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Trump impeachment: Analysis and news on the House charges and Senate acquittal of the president

The Senate trial on the two articles of impeachment against Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, ended with acquittal on both charges.
Image: Impeachment live blog
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The fast-moving impeachment of President Donald Trump, stemming from his dealings with Ukraine, moved to the Senate for trial in January after the House voted a month earlier to adopt two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The Senate voted in early February to acquit the president on both charges.

Trump's impeachment followed weeks of testimony related to his efforts to press Ukraine for investigations into Democratic rivals and hours of fiery debate over the process.

Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Read all of the breaking news and analysis on impeachment from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

Trump impeachment highlights

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

1189d ago / 7:01 PM UTC

Vindman testimony draws direct line on quid pro quo

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Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that a White House meeting between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Zelenskiy — as well as the delivery of nearly $400 million in security and military aid — was "contingent" on Ukrainian officials carrying out investigations into Burisma, the Bidens, the 2016 election and CrowdStrike, NBC News has learned.

Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said in his opening statement at Tuesday's closed door testimony, "I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine."

Two sources familiar with the testimony say that Vindman later went further than his opening statement by drawing a direct line between the deliverables for Ukraine and the multiple investigations.

1189d ago / 6:16 PM UTC

McConnell: Impeachment measure denies Trump 'basic rights'

WASHINGTON — The House Democrats' impeachment resolution would deny President Donald Trump the "most basic rights of due process," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday in a floor speech sharply criticizing the leaders behind the measure.

McConnell went after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., saying that "instead of setting a high bar, House Democrats seem determined to set a new low." The resolution, he said, would deny the "most basic rights of due process" to Trump, such as having his lawyer participate in closed-door depositions by the committee.

The House is expected to vote on the measure Thursday as Democrats look to counter protests from Trump and his Republicans allies that the impeachment process is illegitimate and unfair. The resolution calls for open hearings and requires the House Intelligence Committee to submit a report outlining its findings and recommendations.

Democrats compare the committee's role in the impeachment inquiry to a fact-finding grand jury proceeding in which the accused does not have rights to counsel. They say the resolution establishes rights comparable to episodes such the 1998-1999 impeachment and trial of President Bill Clinton. In Clinton's case, independent counsel Ken Starr conducted an extensive investigation and delivered boxes of sworn testimony that he said likely constituted grounds for impeachment.

1189d ago / 6:03 PM UTC

Read State Dept. official Christopher Anderson's opening remarks

Christopher Anderson, who was a special adviser to former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, is scheduled to testify Wednesday afternoon before the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry. 

Anderson is expected to say in his opening statement that former national security adviser John Bolton had cautioned him that Trump personal attorney Rudy “Giuliani was a key voice with the President on Ukraine which could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement.”

Anderson was also expected to testify that Giuliani’s attempt to urge the Ukrainian government to open investigations was discussed at a Ukraine strategy meeting at the Department of Energy in June. It was a June 18 meeting this year in which Energy “Secretary [Rick] Perry hosted a follow-up meeting at the Department of Energy to discuss how to move forward” with engaging Ukraine.

1189d ago / 5:05 PM UTC

Trump campaign launches $1 million anti-impeachment television campaign

WASHINGTON — President Trump's re-election campaign is out with a new television spot blasting impeachment as a "scam" and a "bunch of bull," as the president looks to sway public opinion in key Democratic primary states as well as some swing states pivotal to his own 2020 bid. 

The campaign started airing the ad Wednesday morning, shortly after the campaign booked $1.15 million in time across Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. from Oct. 30 through Nov. 5, according to spending data from Advertising Analytics. 

The breakdown: $400,000 of that total is booked for Nevada, $387,000 is booked for Pennsylvania, $257,000 is booked for Iowa, $64,000 is booked in Boston (which covers most of New Hampshire) and $42,600 is booked in Washington D.C.

In the spot, a smattering of speakers take turns lambasting impeachment in a variety of settings—at home, in offices, and on factory floors.

"Impeachment is a scam."

Impeachment is a bunch of bull."

"Impeachment is a joke."

"It’s a partisan witch hunt."

 "They can’t get over the fact that Donald Trump won. The Democrats are trying to overturn the election. Ignore how we voted. Donald Trump is an excellent president. Over 6 million new jobs. My job is here, not China. My paycheck is bigger. Black and Hispanic women are finally gaining. Donald Trump is my president." 

Public sentiment appears to be creeping toward supporting impeachment, but strong majorities voters are still not sold on removing Trump from office. 

1189d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

ANALYSIS: Pelosi wants Americans to see the trial of Donald Trump

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi's patience was rewarded.

With the impeachment script fully flipping this week, it's Pelosi who wants Americans to watch every turn of the trial of President Donald Trump, and Republicans who have abruptly stopped calling for more transparency.

"They want transparency like a hole in the head, for crying out loud," said Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. "Transparency is not going to help them."

The reason for the change: the facts in evidence.

Read more about Pelosi's impeachment strategy here.

Image: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her office at the Capitol on Sept. 27, 2019.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her office at the Capitol on Sept. 27, 2019.Damon Winter / NYT via Redux file
1189d ago / 3:49 PM UTC

Jordan not concerned about changes to White House notes, claims whistleblower 'bias'

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, told reporters Wednesday that he wasn’t concerned about Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s testimony about changes in the notes released by the White House about President Donald Trump’s Ukraine call.

"No, I mean, there's a process," Jordan said. "The changes I think that were outlined in the press were not a big deal, if in fact that was the case."

Jordan also said he and other House Republicans would like to speak to the U.S. officials whose information formed the basis of the whistleblower’s complaint to determine if any of them had a bias, which he suggested was the case for the whistleblower. 

"What we're focused on is determining people's credibility and what their bias and motive is," Jordan said. "We know one thing — well, there are a couple of things about this whistleblower. The Oversight Committee probably deals with more whistleblowers than any committee in Congress. You always look for two things when a whistleblower comes forward. Did they have firsthand knowledge, and what is their bias and/or motive? This individual, whomever he may be, has problems in both areas."

The inspector general of the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, wrote to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire on Aug. 26 and mentioned an "indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the Complainant in favor of a rival political candidate" in considering the credibility of the whistleblower's complaint. But Atkinson, a Trump appointee, determined this did not change the facts surrounding the issue, “particularly given the other information the ICIG obtained during its preliminary review” of the complaint, and concluded the complaint was "credible" and of "urgent concern."

1189d ago / 3:08 PM UTC

In Ukraine, leaders struggle to keep their heads down amid U.S. impeachment circus

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KYIV, Ukraine — With Washington consumed by a frenzied political circus fueled by impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, the Ukrainian government thrust into the middle of the scandal has a single, plaintive request: Please leave us out of it.

In the Ukrainian capital, the impeachment saga has emerged as a sword of Damocles for new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, with each new wrinkle and disclosure before Congress threatening to pull his government further into the morass. For Ukrainian leaders, there is no upside but plenty of downside to becoming the latest cudgel in Washington’s deeply polarized political battleground.

Read the full story here.

1189d ago / 3:05 PM UTC
1189d ago / 2:54 PM UTC

Read Ukraine special adviser Catherine Croft's opening statement

Catherine Croft, a State Department special adviser for Ukraine, began her closed-door deposition on Wednesday morning before the three House committees leading the inquiry.

Croft is expected to say she participated in a July video conference where an Office of Management and Budget official reported that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had placed a hold on U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. The only reason given was that the order came "at the direction of the president," her opening statement says.

Croft, who joined the National Security Council in July 2017 and stayed there through the first half of 2018, is expected to tell lawmakers that she received multiple calls from Robert Livingston — a lobbyist and former GOP member of Congress who resigned in 1998 for an affair — who told her that Marie Yovanovitch, then the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, should be fired.

1189d ago / 1:21 PM UTC

Rep. Jamie Raskin on the resolution outlining the path forward

1189d ago / 12:47 PM UTC

Ukraine military aid held up at Trump's direction, State Dept. witness expected to say

Catherine Croft, a Ukraine specialist who was an aide to former special envoy Kurt Volker, is expected to testify Wednesday that she was part of a July meeting with the White House Office of Management and Budget in which an official said the hold on military aid to Ukraine came “at the direction of the president,” according to her opening statement.

The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, also has testified that the hold came at Trump's direction.

Croft is also expected to say that while working in a prior role at the at National Security Council, she would get calls from lobbyist Robert Livingston, a former congressman, saying now-former Ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch should be fired because she was an “Obama holdover." 

Meanwhile, former Volker aide Christopher Anderson is expected to testify Wednesday that Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to urge the Ukrainian government to open investigations into Trump's political rivals, including the Bidens, was discussed at a Ukraine strategy meeting at the Department of Energy in June.

Read the full story here.

1189d ago / 10:22 AM UTC

State Department special adviser for Ukraine expected to appear in closed session

Catherine Croft, State Department special adviser for Ukraine, is expected to testify that closed session on Wednesday starting at 9 a.m., followed by former special adviser to Ambassador Kurt Volker, Christopher Anderson.

Anderson will testify that Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to urge the Ukrainian government to open investigations was discussed at a Ukraine strategy meeting at the Department of Energy in June.

Croft is expected to say that she was part of the July 18 meeting with the Office of Management and Budget and heard an official say that the hold on military aid came “at the direction of the president,” according to her opening statement obtained by NBC News.

The House Rules Committee is also meeting at to debate and amend the resolution to formalize the next steps of the impeachment inquiry. 

1190d ago / 2:25 AM UTC

Vindman testifies White House record left out details of Trump-Ukraine call

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told members of Congress Tuesday that he tried to edit a White House log of a July call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine's president to include details that were omitted, one lawmaker present at the testimony and another source familiar with it confirmed to NBC News.

Read the full story here.

1190d ago / 11:49 PM UTC

Tuesday's impeachment news roundup

In case you're just catching up on Tuesday's impeachment news, here's some of what you missed:

  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, testified in front of House impeachment investigators about what he heard during Trump's call with the Ukrainian president and other matters related to the inquiry. (His appearance also sparked a bonus episode of NBC News' "Article II: Inside Impeachment" podcast, featuring congressional reporter Rebecca Shabad. Listen here.)
  • Democrats said Vindman's testimony was "extremely disturbing" and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House. He also received praise from Republicans. 
  • House Democrats released text of the resolution that will detail their procedures as they move forward with the impeachment inquiry. They are expected to vote on the resolution on Thursday.
  • South Carolina Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham, one of the last few House Democrats not to back impeachment, will be voting in support of the resolution setting procedures going forward in the impeachment inquiry, his spokesperson told NBC News.
1190d ago / 10:39 PM UTC

Updated impeachment inquiry deposition schedule

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Officials working on the impeachment inquiry tell NBC News:

Catherine Croft is expected to appear in closed session on Wednesday. Christopher Anderson is expected to appear in closed session on Wednesday.

Timothy Morrison, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia, National Security Council, is expected to appear in closed session on Thursday.

Robert Blair, Assistant to the President and Senior Adviser to the Acting Chief of Staff, is expected to appear in closed session on Friday.

The Committees will re-notice a future date for Kathryn Wheelbarger. The Committees are in ongoing discussions with other witnesses and we look forward to their testimony.

 

1190d ago / 9:37 PM UTC

Dem holdout Rep. Cunningham will support the impeachment process resolution Thursday

South Carolina Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham, one of the last few House Democrats not to back impeachment, will be voting in support of the resolution setting procedures going forward in the impeachment inquiry, his spokesperson told NBC News.

Cunningham told the Post and Courier that he is still undecided on whether or not Trump should be impeached.

His support for the resolution is "something that my colleagues from across the aisle have been requesting for weeks now, so I hope this affords them some satisfaction, and overall it’s a good measure to shine some light on these hearings and make sure that we respect due process," he told the paper.

1190d ago / 8:32 PM UTC
1190d ago / 7:13 PM UTC

House Democrats release impeachment resolution

House Democrats released on Tuesday text of the resolution that will detail their procedures as they move forward with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

More broadly, the resolution appears to put in writing what several House committees handling investigations into Trump are already doing.

The resolution directs "certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes."

Read more about their resolution here.

1190d ago / 6:35 PM UTC

Diplomat Bill Taylor receives rock star reception in Ukraine after House testimony

MARIUPOL, Ukraine — More than 5,000 miles from the congressional room where he testified that President Donald Trump tried to get a foreign government to investigate his political opponents, acting Ambassador Bill Taylor took to a stage here Tuesday and was greeted like a rock star.

Taylor was applauded by hundreds of attendees and swarmed by well-wishers at an economic conference days after his stunning testimony connected the president, his lawyer and other political appointees to an effort to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.

Read the full story.

1190d ago / 6:31 PM UTC

Lawmakers on both sides decry attacks on Lt. Col. Vindman as 'shameful,' 'despicable'

Prominent Republicans joined Democrats on Tuesday in defending Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman against attacks from right-wing pundits who questioned his loyalty to the country ahead of his testimony in the House’s impeachment inquiry.

The reaction came after Fox News host Laura Ingraham and others suggested Vindman, a Ukraine expert on the National Security Council who fled the Soviet Union as child, could be demonstrating disloyalty — and even potentially traitorous behavior — to the United States because, according to a report in The New York Times, Ukrainian officials asked him for advice in dealing with Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani's efforts regarding their country.

“I think that we need to show that we are better than that as a nation," Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the third-ranking House Republican, said at a GOP leadership news conference Tuesday. "Their patriotism, their love of country — we’re talking about decorated veterans who have served their country, who have put their lives on the line. And it is shameful to question their patriotism and their love of this nation.”

Read the full story here.

1190d ago / 6:29 PM UTC

Dem Rep. Van Drew, an impeachment holdout, says he won't vote for Thursday resolution

Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew told NBC News he does not plan to vote for the impeachment process resolution that is slated to be on the House floor on Thursday. Van Drew is one of the few Democrats in the House not to support impeachment.

"I would imagine that I'm not voting for," Rep Jeff Van Drew told NBC News heading to votes on Tuesday night when asked about the upcoming vote.

"I just feel that at the end of the day, certainly it is not going to get through the Senate in my opinion so you are going to have the same president, with, you know, the same candidate, same president, and he's going to feel he's exonerated and he is, he is exonerated from this,” Van Drew went on to say noting that Congress would “spend a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of energy” and would be unable to get a lot of other things done.

He made similar comments in an interview with NBC News earlier this month. 

"Where are we going to be when it's all done?" he asked. "Further divided, more hateful, more distrustful, with the same president and the same presidential candidate. What have we accomplished?"

Read more on Van Drew's opposition to impeachment here.

1190d ago / 4:49 PM UTC

'Extremely disturbing:' Top Dems alarmed over Vindman's testimony on Trump Ukraine call

Top Democrats at the deposition of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said his testimony Tuesday was “extremely disturbing” and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House.

Acting House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y, told NBC News she found Vindman’s prepared remarks “extremely, extremely, extremely disturbing,” as she left the deposition Tuesday morning. Maloney refused to answer any other questions about Vindman’s testimony.

Vindman, appearing voluntarily under congressional subpoena, was set to tell members of Congress conducting an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump that he was on the phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader in which Trump asked for an investigation into the Bidens — and that he raised concerns about it.

Read more here.

1190d ago / 2:11 PM UTC

Rep. Cicilline says public hearings could start 'in the next few weeks'

Rep. David Cicilline, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters Tuesday that public hearings in the impeachment inquiry could start "soon, hopefully in the next few weeks."

Asked if the House could hold a vote in impeachment by Christmas, the Rhode Island Democrat said, “That's up to the speaker. You know, if there are articles of impeachment, it'll be up to the speaker when they're brought to the floor, and we haven't made that determination.”

1190d ago / 1:57 PM UTC

'This is not normal': Sen. Manchin reacts to Vindman attacks

1190d ago / 1:48 PM UTC

Why the Trump campaign’s viral merchandise is actually priceless

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When President Donald Trump debuted a new catchphrase at a Minneapolis rally this month, the crowd went predictably wild.

“By the way, what ever happened to Hunter? Where the hell is he?!” Trump asked the arena, referring to former Vice President Joe Biden’s eldest son, amid the controversy that launched an impeachment inquiry into the president and his dealings with Ukraine. “Hey fellas, I have an idea for a new T-shirt.”

Image: Hats supporting U.S. President Trump are displayed for sale at the Chicken Burn in Milwaukee
Hats supporting President Donald Trump are displayed for sale at the Chicken Burn, a picnic gathering of Republicans and conservatives, in Milwaukee on Sept. 8, 2019.Brian Snyder / Reuters file

Minutes later, the suggestion became a $25 reality. Before the event was over, the campaign website had a “LIMITED edition” piece of merchandise “while supplies last!” featuring the presidential query: “WHERE’S HUNTER?” But the goal wasn’t just to sell thousands of inflammatory t-shirts. More valuable than any dollars brought in, according to aides, is the voter data associated with each item the campaign sells.

Read the full story here.

1190d ago / 1:39 PM UTC

Internal White House debate stifles release of Pence-Zelenskiy call

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WASHINGTON — It’s been almost three weeks since Vice President Mike Pence said he had “no objection” to releasing a reconstructed transcript of his phone call with the leader of Ukraine. But as House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry continues moving swiftly into its second month, the White House still has not made a decision on whether to make those details of Pence’s call public.

The internal debate has divided White House officials over whether releasing the call would help or hurt their flailing efforts to counter accusations that President Donald Trump held up military aid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his political rivals, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

One concern raised by some of Trump’s allies is that releasing his call with Zelenskiy was a mistake because it fueled the impeachment inquiry rather than tamp it down, these people said. Another is that a comparison of Pence and Trump’s calls with Zelenskiy could potentially make the president’s self-described “perfect” conversation appear significantly less so.

Read the full story here.

1190d ago / 1:24 PM UTC

Trump calls NSC expert and witness to phone call, Army Lt. Col. Vindman, a 'Never Trumper'

1190d ago / 12:32 PM UTC

Whistleblowers welcome: Mark Zaid represents Trump accuser and others with secrets to share

WASHINGTON — Mark Zaid is used to being attacked by those on the other side of whatever case he's on and the intense media attention that comes with handling clients involved in some of the biggest matters facing the country.

But now the Washington attorney is representing the whistleblower who has sparked an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, and things have never been quite like this.

"This case, from the moment I've been in it, has been nonstop every single day," Zaid said in an interview with NBC News at his home in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, adding, "We've been warned, 'They're coming after you.'"

Read the full story here.

1190d ago / 11:40 AM UTC

White House NSC's top Ukraine expert expected to give evidence in closed-door testimony

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Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a U.S. Army official and White House national security official, plans to tell members of Congress conducting an impeachment inquiry that he was on the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s leader in which Trump asked for an investigation into the Bidens.

Vindman’s opening statement reads in part: "I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.” 

Read the full story here.

1191d ago / 11:51 PM UTC

Monday's impeachment news (so far)

Just catching up on impeachment news? Here's what you missed on Monday:

  • The House is expected to vote Thursday on a Democratic resolution that will lay out the next steps in the impeachment inquiry, according to a senior congressional source.
  • The White House was alerted as early as mid-May — earlier than previously known — that a budding pressure campaign by Rudy Giuliani and one of President Donald Trump's ambassadors was rattling the new Ukrainian president, two people with knowledge of the matter tell NBC News.
  • The Justice Department said Monday that it will appeal a federal judge's order requiring the government to give the House of Representatives grand jury material gathered during former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian election meddling and possible obstruction by President Donald Trump.
1191d ago / 10:53 PM UTC

Article II: Inside Impeachment — No Show

Charles Kupperman, President Trump’s former deputy national security adviser, failed to appear for his deposition before the House Committees today. On today’s episode of Article II, host Steve Kornacki talks to MSNBC Washington Correspondent Garrett Haake about the significance of Kupperman being a no-show and what it means for the future of the inquiry.

The two discuss:

  • What options Congress has now that Kupperman has defied the congressional subpoena
  • The White House is invoking "constitutional immunity," but what does that mean and how does it work?
  • What to expect from the lawsuit Kupperman filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC
  • Why Kupperman’s lawsuit asking the courts to intercede could be a test case for whether or not John Bolton testifies

Throughout the episode, we answer listener questions about how these subpoenas work and look ahead to the week to come in the impeachment inquiry.

Check it out here.

1191d ago / 9:24 PM UTC
1191d ago / 9:20 PM UTC

House to vote on resolution laying out next steps in impeachment inquiry

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WASHINGTON — The House is expected to vote Thursday on a Democratic resolution that will lay out the next steps in the impeachment inquiry, according to a senior congressional source.

The language of the resolution has not been released, but it is expected to detail procedures going forward in the investigation, not formalize it.

“This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to her caucus Monday.

“We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.”

Read the full story here.

1191d ago / 7:48 PM UTC

White House told in May of Ukraine President Zelenskiy's concerns about Giuliani, Sondland

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KYIV, Ukraine — The White House was alerted as early as mid-May — earlier than previously known — that a budding pressure campaign by Rudy Giuliani and one of President Donald Trump's ambassadors was rattling the new Ukrainian president, two people with knowledge of the matter tell NBC News.

Alarm bells went off at the National Security Council when the White House's top Europe official was told that Giuliani was pushing the incoming Ukrainian administration to shake up the leadership of state-owned energy giant Naftogaz, the sources said. The official, Fiona Hill, learned then about the involvement of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Giuliani associates who were helping with the Naftogaz pressure and also with trying to find dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

Hill quickly briefed then-national security adviser John Bolton about what she'd been told, the individuals with knowledge of the meeting said.

The revelation significantly moves up the timeline of when the White House learned that Trump's allies had engaged with the incoming Ukrainian administration and were acting in ways that unnerved the Ukrainians — even before President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had been sworn in. Biden had entered the presidential race barely three weeks earlier.

Read the full story.

1191d ago / 5:16 PM UTC

Here's the price Mitt Romney is paying for standing against Trump

SALT LAKE CITY — One man is an island: Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. The 72-year-old former Republican presidential nominee has isolated himself from Republicans in the Senate, in his home state and across the country by occasionally — but strongly — criticizing President Donald Trump, including the president's efforts to enlist the aid of foreign governments to probe a leading political opponent.

In recent weeks, the senator's acts of rebellion against the commander in chief have been flagrant: from publicly confirming "Pierre Delecto" as the secret identity he used to counter Trump on Twitter to bashing Trump's Syria policy on the Senate floor to positioning himself on the front edge of any move by GOP lawmakers to break away and either censure the president or vote to remove him from office if the House follows through with impeachment.

While that House-side inquiry has put a heat lamp on Republican senators from states where voters aren't thrilled with the president's actions — particularly swing-state lawmakers who are up for re-election in 2020 — Romney's criticism of Trump hasn't prompted those colleagues to follow him into the political no-man's land of finding fault with both the president's conduct and the divisiveness of impeachment. Rather, it has renewed speculation among GOP critics in Washington and in Utah that Romney has ulterior motives — jealousy, retribution, Oval Office ambition or some potent mix of all three. 

Read the full story here.

1191d ago / 4:25 PM UTC

More witnesses on deck for Wednesday

Two more witnesses have been scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry: Catherine Croft, a special adviser for Ukraine at the State Department, and Christopher Anderson, a former aide to former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker.

Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, is already scheduled to give a deposition Wednesday.

1191d ago / 3:21 PM UTC

Justice Dept. appeals ruling it must turn over Mueller grand jury materials

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Monday that it will appeal a federal judge's order requiring the government to give the House of Representatives grand jury material gathered during former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian election meddling and possible obstruction by President Donald Trump.

Federal District Court Judge Beryl Howell ruled Friday that a completely unredacted version of Mueller's final report, as well as underlying evidence backing up its conclusions, must be turned over to the House by Wednesday. House Democrats sued to get the material, saying they need it for their impeachment inquiry.

The Justice Department also asked Howell to put a hold on his own ruling.

Once the grand jury material is turned over, DOJ said, "it cannot be recalled, and the confidentiality of the grand jury information will be lost for all time." That's especially so, the government said, if the House decides to make any of the material public, which House leaders have said they have the power to do by majority vote.

Read the full story here.

1191d ago / 2:39 PM UTC

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.

Read the full story.

1191d ago / 1:19 PM UTC

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.

Read the full story here.

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1191d ago / 12:57 PM UTC

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.

1191d ago / 12:55 PM UTC

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.

Read the full story here.

1191d ago / 12:48 PM UTC

Diplomat Phillip Reeker offers details on ouster of Amb. Yovanovitch

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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.

Read the full story here.

1194d ago / 1:00 AM UTC

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.

Read the full story here.

1194d ago / 12:37 AM UTC

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.

Read the full story.

1194d ago / 9:44 PM UTC

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.

1194d ago / 9:28 PM UTC
1194d ago / 9:12 PM UTC

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: 

1194d ago / 8:39 PM UTC

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.

1194d ago / 7:59 PM UTC
1194d ago / 7:38 PM UTC

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. ... 

Read the full story.