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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

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Live Blog

Scalise seeking rules change to open up committees' proceedings

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., introduced a resolution Friday to require all House members be given access to the proceedings of the committees involved in the impeachment inquiry. Given that Democrats are in control of the chamber, however, it's unlikely the measure will advance.

The move comes as House Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., sent a letter about getting access to the materials. Also on Friday, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., sent a letter to House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., demanding transparency and accusing him of withholding documents from her and other Republicans on the panel.

McCarthy defends Mulvaney, calls for Schiff's censure

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., repeatedly defended White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday when asked if President Donald Trump should have confidence in him after he suggested Thursday that there was a quid pro quo in the Ukraine case.

“I think you saw Mick Mulvaney clarify his statement," McCarthy said. "He said, 'Let me be clear: There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukraine military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election. The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to that server,'” McCarthy said. 

Pressed further, McCarthy added, “I think what Mick clarified in his statement was very clear. I watched in all those transcripts of what people have been saying inside the investigation, Volker and others, there was no quid pro quo.”

McCarthy also accused House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., of repeatedly lying about the House investigation and said he should be censured — something Republicans could try to do next week. 

“It is appropriate for him to be censured," McCarthy said. "The question will be, will their own members stand up for what is right? Do they think it's appropriate that the chair of the Intel Committee lied to the American public, but more importantly lying to them? How can you trust anything that he puts forth?”

State official Kent testified he raised concerns about Hunter Biden's Burisma role

State Department official George Kent told House investigators this week that he raised concerns in 2015 about the appearance of a conflict of interest about Hunter Biden, the son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, but was ultimately rebuffed by a Biden aide, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News. Kent did not provide the name of the Biden aide during his closed-door testimony, one source said.  

The Washington Post first reported on Kent's concerns. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Kent told investigators, “Regardless of whether anything is wrong, it looks terrible.”

The general view from Biden world about the reporting is that a State Department official flagging concerns about Hunter Biden’s role in Ukraine wouldn’t be unusual since there were contemporaneous  reports and public op-eds written at the time about the “optics issues” resulting from his position with Burisma. For example, a New Yorker profile of Hunter Biden recently noted how his decision to take the board seat was met with unease at State and elsewhere in the Obama administration.

“Several former officials in the Obama administration and at the State Department insisted that Hunter’s role at Burisma had no effect on his father’s policies in Ukraine, but said that, nevertheless, Hunter should not have taken the board seat," the magazine's Adam Entous wrote. "As the former senior White House aide put it, there was a perception that 'Hunter was on the loose, potentially undermining his father’s message.’"

 

Krishnamoorthi: 'Sondland definitely pointed to Giuliani as engaging in some suspect activities'

Perry won't say whether he'll meet House subpoena deadline

Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry, asked in media interviews Friday morning whether he would meet impeachment investigators' deadline to hand over documents related to Ukraine, said only that he would follow the advice of the department's general counsel.

"Whatever their decision will be, I'll follow that," he told Fox News. 

Perry also elaborated on his announcement yesterday that he will be resigning effective later this year, stating that "it has absolutely nothing to do with Ukraine" and that his relationship with President Donald Trump remains "awesome."

In an interview on The Brian Kilmeade Show, Perry also addressed the Friday subpoena deadline, and said, "we'll be responding on time, today, and I will follow the advice of my lawyers at the Department of Energy."

Deadline looms for White House chief of staff to hand over documents

Friday marks the deadline for Mick Mulvaney, the White House acting chief of staff, to hand over documents relating to the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other documents sought by the impeachment inquiry.

The White House has said it won't comply with the investigation and Mulvaney is not expected to comply with the subpoena.

Friday is also the deadline for Energy Secretary Rick Perry to hand over documents. Perry said Thursday he would resign by the end of the year.

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

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.

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.

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.