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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

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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

Senate Democrats seek details on Trump's business in Turkey

Senate Democrats are asking the Trump Organization for details on how much it collects in business dealings from Turkey.

In a letter sent to President Donald Trump's company on Tuesday, four senators — Tom Udall of New Mexico, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts  — said they need information regarding the company's licensing agreement for Trump Towers-Istanbul to understand whether the president's foreign policy decisions "are being influenced by potential conflicts of interest." 

Trump's moves to withdraw U.S. troops out of northern Syria at Turkey's request and to delay action in a money laundering case involving a Turkish bank are among the decisions the four Democratic lawmakers cite. 

The letter notes that Trump himself acknowledged he could have "a little conflict of interest" when it comes to Turkey in a 2015 interview, and that the Trump Organization has pulled in between $1.2 million in royalties from the Trump Towers project since Trump took office.  

The letter seeks answers about how much the company has made from its licensing agreement for Trump Towers Istanbul-Sisli, whether the Turkish government has the power to revoke the license, and whether there have been any communications between the Trump Organization and the Turkish government about U.S.-Turkey government relations.

The letter asks for a response by Nov. 12. It comes one day after NBC News reported that House Democrats are zeroing in on the framework of an "abuse of power" narrative for their impeachment case against the president. 

A representative for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wasserman Schultz: Taylor drew 'very direct line' between Ukraine funds and Trump favors

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fl., shared her impressions so far from the ongoing deposition with Bill Taylor. She said she "has not seen a more credible witness." Schultz directly added, "I do not know how you would listen to today's testimony by the ambassador, Ambassador Taylor, and draw any other conclusion, except that the President abused his power and withheld foreign aid and, a meeting with a vital diplomatic partner, that is directly related to keeping Russia's incursion at bay in exchange an in an attempt to exchange and extract political assistance for his reelection campaign. It's a direct line."

The congresswoman said, "He drew a very direct line in a series of events he described as being President Trump's decision to withhold funds, and refuse a meeting with Zelenskiy unless there was a unless there was a public pronouncement by him of investigations of Burisma and the so-called 2016 election."

In terms of how this fits with the inquiry and what else they have heard she said, "it's like if you had 1000 piece puzzle, on a table. And these, you know subsequent depositions have really started to fill in pieces where at the beginning you know it’s not clear how everything is connected and this this filled in a lot of pieces of the puzzle and added others who I think would be worthy of questioning, some of them we were already probably planning to question and bring in for questioning anyway."

The congresswoman added, "This drew a straight line. I mean, it was straight line with documented timelines, individuals conversations."

She also said she has had several disturbing days in congress but this was "one of the most" disturbing days she’s had in Congress. 

Democratic Rep. departs Taylor deposition saying it is his most disturbing day in Congress

Freshman Democratic Rep. Andy Levin told reporters as he was departing the closed door deposition with Ambassador Bill Taylor that today is his "most disturbing day in Congress" but wouldn’t elaborate further as to why he felt that way. 

He said, "All I have to say is that in my 10 short months in Congress — it’s not even noon, right? — and this is the, my most disturbing day in the Congress so far. Very troubling."

Michael Steele, first black RNC chair, responds to Trump's 'lynching' remark

Lawmakers outraged over Trump's 'lynching' remark

Lawmakers reacted with outrage Tuesday after Trump compared the impeachment inquiry to "a lynching," calling the remark offensive and saying the president should retract it.

"You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING?" Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., tweeted. "What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet." 

"Using this term draws up some of America’s darkest history — Trump is yet again a disgrace and massively offensive," Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., tweeted. "Nobody is above the law, including him. He has abused his power — and he’s been caught. Do not get caught up in his latest distraction tactic."

Asked about the president's tweet, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., told reporters, "I resent it tremendously. I think that what we see here, once again, is this president attempting to change the narrative using what I consider to be real, caustic terms, in order to change the conversation. To compare the constitutional process to something like lynching is far beneath the office of the president of the United States."

Read the full story here.

Trump compares impeachment inquiry to 'a lynching' in morning tweet

President Donald Trump has called the House impeachment inquiry a "coup," a "witch hunt" and a "fraud," but he introduced a new phrase Tuesday to describe the process: "a lynching."

The president's use of "lynching," which elicits a time when black Americans were routinely murdered by extrajudicial white mobs, was the subject of immediate blowback.

"You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING?" Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., tweeted. "What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet."

Read the full story here.

The Inquiry: House Democrats look to key testimony this week

This week House Democrats will hear testimony from key witnesses, including acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor. How much more pressure can the administration's dam take? 

Ukraine ambassador set to give evidence in closed hearing

Amb. Bill Taylor — the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine — is set to be deposed in a closed session Tuesday. As NBC previously reported,Taylor has emerged as a key witness based on released text messages between him and the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, and the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker.

Taylor expressed his concern about where the administration was headed in its approach to Ukraine's newly elected President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, warning against tying a White House meeting or U.S. military assistance to investigations meant to benefit Trump's re-election effort.

Updated: Depositions schedule for this week

The impeachment inquiry depositions scheduled for this Thursday and Friday have been postponed because of the memorials for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who was chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, three Democratic sources told NBC News.

Here's the updated schedule, according to a committee official:

  • Acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor is expected to appear in closed session Tuesday. 
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper is expected to appear in closed session Wednesday.

The committees are in discussions with additional witnesses about testifying.

 

House Democrats zero in on 'abuse of power' narrative

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are zeroing in on a framework for their impeachment case against President Donald Trump that will center on a simple “abuse of power” narrative involving the president's actions regarding Ukraine, according to multiple people familiar with the deliberations.

As Democrats continue closed-door depositions with critical witnesses and prepare to move to the next phase of public hearings, they are wrestling over which elements and evidence to bring in, which to leave out. The goal is to explain to the public the reasoning and relevance of any eventual impeachment charges...

Read the full story.

Trump offers evidence-free suggestion that Schiff is whistleblower's 'informant'

President Donald Trump on Monday repeatedly attacked the original whistleblower at the heart of the ongoing House impeachment inquiry, going as far as offer the baseless suggestion that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was actually an informant behind the account of the president's dealings with Ukraine.

"Maybe the informant was Schiff," Trump said. "In my opinion, it’s possibly Schiff."

The first whistleblower, whose identity is not yet known, wrote in his or her complaint lodged through the intelligence community that they believed Trump had sought a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election and that the White House was trying to cover up his conduct. That included a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkiy. Trump asked his counterpart to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election as well as probe the Biden family, particularly former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter who had business dealings in Ukraine, according to a White House summary of the call.

The whistleblower relied on second-hand information for his or her account, which the whistleblower said was based off of information provided by administration officials with first-hand knowledge. There is no evidence that a source of the whistleblower's information was Schiff. The whistleblower did meet with a House Intelligence Committee aide before his or her complaint was made public. (Read the full complaint here.)

Trump then complained about the intelligence community inspector general, saying the official could have read the transcript "and then see the whistleblower’s account was totally different than" it.

"Then he would have said, 'Oh, there is no problem here,'" Trump said. "The whistleblower gave a false account."

Trump has repeatedly claimed the whistleblower gave a false account, though the complaint lined up with the call record released by the White House, was deemed credible by the Trump-appointed intelligence community inspector general and was authored by a whistleblower who the Trump-appointed acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire told Congress had acted in "good faith."

Trump on Monday again defended his call as "perfect," asking if "we have to protect a whistleblower who gives a false account?"

"I don’t know," Trump said. "You tell me."