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
- Trump is acquitted by the Senate on both articles of impeachment, with one GOP defector.
- Senate moves to impeachment trial endgame.
- Senators ask final questions before critical vote on witnesses.
- Senators probe prosecution, defense.
- The president's defense delivers closing arguments.
- Trump's legal team digs in.
- The president's defense begins.
- Democrats make case for obstruction.
- Trump impeached by the House on both articles of impeachment.
- Impeachment inquiry witnesses testify: Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill and others.
Download the NBC News mobile app for the latest news on the impeachment inquiry
Ex-Trump deputy national security adviser Kupperman a no-show for testimony
WASHINGTON — Former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman will not appear for a scheduled deposition Monday before three House congressional committees involved in leading the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, House Oversight Committee ranking member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Monday.
The White House is trying to block Kupperman's appearance, and the ex-deputy national security adviser filed a lawsuit Friday asking a federal judge to rule on whether he must testify under a congressional subpoena.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters it was "deeply regrettable" that Kupperman, a longtime associated of former national security adviser John Bolton, was a "no-show," adding, "He was compelled to appear with a lawful congressional subpoena. Witnesses like Dr. Kupperman need to do their duty and show up."
Kupperman's refusal to appear "may warrant a contempt proceeding against him," Schiff said.
Schiff: Kupperman's failure to appear could warrant contempt proceedingOct. 28, 201911:12
Biden talks Trump allegations, calls president 'an idiot' for Russia comments
Joe Biden said President Donald Trump has "no integrity" when he targets the former vice president's family on the campaign trail.
"I've never discussed my business or their business, my son's or daughter's. And I've never discussed them because they know where I have to do my job and that's it, and they have to make their own judgments," the 2020 candidate said in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday. "He's a grown man. And it turns out he did not do a single thing wrong, as everybody's investigated."
Biden also called Trump is “an idiot” for calling Russia’s election interference a “hoax,” and says it’s clear the president and the Russians are aligned in wanting to keep the former vice president from winning in 2020.
Joe Biden weighs in on impeachment, calling Trump an ‘idiot’Oct. 28, 201901:36
A Kupperman cliffhanger
It’s a congressional cliffhanger: Will former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman appear for his scheduled deposition today?
Kupperman, a longtime associate of former national security adviser John Bolton, has emerged as a key witness in the impeachment inquiry. House investigators believe he has firsthand knowledge of President Donald Trump's decisions regarding Ukraine. The White House is trying to block his appearance, and Kupperman filed a lawsuit Friday asking a federal judge to rule on whether he must testify.
The Democratic chairs of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry said in a letter to Kupperman’s attorney that the lawsuit was "lacking in legal merit" and warned that Kupperman’s “absence will constitute evidence that may be used against him in a contempt proceeding.”
Kupperman’s attorney responded late Saturday in a letter obtained by NBC News. It reads in part, “As stated in the complaint, it would not be appropriate for a private citizen like Dr. Kupperman to unilaterally resolve this momentous Constitutional dispute between the two political branches of our government. … The proper course for Dr. Kupperman, we respectfully submit, is to lay the conflicting positions before the court and abide by the court’s judgment as to which is correct.”
Kupperman’s attorney did not respond to our inquiries about whether his client will appear today.
John Kelly says he told Trump a 'yes man' would get him impeached
President Donald Trump is denying that his former chief of staff, John Kelly, ever warned him that he would be impeached if he hired a lackey to replace the former four-star general.
"John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that," Trump said in a statement after Kelly discussed his warning. "If he would have said that I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does."
Kelly said Saturday that before departing the White House he privately told Trump not to hire a "yes man." "I said, whatever you do, don't hire a 'yes man,' someone who won’t tell you the truth. Don’t do that. Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached," Kelly said at the conservative Washington Examiner Political Summit.
Kelly resigned in January and was replaced by Mick Mulvaney, an acting chief of staff whose tenure is clouded by news conference earlier this month in which his main talking points — that next year's Group of Seven summit would be hosted at Trump's Miami resort and that the president held up aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate a political rival — were essentially walked back.
Diplomat Phillip Reeker offers details on ouster of Amb. Yovanovitch
WASHINGTON — Career diplomat Phillip Reeker told congressional investigators behind closed doors what he knew about the ouster of Amb. Marie Yovanovitch, according to a source with direct knowledge of his testimony in the impeachment inquiry.
Yovanovitch, a well-respected expert on Ukraine, has said that she was fired by the direction of President Donald Trump at the recommendation of Rudy Giuliani.
Reeker told Congressional investigators that he and his colleagues in the European Bureau at the State Department attempted to put out a proactive statement in support of Amb. Marie “Masha” Yovanovich but they were told by Undersecretary David Hale to not issue it, according to a person familiar with his testimony.
Top diplomat testifies in rare Saturday session in impeachment inquiryOct. 26, 201901:54
Giuliani butt dial story inspires ridicule, envy on social media
Rudy Giuliani's role in Trump's effort to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden is serious business and could play a big role in the congressional impeachment inquiry against the president.
But that hasn't stopped journalists, pundits and observers from having a little fun — through a limerick and other jesting tweets — with Giuliani's latest predicament: his inadvertent voicemail messages left on an NBC News reporter's phone by what is colloquially known as a butt dial.
Others expressed jealousy over the call: "Butt dial me," one journalist wrote.
Impeachment hearings depict a quid pro quo that evolved over time
WASHINGTON — Grilled under oath for dozens of hours on Capitol Hill, at least three current and former U.S. officials have all made the same startling admission: A coveted White House visit for the new Ukrainian leader had been explicitly conditioned on his agreeing to investigations that could have helped President Donald Trump’s re-election.
And when Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, was asked point blank, under oath, whether that constituted a "quid pro quo," he did not dispute it, people with knowledge of his testimony said.
As impeachment proceedings march forward, a string of conflicting narratives from Trump, U.S. officials and the Ukrainians has centered on a different question: whether Trump ever overtly linked a freeze in military aid with his demand that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy investigate his political opponents — and when the Ukrainians learned of it. Trump and many Republicans argue that if the Ukrainians were in the dark, any allegation of wrongdoing by Trump falls apart.
Article II: Inside Impeachment — 'The Master Strategist'
On Friday's episode, Article II looks at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy on impeachment. Host Steve Kornacki talks to Frank Thorpe V, producer and off-air congressional reporter for NBC News, about the Senate resolution condemning the impeachment inquiry.
Download the episode here.
Republicans push for the whistleblower to testify in publicOct. 25, 201908:03
Friday's biggest impeachment-related news, so far ...
Friday has seen some major impeachment-related news. Here are some of the biggest stories so far:
- A federal court judge said a formal impeachment inquiry is underway and ordered the Justice Department to turn Mueller grand jury materials over to the House Judiciary Committee.
- The fact that Giuliani was reaching out to the NBC News reporter wasn’t remarkable, but the manner — a butt dial — was. In this faux pas and another, the president's lawyer was heard discussing the need for cash and trashing the Bidens.
- Lawyers for ex-national security adviser John Bolton — who is said to have wanted no part of the Ukraine affair — have been in contact with the House committees leading impeachment inquiry.
Judge says an impeachment inquiry is underway, orders Mueller grand jury docs released
A federal court judge on Friday ordered the Department of Justice to turn over grand jury material referenced in redacted portions of special counsel Robert Mueller's report to the House Judiciary Committee by Wednesday, Oct. 30.
"The Department of Justice claims that existing law bars disclosure to the Congress of grand jury information. DOJ is wrong," wrote Beryl Howell, the chief judge for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Howell also found that despite public protestations from the Trump administration that House Democrats have not actually launched a formal impeachment inquiry, one is underway.
Read the story here.
Katy Tur breaks down the latest developments in the impeachment inquiryOct. 25, 201901:32
Rudy Giuliani butt-dials NBC reporter, heard discussing need for cash and trashing Bidens
Late in the evening on Oct. 16, Rudy Giuliani made a phone call to this reporter.
The fact that Giuliani was reaching out wasn’t remarkable. He and the reporter had spoken earlier that night for a story about his ties to a fringe Iranian opposition group. But this call, it would soon become clear, wasn’t a typical case of a source following up with a reporter.
The call came in at 11:07 p.m. and went to voicemail; the reporter was asleep. The next morning, a message exactly three minutes long was sitting in his voicemail. In the recording, the words tumbling out of Giuliani’s mouth were not directed at the reporter. He was speaking to someone else, someone in the same room.
The call appeared to be one of the most unfortunate of faux pas: what is known, in casual parlance, as a butt dial. And it wasn’t the first time it had happened. ...
Oct. 16 accidental call: Giuliani talks business interest in BahrainOct. 25, 201900:53
Watchdogs at gov't agencies blast DOJ for not referring Ukraine whistleblower to Congress
WASHINGTON — Dozens of inspectors general across the federal government have signed a letter repudiating the Justice Department's legal opinion that the original complaint by a CIA whistleblower about President Donald Trump's conversation with Ukraine's president did not have to be turned over to Congress.
In a strongly worded statement written by the inspector general of the Justice Department, the inspectors general portrayed the opinion by the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel as dangerously wrong and severely damaging to whistleblower protections.
"The OLC opinion, if not withdrawn or modified, could seriously undermine the critical role whistleblowers play in coming forward to report waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct across the federal government," the independent watchdogs said.
Bolton lawyers in contact with House Committees on possible depositionOct. 25, 201908:46
Trump dismisses need for impeachment advisers: 'I'm the team'
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday dismissed the need for additional help in countering Democrats' impeachment efforts despite pleas from outside advisers for a more coordinated response coming from the White House.
In a comments reminiscent of his "I alone can fix it" declaration during his Inauguration, Trump told reporters gathered on the White House South Law that he will be the one leading the fight when it comes to responding to impeachment.
"Here's the thing. I don't have teams, everyone's talking about teams," Trump said. "I'm the team. I did nothing wrong."
Analysis: Republicans' absurd complaints about impeachment inquiry access are historically ignorant
Republican criticism of the ongoing impeachment inquiry process for deposing witnesses in closed-door sessions is absurd — and that was before they held a news conference Wednesday and stormed a secure hearing room, interrupting the testimony of a Pentagon official.
The GOP has cited two alleged shortcomings in the inquiry procedure: Members of Congress who do not serve on the three committees hearing testimony are barred from attending; and the depositions are not being held in a public session.
Both criticisms are baseless, because members of Congress today have a much greater role in obtaining evidence than the Judiciary Committee members had in the Nixon impeachment inquiry in 1974, and the chairman has said that the testimony will, indeed, be heard in public during the investigatory process.
Read former House Judiciary Committee counsel Michael Conway's full analysis here.
Warner calls for Barr to come before Congress over DOJ's probe into Russia investigation
Deputy national security adviser's testimony to bring inquiry within Bolton's orbit
As NBC News has reported, House investigators would like to interview former national security adviser John Bolton as part of their impeachment inquiry. Next week’s scheduled interview with former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman, brings the inquiry closer into Bolton’s orbit.
Scheduled testimony from Tim Morrison, senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, provides House investigators with direct insight from someone who typically would have listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — a central focus of the whistleblower complaint that led to the inquiry.
Multiple lawmakers tell NBC News that House investigators thought it necessary to interview Morrison after top diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor referenced him multiple times during his closed-door session last week.
Here's the updated depositions schedule:
- Due to services honoring the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., no depositions will be held Friday.
- Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, is expected to give a private deposition on Saturday.
- Kupperman is expected to appear in closed session Monday.
- Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director for European affairs at the National Security Council, is expected to appear Tuesday.
- Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, is expected to appear Wednesday.
- Morrison is expected to appear Thursday.
New poll: Americans split down party lines on impeachment
Americans are evenly divided on whether President Donald Trump should be impeached. Forty-nine percent think he should be impeached and removed from office and 49 percent are against it, according to results from a new NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll.
Voters are sharply divided along party lines. Nine in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are against impeachment and 89 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners are in favor of impeachment. Independents who don’t lean toward either party are more split with a 53 percent majority saying Trump should be impeached and 44 percent saying he should not.
American voters divided on impeachment, polling showsOct. 25, 201908:14
John Bolton's lawyers have been in contact with House committees leading inquiry
Former national security adviser John Bolton's lawyers have been in contact with officials on the committees leading the impeachment inquiry, a person close to Bolton has confirmed to NBC News.
Investigators in the inquiry have negotiated with a Bolton lawyer about a date for a closed-door deposition, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing two people briefed on the matter.
Bolton wanted no part of the President Donald Trump's alleged attempts to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate what has been described as a conspiracy theory about interference in the 2016 election, as well as into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, NBC News has reported.
Bolton told top White House official Fiona Hill to report the situation to the top lawyer at the National Security Council, John Eisenberg, according to the person in the room for Hill’s closed-door testimony last week.
Thursday's biggest impeachment-related news
If you're just catching up on the news, here are some of the biggest impeachment-related stories on Thursday you may have missed:
- Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a resolution backed by more than 40 GOP senators excoriating House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, accusing Democrats of violating due process for interviewing key witnesses behind closed doors.
- A probe by Attorney General William Barr into the origins of the Russia investigation has changed from an administrative review into a criminal investigation, a person familiar with the review confirmed to NBC News.
- One stunning moment during a top diplomat's testimony this week may prove pivotal to the congressional impeachment inquiry and even led to gasps in the room, according to one source who was present.
Justice Department review of Russia probe turns into criminal investigation
A probe by Attorney General William Barr into the origins of the Russia investigation has changed from an administrative review into a criminal investigation, a person familiar with the review confirmed to NBC News.
The review is being conducted by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham. The New York Times first reported Thursday that the administrative review has turned into a criminal investigation. It’s not clear when the change occurred, but the probe began in May as an administrative review.
The Times reported that the change in status gives Durham the power to subpoena witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges.
DOJ review of Russia probe now a criminal investigationOct. 25, 201915:00
The moment that shocked the room during Taylor's Ukraine testimony
WASHINGTON — One stunning moment during a top diplomat's testimony this week may prove pivotal to the congressional impeachment inquiry and even led to gasps in the room, according to one source who was present.
It occurred when William Taylor, the lead U.S. envoy to Ukraine, described a video conference call in July with officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Even Republicans who were present expressed concern, the source said, because the call made a direct link between President Donald Trump and the withholding of military aid to Ukraine for political purposes.
Hirono talks time frame for making proceedings public
Sen. Hirono: 'The Republicans got nothing'Oct. 24, 201904:21
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Judiciary committees, told MSNBC on Thursday that Democrats could be looking at a November time frame for making the impeachment proceedings public.
Hirono added that it's "appropriate" that the inquiry should continue in the manner that it has, after criticizing GOP efforts to disrupt the deposition of a top Pentagon official overseeing Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia policy.
The Inquiry: 'Storming the gates' was just a showOct. 24, 201901:26
Graham unveils measure slamming impeachment inquiry as Trump praises GOP efforts to fight back
WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Thursday introduced a resolution backed by more than 40 GOP senators excoriating House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, accusing Democrats of violating due process for interviewing key witnesses behind closed doors.
Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced the five-page resolution that includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as a co-sponsor on Thursday afternoon.
"What you're doing today, in my view, is unfair to the president is dangerous to the presidency," Graham said at a press conference detailing the resolution to reporters, adding "there's a way to do it — a right way and a wrong way — and you've chosen the wrong way."
The measure calls on the House to hold a floor vote that would formally initiate the impeachment inquiry, provide Trump with "with due process, to include the ability to confront his accusers, call witnesses on his behalf, and have a basic understanding of the accusations against him that would form any basis for impeachment," according to a summary released by his office.
Rep. King: 'It wasn't a delay tactic, it was a way to dramatize'Oct. 24, 201906:18
What House rules say about Republicans' complaints about access
Several Republicans who Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said planned to storm a secure deposition room Wednesday to complain about access were already able to attend the witness' testimony, according to House rules.
Those rules say members may participate in the depositions if they serve on the committees involved, stating, “Only members, committee staff designated by the chair or ranking minority member, an official reporter, the witness, and the witness's counsel are permitted to attend.”
That means Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees have been allowed to take part in the impeachment inquiry depositions, which on Wednesday involved testimony from a top Pentagon official overseeing Ukraine policy.
At least nine Republicans that already have access to the depositions were on Gaetz's list of those planning to attend his protest at the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF — a sit-in that delayed the testimony of Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, for several hours. They include Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, Lee Zeldin of New York, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Steve Watkins of Kansas, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Mark Green of Tennessee, Jody Hice of Georgia, Ron Wright of Texas and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
Several of those members — Jordan, Zeldin, Gosar, Watkins, Norman, Hice and Perry — have been spotted by NBC News going in and out of the depositions. In total, 47 Republicans, or about a quarter of the conference in the House, are already able to attend the closed-door tesimony.
Carly Fiorina talks GOP strategy on impeachmentOct. 24, 201905:17
Analysis: Why Trump's impeachment defense sounds a lot like his Mueller defense
On Tuesday, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, gave what House Democrats described as "disturbing" testimony about President Donald Trump's Ukraine dealings. The testimony was not open to the public, but news outlets obtained and subsequently published Taylor’s 15-page opening statement.
Taylor’s statement makes clear that Trump did indeed pressure Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden. It’s an abuse of power and a flagrant attempt to use the office of the presidency for personal gain. But as both Taylor’s statement and Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s statements to Congress also make clear, Trump wants the issue framed in terms of bribery (a crime) instead of abuse of power. Why? Because bribery — like all crimes — is hard to prove.
Read attorney and author Teri Kanefield's full analysis here.
Swalwell discusses why Dems are keeping testimony closed to the public
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a member of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, told CNN on Thursday that Democrats aren't interviewing witnesses publicly at this point as a precaution against witnesses tailoring their testimony.
"What we're doing right now is a first pass," Swalwell said. "We are interviewing the witnesses that we know may have been involved and actually paring down that information so that you can pull out what's relevant for the public.
"But also, I want to say this, because it's a fair question that you and others have asked, which is, why we are not doing it publicly right now?" Swalwell continued. "There was no preliminary investigation done by a special prosecutor or special counsel like Watergate or in the Clinton impeachment trial. We know, however, we have evidence, very recently, that there are witnesses in our case who are talking to each other. That's exactly what we don't want to happen until we have that preliminary investigation. We don't want them to tailor the testimony to each other, we don’t want them to manufacture alibis. So we're trying to protect the information as much as we can before we bring it forward to the public."
"[T]hat's why we're doing this in a closed fashion," he added. "Closed to the public, not to the 120 members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats — who have access to the room.”
Speier: Democrats are close to having enough info to make their case
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a member of the House Oversight Committee, said Thursday on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" that she thinks Democrats are close to having enough information to present their case for impeachment to the public, despite stonewalling from the Trump administration and opposition from Republicans in Congress.
"I think we’re close to having enough," Speier said, referring to text messages provided by former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and testimony from the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor.
Speier also said lawmakers haven't made a decision to subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton, who wanted no part of the administration's Ukraine efforts, according to the testimony of the White House's former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill. "But I think his testimony could be very compelling," Speier said.
Updated depositions schedule
Due to services honoring the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, no depositions will be held today or Friday. Here's the updated impeachment inquiry schedule, according an official working on the inquiry.
- Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, is expected to appear in closed session on Saturday.
- Former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman is expected to appear in closed session on Monday.
- Timothy Morrison, senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, is expected to appear in closed session on Thursday, Oct. 31.
The committees are in discussions with other witnesses.
The biggest impeachment news of the day you may have missed
Just catching up on Wednesday's impeachment news? Here's what you may have missed:
- Pentagon official Laura Cooper began her testimony in front of House impeachment investigators five hours late after Republicans stormed the hearing.
- The House Parliamentarian ruled that the GOP members were in violation of House deposition rules, according to an Intelligence Committee official.
- In trying to keep Trump's tax returns secret, Trump's lawyers argued he can't be charged with a crime while in office — even if he shoots someone.
- 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.
The latest episode of Article II: Inside Impeachment
On today’s episode, Article II does a deep dive into top diplomat Bill Taylor’s opening statement in the House impeachment inquiry. Host Steve Kornacki talks to Dan De Luce, national security and global affairs reporter for the investigative unit at NBC News, about the most important moments from Taylor’s opening statement on Tuesday.
The two discuss:
- Key moments from Taylor’s opening statement
- Whether what we learned from Taylor’s opening statement supports a theory of "quid pro quo"
- White House and Republican response to Taylor’s testimony
Plus, an update on the Republican effort to interrupt Pentagon official Laura Cooper’s Wednesday deposition and NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams answers a listener question about what happens if a witness lies under oath during a deposition.
What Graham says is missing from Trump's impeachment messaging ...
Here's what Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., says the White House should do to improve its impeachment messaging:
“I think Clinton had a pretty good model," Graham told NBC News on Wednesday. "He let people answer questions about impeachment that were trained in the law. He had a spokesperson that was on message every day, that actually talked about what to say every day. He spent most of his time trying to govern the country. I would recommend that model. I saw it in action, I was on the receiving end of it. It worked.
“What’s missing here, I think, is that coordinated effort to put somebody in charge of developing a message and delivering it. I believe that’s about to be corrected, I hope. I like Mulvaney, but the news conference was not exactly what you want. So, you want people who understand the legal implications of what you say as well as the political implications.
“I think the area most right for the president right now is, 'I’m being treated unfairly, they’re selectively leaking things against me, I can’t challenge the witnesses against me, and this is fundamentally an un-American process; I did nothing wrong,' and just sort of point to the abuses in the House and have a discipline about that.
“At the same time, I think he needs to reach out to Democrats and Republicans and say, 'In the middle of all this mess, let’s see if we can do something on the USMCA and prescription drugs.'”
Katy Tur breaks down the latest developments in the impeachment inquiryOct. 23, 201901:27
Schiff accuses Trump's allies of trying to stop witnesses from testifying
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told NBC News that he hopes Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, will testify Wednesday as planned. He also confirmed that Cooper had been subpoenaed to testify.
Schiff accused the Republicans disrupting Cooper's deposition of trying to stop her and other witnesses from testifying.
Q: Will Laura Cooper testify today?
A: I certainly hope so. The witness has been waiting a long time.
Q: Are Republicans still in the room?
A: You’ll have to ask them. ... Clearly the White House was devastated by yesterday’s testimony, and these witnesses have been willing to defy the administration and follow the law and come testify, so the president’s allies are trying to stop them through other means, but they won’t be successful.
Q: She was issued a subpoena to appear today?
"The House parliamentarian has ruled that these members are in violation of House deposition rules."
A House Intelligence Committee official said the "stunt" was "in service of the president’s demand that they 'fight harder' to obstruct a legitimate impeachment inquiry," adding, "The House parliamentarian has ruled that these members are in violation of House deposition rules."
The official also said Republican members had brought their electronics into the secure facility where the testimony was to take place, "a major security breach." Several lawmakers refused to remove their devices even after the sergeant- at-arms and security personnel raised the issue, the official said.
The official also pointed out that former GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chaired the House Select Committee on Benghazi, emphasized at the time that non-committee members were not allowed in the deposition room.
In battleground Wisconsin, support for impeachment lags behind national polls
WASHINGTON — A new Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin, arguably the most important state for the 2020 presidential race, is a reminder that the national poll results we’re seeing are a bit different than in the attitudes in top battleground states for 2020.
In the poll, 46 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin say there is enough cause for Congress to hold impeachment hearings on Trump, versus 49 percent who disagree. That 46 percent is lower than the majorities we’ve seen in most national polls supporting the impeachment inquiry.
The poll also finds 44 percent of Wisconsin supporting Trump’s impeachment/removal from office, versus 51 percent who oppose it.
Trump’s job rating in Wisconsin is 46 percent in the poll — slightly higher than his national average in the low 40s.
In hypothetical general-election matchups, Biden leads Trump by 6 points in the state, 50 percent to 44 percent. That’s compared with Bernie Sanders’ 2-point lead (48 percent to 46 percent), Elizabeth Warren’s 1-point lead (47 percent to 46 percent), and Pete Buttigieg’s 2-point deficit (43 percent-45 percent).
Most national polling shows all of these Democrats ahead of Trump by double digits or high-single digits.
The poll was conducted Oct. 13-17 of 799 registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.
Trump's lawyers argue he can't be charged while in office — even if he shoots someone
WASHINGTON — A panel of three federal appeals court judges appeared to be unreceptive on Wednesday to President Donald Trump's claim that local prosecutors cannot get his financial records as long as he's in office — and heard an extreme hypothetical from the president's lawyers making the case.
The long-standing view of the Justice Department is that a president cannot be indicted while in office. William Consovoy, President Trump's lawyer, told the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the immunity extends to the entire criminal justice process, including grand jury subpoenas for documents.
Carey Dunne, New York District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.'s general counsel, said the president's position is too absolute.
There could be examples where a state should be able to conduct a criminal investigation of a sitting president, "if, for example, he did pull out a handgun and shoot someone on Fifth Avenue."
Asked about that, Consovoy said a president could be charged with such a crime once he was out of office or if he was impeached and removed from office. "This is not a permanent immunity," he said.
"I'm talking about while in office. Nothing could be done? That's your position?" asked Judge Denny Chin.
"That is correct," Consovoy said.
Trump's former acting attorney general says 'abuse of power' isn't a crime
Former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump hours after Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to the Ukraine, on Tuesday testified that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals by withholding crucial military aid.
In a segment on the House impeachment inquiry, Whitaker told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that "abuse of power is not a crime."
"I’m a former prosecutor and what I know is this is a perfect time for preliminary hearings where you would say show us your evidence," Whitaker said. "What evidence of a crime do you have? So the Constitution— abuse of power is not a crime."
"Let’s fundamentally boil it down," he added. "The Constitution is very clear that there has to be some pretty egregious behavior and they cannot tell the American people what this case is even about."
NBC News has reported that House Democrats are zeroing in on abuse of power in the inquiry. Impeachment battles involving former Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon both involved abuse of power charges, though Nixon resigned before he was impeached.
Republicans delay start of Pentagon official's closed-door testimony in impeachment inquiry
WASHINGTON — A group of House Republicans on Wednesday delayed the start of closed-door testimony by Laura Cooper, the top Pentagon official overseeing U.S. policy regarding Ukraine, after they stormed the secure room where the deposition was being held.
Led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., the GOP members — who don’t sit on the committees who are questioning witnesses in the impeachment inquiry — entered the secure room, known as a SCIF, in the basement of the Capitol Visitor’s Center. Before entering, they protested Democrats’ handling of the probe, arguing that the process was not fair to Republicans or the president.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., told reporters that there were approximately 20 GOP members in the room who refused to leave, and said that they came into the secure room yelling that they be allowed inside. Some of these members brought their cell phones, which is not permitted.
"This is being held behind closed doors for a reason because they don’t want you to see what the witnesses are like," Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told reporters Wednesday morning before they entered the room. “This is a Soviet style impeachment process. This is closed doors, it is unfair in every way and I don’t care whether you are the president of the United States or any other citizens of this country, you should be allowed to confront your witnesses."
Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leading the impeachment investigation, explained last week that there is precedent stemming from the Watergate era, as well as President Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, for holding the initial investigation behind closed doors. He also said that he anticipated a time when impeachment investigators will release the transcripts of the depositions, and that the House may call back some of those witnesses to testify in public.
On Wednesday, Biggs and other members appeared to post tweets from inside the room.
Republican Sen. Thune: 'Picture...is not a good one'
Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, reacted on Wednesday to the closed-door testimony of top diplomat Bill Taylor, who said Ukraine aid from the U.S. was linked Trump demands for probes of the Bidens:
"The picture coming out of it based on the reporting we'e seen is, yeah, I would say is not a good one, but I would say also that, again, until we have a process that allows for everybody to see this in full transparency it's pretty hard to draw any hard fast conclusions."
Thune added, "I think that whatever (Taylor) said in private it ought to be done in public. And I think the Republicans are right to point out that this has been very a sort of rigged process relative to previous impeachment exercises that have been undertaken in the past."
More than 200 former USAID officers blast Trump administration's treatment of diplomats
WASHINGTON — More than 260 former foreign service officers, political appointees at the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as civil servants, are blasting the Trump administration for its treatment of current diplomats at the State Department and for the White House decision to freeze U.S. assistance to Ukraine.
In a statement of support obtained by NBC News from one of its signatories, Desaix “Terry” Myers, the former officials wrote that they were writing in support of their colleagues “now under siege for their work as diplomats.”
“Together, we spent our careers working to represent the policies and values of the United States. We are angered at the treatment of dedicated, experienced, and wise public servants like Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch; and we are distraught at the dangers inherent in the President’s cavalier (and quite possibly corrupt) approach to making foreign policy on impulse and personal interest rather than in response to national security concerns,” the statement says.
The statement was signed by a variety of former USAID officers, including some former ambassadors. Myers served as USAID’s mission director for Russia and Indonesia and previously taught at the National War College.
The former officials said that they are “appalled” that taxpayer dollars set aside by Congress for military assistance to Ukraine “may have been used to leverage foreign support for partisan political objectives.”
“The way the President is conducting foreign policy raises questions about the reliability of the U.S. as a partner, its commitment to diplomatic norms, and its capacity for leadership,” they wrote.
In addition to praising former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, they commended the other officials who have also testified so far in the House impeachment inquiry including Bill Taylor, charge d’affaires in Ukraine, Michael McKinley, who recently resigned as one of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s top advisers, and George Kent, a senior official in charge of Ukraine policy at the State Department.
Laura Cooper, the top Pentagon official overseeing U.S. policy regarding Ukraine, is testifying behind closed doors Wednesday and is expected to face questions about the White House’s decision over the summer to withhold military assistance to Ukraine.
Rick Perry 'happy to' talk to lawmakers once they abide by 'precedent'
Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters outside the White House on Wednesday that he would “be happy to come forward” to talk to House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry if “they follow the precedent, when they follow what has been referred to me as the precedent of an inquiry.”
“But the fact is, I’m not going to participate, the White House has advised us not to participate, my general counsel has told me not to participate in what they consider to be an unprecedented effort to try to use an inquiry in an unlawful way,” Perry said.
Perry, whom Democrats have subpoenaed for documents related to Trump and Ukraine, suggested in a Fox Business interview Wednesday that abiding by precedent included holding a vote on the impeachment inquiry — something House Republicans have demanded but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said is not required.
Perry, who announced last week that he will step down, has emerged as a central figure in Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to open an investigation into the Biden family and the 2016 election. The energy secretary was one of a cadre of officials — including now-former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — who ran an “irregular” channel of U.S. policymaking on the country, according to acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor’s testimony Tuesdaybefore the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry.
Demings wants Sondland to 'clear up' contradictions with TaylorOct. 23, 201904:59
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.
Approval for impeachment inquiry grows, poll showsOct. 23, 201906:12
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.
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.
‘How dare he!’ Black lawmakers react to Trump's 'lynching' comparisonOct. 22, 201901:22
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."
McConnell: 'I don't recall' talking to Trump about his call with UkraineOct. 22, 201900:25
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.
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."
Clyburn responds to Trump tweet comparing impeachment to a lynchingOct. 22, 201901:32
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."
Trump compares impeachment probe to ‘a lynching’Oct. 22, 201909:43
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...
House Democrats zero in on 'abuse of power' impeachment focusOct. 21, 201906:59
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."
Acting budget chief tweets intent not to comply with House requests
Republicans to hold vote over Adam Schiff's role in impeachment investigation
House Republicans are expected to push a vote on Monday on a resolution to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Republicans are taking issue with how Schiff is conducting the impeachment investigation. The House votes at 6:30PM ET.
Amb. Bill Taylor — the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who in a text message called a quid pro quo over military assistance "crazy" — is set to be deposed Tuesday. NBC News reports that Taylor left Ukraine last week for Washington, D.C., after House Democrats requested he appear.
Among others invited for closed-door testimony this week are Trump administration officials in the State Department, White House budget office, National Security Council (NSC) and Defense Department. It’s not clear if all will appear as scheduled.
Mulvaney insists he didn't say Trump held up Ukraine aid for political reasons. But he did.
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney insisted Sunday that he did not say that President Donald Trump held up military aid for Ukraine for political purposes — despite acknowledging the issue at the heart of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry during a televised press conference.
"I'm flinching because that's what people are saying that I said, but I didn't say that," Mulvaney told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace of the comments he made — and then walked back in a contradictory statement — Thursday.
Read more about Mulvaney's defense of his remarks here.
Introducing Article II: Inside Impeachment, a new politics podcast
The first episode is out now. Each week, host Steve Kornacki, national political correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, talks with his colleagues about what's happening in Washington and why it matters for the nation.
Today, his guest is Julia Ainsley, who covers the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. The pair discuss the closed-door nature of the House's inquiry into President Donald Trump.
New episodes of Article II: Inside Impeachment will drop every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with bonus episodes for breaking news. Listen for free wherever you get your podcasts, and learn more about the show here.
Today in The Inquiry: Impeachment defenses crumble
This week has shown the dismantling of President Trump's impeachment defense by his own people. What case have Democrat's built so far, and can the White House keep whatever is left of their defense standing?
Ex-Gov. Kasich calls for Trump's impeachment, Senate trial
Updated: Depositions schedule for next week
Here is what has been advised for the closed-door depositions next week before the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry.
- Acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor is expected to appear Tuesday, Oct. 22.
- Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of European and Eurasian affairs, and Michael Duffey, the associate director for national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget, are expected to testify on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
- Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper and Alexander Vindman, director of European affairs at the National Security Council, are expected to give depositions on Thursday, Oct. 24.
The committees are in discussions with other witnesses.
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.
McCarthy: Schiff has 'knowingly lied to us' and should be censuredOct. 18, 201901:35
“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'
Congressman weighs in on this week's hearingsOct. 18, 201908:39
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.
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.
Pelosi: Impeachment timeline ‘will depend on the truth …’Oct. 17, 201905:37
"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.
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.
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."
Top State Department aide resigned because of Pompeo's silence on Marie Yovanovitch
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."
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.”
McConnell on Senate trial if House sends articles of impeachmentOct. 16, 201900:37
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.
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.
The Inquiry: Trump’s inner circle defies House subpoenasOct. 16, 201910:44
House Democrats ask U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to appear for questioning
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.”
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.
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.”
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."
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.
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.
Monica Lewinsky: Impeachment is 'bigger than me'Oct. 16, 201900:44
NBC's timeline of impeachment events
Read key developments in the investigation of President Donald Trump here.
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.
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.
George Kent tells lawmakers he was told to 'lay low' after raising concerns about Giuliani
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.
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.
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.
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.
McConnell: Democrats are 'throwing fairness and precedent to the wind'Oct. 15, 201902:04
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."
Sen. Murphy: We now know for certain there was a quid pro quoOct. 15, 201906:09
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.
Rudy Giuliani will not comply with congressional subpoena
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."
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.
Trump brings up impeachment while honoring 2019 Stanley Cup ChampionsOct. 15, 201900:55
"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.
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.
Rep. Speier: White House aides who testify are 'true heroes'Oct. 15, 201905:48
House Democrats consider formal floor vote to authorize impeachment inquiry
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.
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.
Bolton wanted White House lawyers alerted to Ukrainian efforts, called it 'drug deal,' witness tells Congress
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."
State department official responsible for Ukraine to testify Tuesday
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.
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.
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."
Ex-Pompeo aide expected to testify in closed session
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.
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.
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.
Rep. Matt Gaetz ejected from Fiona Hill testimony
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz tried to sit in on the closed door testimony of Trump's former Russia aide Fiona Hill, but because he is not a member of any the committees interviewing Hill, he was asked to leave by the House parliamentarian. He wouldn’t say if he would try to come to any other depositions this week.
He spoke to reporters after the ordeal:
More depositions scheduled for this week
Multiple sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News the committees leading the impeachment inquiry have scheduled the following additional depositions for this week:
Oct. 15: George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine.
Oct. 17: State Department counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl.
As of this writing, it’s unlikely that Kent and Brechbuhl will appear as scheduled given White House efforts to block the testimony of current Trump administration officials.
This week's schedule of depositions and deadlines
Here's the House impeachment inquiry deposition and deadline schedule for the rest of the week.
Fiona Hill, Trump's former top Russia adviser, appears for a closed deposition.
- House returns from recess.
- Subpoena deadline for Rudy Giuliani to turn over documents.
- Subpoena deadlines for Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought to turn over documents.
- Request deadline for the office of Vice President Mike Pence to turn over documents.
- Subpoena deadlines for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to turn over documents.
- Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland agrees to appear and testify for closed-door deposition.
- Subpoena deadline for acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to turn over documents.
- Subpoena deadline for Energy Secretary Rick Perry to turn over documents.
'Sooo wrong': Trump attacks Schiff, whistleblower over characterization of Ukraine call
President Donald Trump attacked House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., again on Monday morning over his characterization of Trump's July phone call with the newly elected president of Ukraine — a conversation that figures at the center of the House impeachment inquiry.
Trump again said Schiff's comments at a hearing with the acting director of national intelligence last month "fraudulently" fabricated Trump's statements during the call. He also said the whistleblower who filed an official complaint about the call had gotten his conversation with the Ukrainian president "sooo wrong."
NBC News has reported that Schiff himself described his opening remarks at the hearing as a "parody" and that some of his phrasing matches the White House's own summary of what Trump said.