attitude towards me was far from the best” in a July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, according to an abridged transcript released by the White House.

According to the person in the room, McKinley painted a picture of a State Department that was rebuilding after the tenure of the previous secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. But McKinley said that it disturbed him that officials working on Ukraine were being sidelined because of political pressures, according to a source in the room and a person familiar with his testimony.

He also cited a State Department inspector general report in August that found political appointees mistreated and intimidated civil servants in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, according to a person familiar with his testimony.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said that McKinley in his testimony expressed strong support of his colleague Yovanovitch. "And that’s understandable," Meadows said.

At the time of his resignation, McKinley was a veteran State Department official, whose 37-year career included posts in Brazil, Afghanistan, Colombia and Peru.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said that McKinley is one of several witnesses who is "helping to fill in the portrait of an official State Department process that was under attack basically by Trump and Giuliani."

1199d ago / 7:45 PM UTC

McConnell talks impeachment trial

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., went into detail Wednesday on how a Senate trial would go if the House impeaches President Donald Trump. 

“Under the impeachment rules of the Senate, we will take the matter up,” McConnell said at a weekly leadership news conference following a closed-door luncheon with Senate Republicans. “The chief justice will be in the chair. We will have to convene every day, six days out of seven at 12:30 or one o'clock in the afternoon. Senators will not be allowed to speak, which should be good therapy for a number of them. And we intend to do our constitutional responsibility.”

The Constitution provides the Senate with the power to try impeachments, acting as a court to consider evidence, hear witnesses and determine whether the impeached person should be convicted. A two-thirds vote of the Senate — 67 members — is required for conviction. Democrats, who have 47 members, would have a lot of convincing to do among Republicans, most of whom are defending the president, to reach that threshold.

McConnell claimed earlier in the news conference that House Democrats are “denying due process to the president,” which he said could be fixed if the House voted on the opening of the impeachment inquiry. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., however, made clear Tuesday night that she doesn’t plan to hold a vote given that the investigation is already underway.

1199d ago / 6:58 PM UTC

Today in The Inquiry: McKinley testifies

Michael McKinley, who recently resigned as senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, testified to Congress on Wednesday as part of the House impeachment inquiry. Republicans have roundly criticized House Democrats for what they say is a secret process being carried out behind closed doors. What's happening behind the scenes? NBC News correspondent Geoff Bennett, NBC News national political reporter Josh Lederman and Washington Post White House reporter Ashley Parker join Katy Tur to discuss.

1199d ago / 6:16 PM UTC

House Democrats ask U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to appear for questioning

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Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor left Kyiv, Ukraine on Wednesday for Washington D.C. after House Democrats requested he appear for a Tuesday deposition in the investigation into President Trump’s alleged misconduct involving Ukraine, NBC News has confirmed.

In a packet of text messages released by House Democrats last week, Taylor on Sept. 9 remarked that it would be “crazy” to link Ukraine military assistance to help with Trump’s political campaign, something that was hinted at in the messages. "I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," Taylor said in a text.

Nearly five hours later, Sondland — a Republican donor who has no experience in diplomacy or foreign policy, responded after speaking with the president, writing, "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind.”

Read more on what Democrats are hoping to learn from Taylor here.

1199d ago / 5:09 PM UTC

Romney says Trump administration should respond to congressional subpoenas

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told NBC News Wednesday that the Trump administration "needs to respond appropriately to subpoenas."

"I’m not going to get between the White House and the House as to that process, but it is essential that people respond to subpoenas that come from Congress," Romney said, responding to a question about the issue on Capitol Hill. 

This comes as Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, defied demands from Congress yesterday to turn over documents relating to Ukraine. In a Tuesday letter to the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that he will not comply with a subpoena related to House Democrats' impeachment inquiry. 

Vice President Mike Pence, while not subpoenaed, also rejected congressional requests for documents.

Romney, who most recently condemned the president on Twitter for his “brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine," was one of the first Republican senators to denounce Trump's call on foreign governments to investigate his political opponents. 

1199d ago / 4:52 PM UTC

Defense Secretary Mark Esper will no longer comply with impeachment inquiry

Defense Secretary Mark Esper will not comply with a subpoena from House Democrats related to their impeachment inquiry, according to a letter sent Tuesday to Democratic leadership from the Department of Defense.

In the letter to the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, the Pentagon cites a “number of legal and practical concerns” as their reason for not complying. They include the House not officially voting to authorize an impeachment inquiry and that some of the information the House is requesting “appears to consist of confidential Executive Branch communications that are potentially protected by executive privilege.”

Read more here.

1199d ago / 4:38 PM UTC

White House conducting review of Trump Ukraine call

A senior administration official confirms that the White House is conducting an internal review of the process surrounding that July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The New York Times first reported the review and adds that it’s centering in on why a deputy White House counsel, John Eisenberg, "placed a rough transcript of the call in a computer system typically reserved for the country’s most closely guarded secrets."

1199d ago / 3:36 PM UTC

Conservatives head to Capitol secure area to try to read Volker transcript

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday tried to view a transcript of the closed-door deposition earlier this month with former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker in a classified area on Capitol Hill. 

Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., tweeted a photo of him and some of his colleagues heading to that area. 

Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, told reporters that they were not able to see the transcript — though he said they were told Tuesday that they would be able to read it at noon — and are waiting for staff. 

Volker made an unexpected return to the hill Wednesday morning to review the transcript of his more than nine-hour testimony before three House congressional committees on October 3. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters Tuesday that Democrats would eventually make transcripts of the depositions public. 

1199d ago / 3:30 PM UTC

Fourth man arrested on illegal foreign donation charges

Two senior law enforcement officials say that David Correia, one of the four people indicted in an alleged scheme to funnel foreign money and violate FEC laws, was taken into custody after arriving at New York's JFK airport this morning.

Correia and another man were charged last week along with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman in a scheme to "circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence," according to court documents.

Parnas and Fruman, who are associates of Rudy Giuliani, were previously taken into custody, along with a fourth man, Andrew Kukushkin.

Law enforcement officials say that Parnas and Fruman had booked a one-way ticket to Europe and were taken into custody at Dulles airport.

1199d ago / 2:13 PM UTC
1199d ago / 1:51 PM UTC

NBC's timeline of impeachment events

Read key developments in the investigation of President Donald Trump here.

Image: A timeline of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and the Ukraine backstory.
A timeline of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and the Ukraine backstory.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News; Getty Images; AP; Reuters
1199d ago / 11:43 AM UTC

Majority support Trump impeachment & removal, poll shows

WASHINGTON — Gallup is out with a new poll Wednesday that shows a slight majority of Americans favoring Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.

Currently, 52 percent say Trump should be impeached and removed compared to 46 percent who say he should not be. Gallup notes that these results are roughly the opposite of what they found in June when the same question was asked in the context of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. 

The poll also shows that American’s approval for Congress has increased to 25 percent compared to 18 percent back in September, prior to when House Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry.

1199d ago / 10:06 AM UTC

Former Pompeo advisor set to appear in closed House session

A former senior advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley, is expected to appear in a closed impeachment inquiry session Wednesday. McKinley, a seasoned foreign service officer, stood down last week.

Wednesday also marks the subpoena deadlines for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to turn over documents. Both men — associates of Rudy Giuliani who were arrested on alleged campaign finance allegations —  are being held in detention in Virginia until they each secure a $1 million bond.

1199d ago / 3:34 AM UTC

George Kent tells lawmakers he was told to 'lay low' after raising concerns about Giuliani

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State Department official George Kent told lawmakers in a closed-door deposition Tuesday that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney appointed three other Trump administration officials to spearhead the president's efforts in Ukraine.

According to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who was present for the deposition, Kent testified that Mulvaney oversaw a meeting where he sidelined State Department officials and tapped three political appointees — Energy Secretary Rick Perry, European Ambassador Gordon Sondland and special envoy Kurt Volker — to oversee Ukraine policy for the United States.

Kent, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State who worked on Ukraine and five other countries, told congressional investigators that the trio called themselves “the three amigos” and elbowed all the other officials at State out of the way, according to Connolly.

Read more about Kent's testimony here.

1200d ago / 11:56 PM UTC

Pelosi says House won't hold a vote on impeachment 'at this time'

Signaling that Democrats won’t cave to GOP demands, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that the House will not hold a formal floor vote on their impeachment inquiry into President Donald trump "at this time."

"There is no requirement that we have a vote. So at this time, we will not be having a vote," Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill following a brief closed-door Democratic caucus meeting. "And I’m very pleased with the thoughtfulness of our caucus in terms of being supportive of the path that we are on in terms of fairness, in terms of seeking the truth, in terms of upholding the Constitution of the United States."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who joined her at the news conference, echoed her remarks and said that the Constitution is “very clear” that an initial vote is not required.

Read more on the news conference here.

1200d ago / 11:35 PM UTC

Former Texas congressman cooperating with Manhattan prosecutors

Former Texas Rep. Pete Sessions said that he is cooperating with Manhattan prosecutors in a case that relates to Rudy Giuliani and his associates.

"Mr. Sessions is cooperating with the US Attorney from the Southern District of New York and will be providing documents to their office related to this matter over the next couple of weeks as requested," a spokesman for Sessions said. 

1200d ago / 11:33 PM UTC
1200d ago / 11:13 PM UTC
1200d ago / 10:01 PM UTC

Pence refuses House request to provide documents related to Ukraine call

Vice President Mike Pence’s office Tuesday said it will not comply with a request from the House to turn over documents related to President Donald Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

In a letter to the chairman of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, Pence counsel Matthew Morgan called the request part of a “self-proclaimed impeachment inquiry,” noting that the House of Representatives has not yet taken a vote to open the inquiry.

Those chairmen sent Pence a request on October 4 asking for documents and communications pertaining to the phone call the withholding of military and security aid to Ukraine.

Read more here.

1200d ago / 9:43 PM UTC
1200d ago / 8:56 PM UTC

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."

1200d ago / 8:38 PM UTC
1200d ago / 8:25 PM UTC

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. 

1200d ago / 8:13 PM UTC

Rudy Giuliani will not comply with congressional subpoena

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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.

1200d ago / 8:12 PM UTC

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.

 

1200d ago / 7:13 PM UTC

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.

1200d ago / 4:57 PM UTC
1200d ago / 4:43 PM UTC

House Democrats consider formal floor vote to authorize impeachment inquiry

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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.

1200d ago / 12:59 PM UTC

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.

1200d ago / 12:22 PM UTC

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

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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.

1200d ago / 10:06 AM UTC

State department official responsible for Ukraine to testify Tuesday

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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.

1201d ago / 1:53 AM UTC

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.

1201d ago / 11:55 PM UTC

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."

1201d ago / 10:54 PM UTC

Ex-Pompeo aide expected to testify in closed session

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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.

1201d ago / 7:54 PM UTC

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. 

1201d ago / 7:40 PM UTC

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.