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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

Poll shows growing support for impeachment

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed that American voters' support for the House impeachment inquiry has reached its highest level, at 55 percent in the survey.

On the flip side, 43 percent of voters disapprove of the inquiry. Last week, the poll showed 51 percent approved of the inquiry, while 45 percent disapproved.

Among Democrats, 93 percent approve of the inquiry, as well as 58 percent of independents and 10 percent of Republicans. Among those who disapprove were 88 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats.

Nearly half of the respondents, 48 percent said Trump should be impeached and removed from office while 46 percent say he should not. Last week, that total was flipped.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,587 self-identified registered voters between Oct. 17 and Oct. 21. The survey had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Pentagon official to give evidence on Ukraine military aid at closed hearing

House investigators expect Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, to on Wednesday offer insight about the White House decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine, despite the Pentagon's recommendation that it proceed.

Cooper, a top Pentagon career official overseeing Ukraine policy, will appear at a closed-door hearing even though the Defense Department told Congress that it would not comply with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Michael Duffey, a politically appointed official in the White House budget office, who oversees the process for approving and releasing foreign aid, is not expected to appear as scheduled today after the Office of Management and Budget acting director Russ Vought said the office would not cooperate with the impeachment probe.

Six highlights from Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor's 'explosive' testimony

President Donald Trump’s top diplomat to Ukraine testified Tuesday in a closed-door deposition to members of Congress in the House's impeachment inquiry, and his remarkable 15-page statement raised serious concerns about Trump's denials of a quid pro quo.

Bill Taylor wrote in the statement delivered to Congress that "there appeared to be two channels of U.S. policy-making and implementation, one regular and one highly irregular," and that it became clear to him that a freeze in U.S. aid to Ukraine was tied to a probe into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Read six of the statement's most astonishing scenes described in Taylor's testimony here.

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans Senate resolution to condemn House impeachment inquiry

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says that he will introduce a resolution in the Senate to condemn the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump in the House of Representatives.

"This resolution puts the Senate on record condemning the House. ... We cannot allow future presidents, and this president, to be impeached based on an inquiry in the House that's never been voted upon," Graham, R-S.C. told  Fox News' Sean Hannity on Tuesday night's show.

House Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump centered on an alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to announce investigations into a conspiracy theory about the 2016 presidential election and into a gas company which had hired former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter.

Critics say that amounted to an abuse of power by Trump for his own political gain in the 2020 election. Some Republicans have complained the House effort is unfair.

There is no requirement that the House conduct a vote before launching an impeachment inquiry. Graham objected to the closed-door depositions that have been held, and he said "any impeachment vote based on this process, to me is illegitimate, is unconstitutional, and should be dismissed in the Senate without a trial."

Read Bill Taylor's full opening statement

Top diplomat Bill Taylor says Ukraine aid was linked to Trump demands of Biden, 2016 probes

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, told members of Congress Tuesday that President Donald Trump directed officials to tie foreign aid to Ukraine to demands that the country open an investigation into the Biden family as well as the 2016 election.

According to a copy of his opening statement provided to NBC News, Taylor said that E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland told him that while Trump was not requesting a "quid pro quo," he insisted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy publicly announce investigations into the Bidens and matters relating to the 2016 presidential election.

Taylor said that Sondland told him, "President Trump was adamant that President Zelenskiy, himself, had to "clear things up and do it in public." President Trump said it was not a "quid pro quo." Ambassador Sondland said that he had talked to President Zelenskiy and [Zelenskiy adviser Andriy] Yermak and told them that, although this was not a quid pro quo, if President Zelenskiy did not clear things up public, we would be at a stalemate."

"I understood a stalemate mean that Ukraine would not receive the much-needed military assistance," Taylor added.

Read more of Taylor's testimony here.

Sondland willing to testify again if asked

As of Tuesday afternoon, E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland has not been asked to come and testify again before the House, according to a person with knowledge of Sondland’s plans. But if they do ask, he is willing to do so, that person said.

Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor's testimony on Tuesday raised questions about Sondland's past statements.

McConnell weighs in on Trump's 'lynching' tweet, Ukraine call claim

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., weighed in on the backlash over the president's Tuesday morning tweet comparing the impeachment inquiry to a "lynching." 

"Given the history in our country, I would not compare this to a lynching." McConnell said when asked about the president's remark. "That was an unfortunate choice of words." He added, "It is an unfair process, and a better way to characterize it would to be to call it an unfair process, and inconsistent with the kinds of procedural safeguards that are routinely provided for people in this kind of situation, either in court or in an impeachment process in our country."

McConnell also denied Trump's claim that the majority leader had said his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was "innocent." 

"I haven't — we've not had any conversations on that subject," McConnell said when asked about Trump's claim. Pressed on whether the president had been untruthful, the senator responded, "You'll have to ask him. I don't recall any conversations with the president about that phone call."

When asked earlier this month about what McConnell was telling him about the GOP's take on impeachment, Trump claimed that the senator had said, "That was the most innocent phone call that I've read."

 

Top diplomat Bill Taylor gave 'disturbing,' 'explosive' testimony on Trump's Ukraine dealings, Democrats say

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, offered a "disturbing" portrayal of President Donald Trump's Ukraine dealings during his closed door testimony to impeachment investigators on Tuesday, according to House Democrats.

Democrats described Taylor’s testimony as crucial, saying that he not only filled in many of the holes created by previous testimonies and depositions but is also drawing a "direct line" between the president's demand for an investigation by the Ukrainians into his political rivals and U.S. military aid.

"Without question the most powerful testimony," Rep. Steven Lynch, D-Mass., said, because Taylor has "first-hand knowledge” of all the conversations that were had.

Taylor’s opening statement is described by members as long, as many as 15 pages, according to Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Calif. Two Democrats also said that Taylor took "meticulous" personal notes but those have not yet been handed over to the committee.

Read more about Taylor's testimony and Democrats' reaction here.