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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

Trump's legal team asserts president did 'absolutely nothing wrong,' urges Senate to acquit

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump did "absolutely nothing wrong," is the victim of a partisan plot to take him down and should be swiftly acquitted in a Senate trial, his legal team argued in a brief Monday.

The 110-page trial memo, prepared for submission to the Senate a day before the president's impeachment trial begins in earnest, counters House Democrats' argument that Trump abused the power of his office for personal gain by working to pressure Ukraine to announce politically advantageous investigations and then, once caught, sought to obstruct Congress' investigation.

Read the full story here. And read the full brief below: 

Some Senate trial details emerge


Leigh Ann Caldwell

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

Alex Moe

Leigh Ann Caldwell, Frank Thorp V and Alex Moe

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's organizing resolution — the measure laying out how President Donald Trump's impeachment trial will be conducted — will afford both sides of the case 24 hours each for opening statements, but that time must be packed into two working days, two Republican sources familiar with the proposal said Monday.

The number of hours per side would be the same as what was allotted for President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999. Arguments for both sides ended up spanning three days each, and even then, neither the House impeachment managers nor Clinton's defense team used up their full 24 hours.

With the start of Trump's trial just a day away, Senate Democrats have protested about being kept in the dark about procedural details. A draft of McConnell's rules for the trial has not yet been made public, though several GOP senators have offered clues.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that after House impeachment and the president's defense team present, there would be "16 hours of questions submitted by the members in writing" to Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told "Meet the Press" that “there hasn't been the most basic negotiation or exchange of information” between Democratic and Republican leadership teams.

Trump forced to take a back seat in his impeachment defense with Senate set to begin

In what will be one of the most crucial moments of his presidency, Donald Trump will find himself in an uncomfortable position, taking a back seat as someone else mounts his public defense.

Just days before opening arguments begin in his Senate impeachment trial, the president was still his own most visible and vocal defender.

But as the trial begins in earnest on Tuesday, Trump will be handing over the reins for one of the most crucial moments of his presidency to a team of his staunchest cable TV legal defenders, including former independent counsel Ken Starr, the famed defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Read the full story here.

White House's top Russia official put on leave pending investigation


Josh Lederman

Hans Nichols

Josh Lederman, Andrea Mitchell and Hans Nichols

The top White House official responsible for Russia and Europe has been put on administrative leave indefinitely amid a security-related investigation, two U.S. officials and a former U.S. official tell NBC News.

Andrew Peek, who took over the Russia portfolio at the White House National Security Council in November, had been scheduled to join President Donald Trump at the Davos Forum this week before he was abruptly put on leave, one of the officials said. The officials declined to specify the nature of the investigation.

Read more here.

Dershowitz: Trump shouldn't be removed from office even if he is guilty of House charges

Famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, who recently signed on to assist President Donald Trump's impeachment legal team, said Sunday that Trump should not be removed from office even if he is guilty of everything the House has accused him of in the articles of impeachment.

"Congress was wrong in impeaching for these two articles," he told ABC's "This Week." "They are not articles of impeachment. The articles of impeachment are two non-criminal actions."

Host George Stephanopoulos then asked, "Is it your position that President Trump should not be impeached even if all the evidence and arguments laid out by the House are accepted as fact?"

Dershowitz responded, "When you have somebody who, for example, is indicted for a crime — let's assume you have a lot of evidence — but the grand jury simply indicts for something that's not a crime, and that's what happened here, you have a lot of evidence, disputed evidence, that could go both ways, but the vote was to impeach on abuse of power, which is not within the constitutional criteria for impeachment, and obstruction of Congress."

Read more here.

Dem senator says he's 'fine' with Hunter Biden testifying in impeachment trial

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Sunday that he's "fine" with Republicans calling former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden as a witness in President Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial.

"We take the position that we want to hear from witnesses," Brown told CNN's "State of the Union." "I don't know what Hunter Biden has to do with the phone call the president made."

"I think many Republicans think that's a distraction," he added. "That's what Republican senators tell me quietly."

Democrats and Republicans have been battling for weeks over just how much more information will be presented at the trial, which is set to begin Tuesday.

Read more here.

GOP senator on Trump asking Ukraine, China for political help: 'Things happen'

During an interview with ABC's "This Week", host George Stephanopoulos asked Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, "Setting aside whether it's an impeachable offense, do you think it was proper for the president to solicit foreign interference in our election?"

"Well, I don't know that has been actually proven," Shelby said.

Stephanopoulos then pointed to Trump's public calls to have Ukraine and China probe the Bidens over the younger Biden's business dealings in the two countries.

Shelby said those calls were just political statements.

"I didn't say it was OK," Shelby said, adding, "people do things. Things happen."

Read more here.

Schiff says intelligence community withholding documents on Ukraine

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday that the National Security Agency is withholding "potentially relevant documents" from Congress regarding Ukraine just as President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial is set to start.

"The intelligence community is beginning to withhold documents from Congress on the issue of Ukraine," Schiff told ABC's "This Week." "They appear to be succumbing to pressure from the administration. The NSA in particular is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on Ukraine, but also withholding documents potentially relevant that the senators might want to see during the trial."

"That is deeply concerning," Schiff continued. "And there are signs that the CIA may be on the same tragic course. We are counting on the intelligence community not only to speak truth to power but to resist pressure from the administration to withhold information from Congress because the administration fears that they incriminate them."

More here.

Perdue on Lev Parnas: 'This is a distraction'

Trump forced to take a back seat in his impeachment defense as Senate trial begins

WASHINGTON — In what will be one of the most crucial moments of his presidency, Donald Trump will find himself in a position he’s proven uncomfortable with — having to take a back seat as someone else mounts his public defense.

With just days until opening arguments in his Senate impeachment trial, the president was still his own most visible and vocal defender. "I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!" he tweeted on Thursday. “They’re trying to impeach the son of a bitch, can you believe that?” he complained Friday to Louisiana State University's NCAA football champion team during their White House visit.

But as that trial begins in earnest on Tuesday, Trump will be handing over the reins for one of the most crucial moments of his presidency to a team of his staunchest cable TV legal defenders, including former independent counsel Ken Starr, famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi.

Read more here.

House managers cite 'overwhelming' evidence against Trump in their brief to Senate

House managers in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump filed their brief to the Senate on Saturday outlining a "compelling case" against Trump, who will deliver his own brief to the chamber on Monday.

The House managers, seven Democratic congressional leaders who will try the case against Trump during the Senate trial starting next week, say in the briefthat the evidence against Trump is "overwhelming" and proves he used his official power to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the upcoming 2020 election.

It details instances in which members of Trump's internal circle defied congressional subpoenas and refused to cooperate with a House investigation. The House managers called Trump's behavior "the Framers' worst nightmare" and said Trump's actions present a "danger to our democratic processes."

Read more about the Democrats' trial brief.

Who is Robert Hyde? The latest character in the Trump impeachment saga has a wild backstory

Robert Hyde once said he was "never really into politics" until Donald Trump ran for president, but thanks to the impeachment saga, the two men may be inextricably linked.

Democrats are calling for an investigation into the actions of Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate and onetime landscaper, after the emergence of menacing-sounding messages he traded with Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

In the WhatsApp messages, which House Democrats released Tuesday night, Hyde, who is running for Congress in Connecticut, indicated that he was tracking the movements of Marie Yovanovitch in Kyiv when she was the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

Giuliani had been pushing to have Yovanovitch pulled from her post because he saw her as an impediment in his bid to get the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a Trump rival.

"They are moving her tomorrow," Hyde said in a message to Parnas on March 25.

Read more about Hyde.

Trump lawyer dismisses new evidence, including photos of the president with Lev Parnas

Katie Primm

Less than 12 hours after the White House announced President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial defense team, new questions have emerged about connections between some of his lawyers and figures at the center of the Ukraine investigation.

A document dump from the House Judiciary Committee overnight Friday included more information about Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who is currently under federal indictment for his alleged role in the political pressure campaign in Ukraine.

The released documents included photos of Parnas with President Trump as well as shots of him with Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general who is among the lawyers on the president's impeachment team.

Bondi in an interview on NBC's "TODAY" on Saturday morning dismissed the photos.

Read Bondi's response.

Texts suggest Trump backer sent Parnas info about Ambassador Yovanovitch

Josh Lederman

Josh Lederman and Anna Schecter

New text messages released by House Democrats on Friday indicate Robert Hyde, the Republican congressional candidate who told Lev Parnas he had a U.S. ambassador under surveillance, was passing along to Parnas information he’d received from another Trump supporter who claimed knowledge of the ambassador’s whereabouts.

Hyde identified the man in texts to NBC News and on Twitter as Anthony de Caluwe and said he’d merely copied and pasted the information to Parnas from messages he’d received from de Caluwe.

Reached by email, de Caluwe told NBC News that Hyde’s statements were "incorrect." He confirmed that Hyde had indeed asked him for information about Marie Yovanovitch's whereabouts but he had declined to help Hyde.

Read what de Caluwe said.

New evidence shows Nunes aide communicated with Parnas on Ukraine

Josh Lederman

Josh Lederman and Phil Helsel

New evidence released Friday by House Democrats shows Derek Harvey, a former White House official and top aide to GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, communicated extensively with Lev Parnas about both Ukraine aid and setting up Skype interviews with former Ukrainian prosecutors.

The messages show that Harvey was far more involved than previously known in what appears to be a robust effort by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to investigate Ukraine-related matters.

The documents released Friday include messages between Parnas and Harvey arranging times to meet and to speak by phone, and sharing articles and tweets about Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and alleged Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, claims that have been called an unfounded conspiracy theory.

Read the full story.

Meet Trump's legal team for the impeachment trial


Hallie Jackson

Hans Nichols

Sally Bronston

Hallie Jackson, Hans Nichols and Sally Bronston

The legal team for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate includes some high-profile names, including well-known personalities from television appearances and presidencies past, according to sources familiar with Trump's legal strategy.

Here's who's on the team so far, according to the sources.

Article II: Inside Impeachment — Lev Parnas speaks

On Friday’s episode of Article II, host Steve Kornacki talks to Josh Lederman, national political reporter for NBC News, about the new allegations being made by indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and how these claims will factor into a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

The two discuss:

  • What’s in the trove of texts, voice mails and other records that were released for possible use during the impeachment trial.
  • Who is implicated by Parnas’s allegations.
  • The possible motivations behind his account.
  • How this new evidence will shape the fight over witnesses and other aspects of the Senate trial.

Download the podcast.


ANALYSIS: Trump may discredit an impeachment trial designed to acquit him

As his impeachment trial opens Tuesday, President Donald Trump's instinct for creating chaos represents an imminent threat to Senate Republicans' ability to protect him, and themselves.

That is, the more Trump discredits the Senate during his trial, the more he discredits an outcome engineered to help him now and as he seeks re-election.

For Republicans, the challenge is to acquit Trump while using the trappings of the Senate to present as much of a patina of high-minded fairness and objectivity as possible. And no venue in American politics is more aptly designed to preserve his power than a Senate that has perfected the art of smothering justice with solemnity.

Read the full analysis.

Pompeo vows to 'evaluate' possible surveillance of ex-Ukraine envoy

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he will look into revelations that former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch might have been under surveillance, and possibly even in harm's way, before she was ousted last spring in what Democrats allege was part of President Donald Trump's effort to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

"We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there," Pompeo said in an interview on the conservative talk-radio show "Tony Katz Today." "I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation — my obligation as secretary of state — is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate. Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that."

Ukraine announced this week that it was opening an investigation into the possible surveillance of the ex-U.S. envoy, which recent reports said could violate Ukrainian and international law.

The possibility that Yovanovitch's movements had been closely watched came to light in records House Democrats obtained from Lev Parnas, a close associate of Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. In text messages to Parnas, a Trump donor named Robert Hyde, who is running for a House seat in Connecticut, disparaged Yovanovitch and gave him updates on her location and cellphone use.

Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called upon the State Department to investigate the matter. 

In his interview Friday, Pompeo also said he had never met Parnas "to the best of my knowledge. I’ve never encountered, never communicated with him." 

He added in a separate interview Friday with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt that he didn't know Yovanovitch was being surveilled: "Until this story broke, I had, to the best of my recollection, had never heard of this at all."

History shows Chief Justice John Roberts could cast tie-breaking votes at Trump's impeachment trial

Ari Melber

Diana Marinaccio

Ari Melber and Diana Marinaccio

A major question looms over President Donald Trump's impeachment trial: Will there be any witnesses?

The decision will be up to a simple 51-vote majority of the Senate under the chamber's rules, meaning the 47 Democratic senators are looking for four Republicans to back their demand that several top current and former Trump administration officials testify.

But there's another way witnesses could get called. Democrats could reach the simple majority threshold with just three Republican members if the presiding officer breaks the resulting 50-50 tie. In normal Senate business, that that job would fall to Vice President Mike Pence, the president of the Senate. But the rare instance of an impeachment trial is presided over by the chief justice, in this case John Roberts, who was officially sworn in for the role on Thursday.

Read what precedent says about the chief justice as tie-breaker.

Indicted Giuliani associate Parnas says Trump ordered Ukraine ambassador's firing several times before recall

Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, claimed in an interview that aired Thursday that President Donald Trump ordered the firing of U.S. ambassador to Ukraine several times before her recall was publicly announced in April.

"He fired her probably, at — to my knowledge — at least four or five times," Parnas said in the second part of an interview on MSNBC’s "The Rachel Maddow Show." Parnas and another man have been charged with allegedly funneling money from foreign entities to U.S. candidates in a scheme to buy political influence.

Parnas said Trump once tried to fire Yovanovitch at a dinner in a private area of a Trump hotel.

Read more of Parnas' interview comments.

Trump impeachment defense team expected to include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz

President Donald Trump's defense team for the Senate trial is expected to include former independent counsel Ken Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton, and defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Dershowitz's past clients include financier Jeffrey Epstein and O.J. Simpson. Also expected to join the team is Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr as Clinton special counsel, the source said. Another source familiar with the White House's plans said Pam Bondi, former Florida attorney general, will join the team as well.

Read the full story.

Reacting to watchdog report on Ukraine funding split down party lines

Reaction to the GAO report released earlier Thursday, which said the Trump administration violated the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine, was split down party lines.

"The OMB, the White House, the administration — I'm saying this — broke the law," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters after the decision was released. Pelosi said the finding illustrate the administration's "tangled web to deceive."

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., tweeted that the GAO decision demonstrates "without a doubt" that "the president himself ordered this illegal act." Van Hollen had requested the office review the hold in October.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D.-Vt., said, "Congress chose to provide military assistance to an ally which is literally under attack by Russia, and the law required that aid to be delivered. But instead of executing the law and standing with our ally, the president withheld the aid to serve his own political interests."

Republican senators indicated the ruling would not change their minds.

"My understanding of the impoundment act was that you cannot withhold money after the end of the fiscal year. I don't know any other requirements in the impoundment act," said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

"I mean I think that the president has the right to move money around and all the presidents have worked within this realm, but none of that really rises to anything even remotely close to something you'd impeach somebody over," he said.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama suggested the timing of the decision's release was political. "I don't recall offhand the GAO ever getting involved in a partisan political game and they're right in here, you know?" Shelby said.

Reading, campaigning, praying: Senators get ready for the Trump impeachment trial

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Rebecca Shabad and Leigh Ann Caldwell

How do you get ready to serve as jurors weighing whether a president should be removed from office? Senators have just four days left to find out.

Some members are spending the final weekend diving into background material.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he took notes on the Senate floor Thursday as Schiff read the articles and plans to further review them as well as trial briefs before the trial begins next week.

“I'll get a copy of the [Congressional Record] to review them again and look at the various fine points of the elements of both articles of impeachment,” he said, adding that he plans to review the trial briefs that the House and White House counsel must deliver before Tuesday, which will outline their arguments.

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said that he’s been paying attention to the case from the get-go — but others, he said, might need to invest more time catching up on the details.

“For any of us who haven’t been preparing, they’re cramming right now,” he said. “I’d say it’s like a test back in college — you probably need to be prepared.”

Read more about how senators are preparing.

The view as lawmakers leave the Capitol

FBI visits Robert Hyde's home and office after he's swept into Ukraine scheme

The FBI paid a visit to Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde's Connecticut home and business on Thursday, a senior law enforcement official said.

The agent's visit comes days after the House Intelligence Committee released texts Hyde sent an associate of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani suggesting he was surveilling then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

A spokesperson for the FBI field office in New Haven, Connecticut declined to comment. Hyde did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

One of Hyde's neighbors told NBC News that an FBI agent arrived at Hyde's home before dawn and parked out front in a gray SUV. The neighbor said they believed the FBI agent did not enter Hyde's home and left by 10:30 a.m. Hyde has a "No Trespassing" sign on his property and a sign indicating security cameras are in operation, the neighbor said.

Hyde told NBC News earlier this week that he was drunk and unserious when he sent the texts to Giuliani's now-indicted associate Lev Parnas. In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, Parnas called Hyde a "weird" character he met at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and doubted that Hyde was actually surveilling Yovanovitch.

Read more here.

Chief Justice John Roberts swears in senators for Trump impeachment trial


Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrived at the Senate Thursday afternoon to swear in the nation’s senators for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Roberts himself was sworn in to preside over the trial before he asked the senators to “solemnly swear” to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”

Two Republican and two Democratic senators — Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. — escorted the chief justice to the chamber before he was sworn in by the Senate’s president pro tempore, Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

Read the full story.

Schiff reads articles of impeachment against Trump on Senate floor

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

The seven House managers chosen to serve as the prosecution in the Senate trial are making another procession from the House to the Senate chamber Thursday to present and read the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The managers began that procession through Statuary Hall and the Capitol Rotunda at noon ET. The lead manager, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., then read the two articles on the Senate floor as the other managers faced the dais.

"Donald J. Trump has abused the powers of the presidency, in that: Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States presidential election," Schiff said, reading the text of the first article into a microphone. "He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his re-election, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States presidential election to his advantage."

Read more here.

Trump administration violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid, Government Accountability Office says

The Trump administration violated the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a decision released Thursday.

"Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law," the government watchdog said. "OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA."

The ruling was released hours before senators were set to be sworn in for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. The House impeached the president for abuse of power, alleging that the president withheld the Ukraine aid for personal and political gain, as well as for obstructing the congressional probe into the hold.

Read the full story.

Ukraine launches probe into alleged surveillance of former U.S. envoy

Oksana Parafeniuk

Yuliya Talmazan and Oksana Parafeniuk

Ukraine has launched criminal investigations into the possible illegal surveillance of former U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and the reported hacking of Burisma Holdings, the natural gas company at the center of the Trump impeachment.

"Ukraine's position is not to interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States of America," the Interior Ministry, which runs the police forces, said in a statement.

However, recent reports pointed to the possible violation of Ukrainian and international law, it said.

"Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities on the territory of its own state," the statement added.

Earlier this week, records released by House Democrats appeared to show that before she was ousted by the Trump administration last spring, Yovanovitch was being closely monitored.

Read the full story.

Giuliani associate Parnas says Trump 'knew exactly what was going on'

Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani who has been implicated in an alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, says, "President Trump knew exactly what was going on."

"He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn't do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials," Parnas, who faces campaign finance charges and was arrested while trying to leave the country, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in an interview that aired Wednesday night. "I mean, they have no reason to speak to me," he said, referring to Ukraine's current president and other of the country's top officials.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in response Thursday morning: "These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison. The facts haven’t changed — the president did nothing wrong and this impeachment, which was manufactured and carried out by the Democrats has been a sham from the start."

Giuliani denied after the interview that he told Ukrainian officials that Parnas spoke on behalf of Trump, responding that his associate "never" spoke for the president. Asked by NBC News whether he believed Parnas was lying, Giuliani said, "All I can say is the truth." 

Read more from Maddow's interview of Parnas about Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and others.

What to expect Thursday in the Senate impeachment trial

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

After the historic transmittal of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate on Wednesday, here's what we expect in the Senate impeachment trial Thursday:

  • At noon, the House impeachment managers will formally present the articles of impeachment — a process that took fewer than 15 minutes during the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999. 
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, will preside as the president pro tempore and will call on the sergeant-at-arms to present the impeachment managers. The sergeant-at-arms will then make the following proclamation, set forth in Senate rules: "Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, President of the United States."
  • The lead manager, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will read the resolution establishing the managers and the articles of impeachment.
  • At 2 p.m., Chief Justice John Roberts will arrive, escorted by two Republicans (it's still unknown who they will be) and two Democrats (Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Dianne Feinstein of California), to swear in all 100 senators — a process that took a little over 20 minutes in 1999.
  • Roberts will then read the following oath to the body: "Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?"
  • The Senate clerk will then call up senators in groups of four to sign the impeachment oath book at the desk, which senators must do to sit in the trial.
  • Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to take some housekeeping measures, which could shed light on what next week will entail past Tuesday's consideration of the organizing resolution.

Article II - Special Delivery

Today on Article II, Steve Kornacki talks to Capitol Hill producer Alex Moe about the historic day in Washington that began with the naming of the house impeachment managers and ended with the delivery of the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

The two discuss:

  • Who the seven House managers are and why they were chosen.
  • What happens now that the articles are in the hands of the Senate.
  • How new evidence could shape the trajectory of the Senate trial.

House sends impeachment articles to Senate

The two articles of impeachment were signed by Pelosi at a historic engrossment ceremony Wednesday evening and then hand-delivered to the Senate in a procession through the Capitol that was led by the House clerk and sergeant-at-arms and included the House managers.

Pelosi was flanked at the ceremony by the House managers, who will serve as the prosecution in the Senate trial, and committee chairs who conducted the impeachment inquiry. The speaker signed the articles using several pens, which she then distributed to the managers and committee heads as keepsakes.

The seven managers then followed House Clerk Cheryl Johnson, who carried the articles, into Statuary Hall, past Pelosi's leadership office, through the Capitol Rotunda and then past Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office. The House clerk then took the articles into the Senate chamber.

As the message that the articles were transmitted was read aloud, all the senators in the room turned around to look except McConnell, who faced forward to the dais, not turning around once to see the scene unfold behind him.

Read more here.

House votes to send articles of impeachment to Senate

The House voted Wednesday to send the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, a move that will allow his trial to begin on Tuesday.

The two articles, charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, will later be walked from the House side of the Capitol to the Senate side, where they will be received by the secretary of the Senate.

The House vote also formally approved the seven “managers” selected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to prosecute the case against the president.

Read the full story.

Sen. Blunt: Impeachment trial could take 3 weeks or more

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said Wednesday that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump could last "a minimum of three weeks."

"Hard to imagine it would be less than two," he said. "Something in the neighborhood of three weeks, maybe as many as five. But we'll just have to see."

Blunt was also asked if he had any new thoughts on calling witnesses after House Democrats released records on Tuesday that showed Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, wrote a letter requesting a private meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, then the president-elect of Ukraine, with Trump's "knowledge and consent."

"My initial view of the evidence last night is there's not much there that hasn't been already acknowledged by either the President or Mr. Giuliani," he said.

Blunt added that doesn't "see much enthusiasm" for including a motion to dismiss the impeachment articles in the Senate rules for the trial — comments that come on the heels of other Republican senators expressing similar sentiments.

"Anybody, including any of the president's lawyers, can make a motion to dismiss any time they want to, but I think there is a significant desire on our side for the president to be heard, for the other side to necessarily be heard, for the equal amount of attention," he said, adding that he thought both sides deserve the right to be heard under the Constitution.

House committee probing possible threats to Marie Yovanovitch


Haley Talbot

Josh Lederman

Dareh Gregorian, Haley Talbot and Josh Lederman

Records released Tuesday by House Democrats appear to show that former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was being closely monitored by a Republican congressional candidate, her physical movements tracked in real time along with her computer and phone use.

The documents include WhatsApp exchanges between Giuliani associate Parnas and Robert Hyde, a GOP candidate for Congress in Connecticut, where they appear to be discussing Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed from her post at Giuliani's urging.

Yovanovitch on Tuesday night through her lawyer called for authorities to investigate whether her movements in Ukraine were indeed being monitored as Hyde suggested in the text messages released tonight.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Elliot Engel said on Wednesday that he was doing just that.  

"Yesterday, the Foreign Affairs Committee staff contacted the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security to flag this information and seek assurances that proper steps have been taken to ensure the security of Embassy Kyiv and that of Ambassador Yovanovitch. I’m grateful for the Department’s quick response and confident this matter is getting the attention it merits," he said in a statement.

He added, "The Foreign Affairs Committee will now seek to learn what, if anything, the State Department knew about this situation at the time these messages were sent. Today, I will convey a formal request for documents, information, and a briefing from senior officials related to this matter.  This unprecedented threat to our diplomats must be thoroughly investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

What senators can say, read and do: Decorum guidelines for Trump's impeachment trial

Mitch Felan

Here are the guidelines for how senators are to conduct themselves during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, which is expected to begin on Tuesday. They were put out by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

  • Senators should plan to be in attendance at all times during the proceedings.
  • Upon the announcement of the arrival of the chief justice, senators should all silently rise at their desks and remain standing until the chief justice takes his seat. Similarly, when the chief justice departs, senators should rise and remain standing until he has exited the chamber.
  • Senators will only have the opportunity for limited speech at the trial. Members should refrain from speaking to neighboring senators while the case is being presented.
  • Reading materials should be confined to only those readings which pertain to the matter before the Senate.
  • No use of phones or electronic devices will be allowed in the chamber. All electronics should be left in the cloakroom in the storage provided.

Read more about the Senate rules of decorum.

Senate weighs restricting reporters during Trump impeachment trial

The Senate is weighing significant restrictions on reporters covering the upcoming impeachment trial, including limiting the movements of reporters and upping security screenings for the press.

The Standing Committee of Correspondents, an elected body of journalists that govern and advocate for print media, wrote to Senate leaders on Tuesday "vigorously" objecting to the proposed restrictions, which the group said included forcing reporters into penned areas and barring them from walking freely around outside the Senate chambers.

They said it was not clear how the proposed rules added to safety "rather than simply limit coverage of the trial."

Presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, said on Tuesday night after the debate that she did not support the change.

Read more about the proposed restrictions on the news media.

Pelosi names 7 House Democrats who will present case against Trump at Senate trial

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday announced the seven House Democrats who will act as the "managers" in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

The managers are: Reps. Adam Schiff of California, who will be the lead manager; Jerry Nadler of New York' Hakeem Jeffries of New York; Jason Crow of Colorado; Zoe Lofgren of California; Val Demings of Florida; and Sylvia Garcia of Texas.

The managers have varied biographies: Schiff was a federal prosecutor; Demings was a police chief; several are attorneys, and Lofgren was a staffer on the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment and a House member during the Clinton impeachment.

Pelosi said the House would vote Wednesday afternoon to approve the managers and transmit the two articles of impeachment to the Senate. The trial is set to begin on Tuesday; it's not yet clear if witnesses will be called.

Read the full story.

Giuliani sought private meeting with Ukrainian president, documents show

Tom Winter, Dareh Gregorian and Josh Lederman

Rudy Giuliani wrote a letter requesting a private meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, then the president-elect of Ukraine, with President Donald Trump's "knowledge and consent," according to records released by House Democrats Tuesday.

The letter was part of the evidence turned over to the House impeachment investigators by lawyers for Lev Parnas, the Giuliani associate who is awaiting trial on campaign finances charges. It bolsters Democrats' argument that Giuliani was doing Trump's bidding by trying to dig up dirt on political rival Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

Trump has previously tried to distance himself from his attorney's effort, saying in November that "I didn't direct him."

Read the full story.

Schumer says some Republicans could support call for witnesses, documents

Emma Thorne

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

Emma Thorne and Frank Thorp V

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday on ABC's "The View" that some Republican senators are considering supporting his call for witnesses and documents in the Senate impeachment trial.

"You know,  what Joe Friday used to say, "Just the facts, ma'am," on the old 'Dragnet' show. That's what we want, 'just the facts, ma'am,' and we're making progress," Schumer said. "Some of the Republicans are now beginning to say, 'Maybe we need witnesses and documents.' Had Nancy [Pelosi] sent the stuff right over and [Mitch] McConnell moved to dismiss, who knows what would have happened."

Schumer added that if witnesses are called during the Senate trial, their testimony "could be exculpatory, it could be further incriminating, but we'll let the chips fall where they may. But we will not rest until we get the truth."

Speaking on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Schumer said "a trial without witnesses and documents is not a real trial, it's a sham trial, and the American people will be able to tell the difference between a fair hearing of the facts and the coverup."

He added: "Do senate Republicans want to break that lengthy historical precedent by conducting the first impeachment trial of a president in history with no witnesses? Let me ask that question again. This is weighty. This is vital. This is about the republic."

Pelosi says she's not working with McConnell on timing of sending impeachment articles

Alex Moe

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday that she's not coordinating with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on when to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

When asked if she was working with McConnell, Pelosi told reporter at the Capitol, "No, he's not working with us. He's keeping it all in the dark. But we will be ready."

Pelosi also said she is looking for "integrity" and "commitment to our Constitution" in selecting House managers for the Senate trial, "which I think describes every member of the House Democratic Caucus."

Rep. Kildee: House managers 'will use every tool' available to call witnesses

Emma Thorne

Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee, the chief deputy whip of the House Democratic Caucus, said Tuesday on MSNBC that House managers in President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial "will use every tool that  they have available to them in order to get witnesses called.” 

"One, the witnesses that we would like to have had in the House inquiry were blocked by the president and would have been blocked for months and months had we just allowed that time to pass," Kildee said. "I think with the chief justice sitting in the chair, we ought to have a much better chance of getting an order to testify or a subpoena executed upon."

Kildee also said he thinks it's "very possible" that new evidence could be introduced during the trial.

"I mean, obviously, part of the concern is the ability to produce evidence means we're going to have to get our hands on that evidence to get some of the documents that are necessary," Kildee said. "But I'll  obviously leave that to the managers."

"We'll make the decision tactically, how to best go at this," he continued. "We what feel very strongly about is that the facts support our contention, the facts support our case that the president abused his authority and attempted to  undermine our elections. And when the American public hears that, whether the Senate votes to remove the president or not, the public will be able to draw their conclusions based upon the facts."

McConnell says he expects Trump impeachment trial to start Tuesday


Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Kasie Hunt

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that the Senate's trial of President Donald Trump will likely begin Tuesday.

McConnell said the start date is contingent on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sending the two articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday, as she said she would if the House approves, and that the Senate would begin preparations for the trial this week.

"The House is likely to finally send the articles over to us tomorrow and we’ll be able to — we believe if that happens — in all likelihood, go through some preliminary steps here this week which could well include the chief justice coming over and swearing in members of the Senate and some other kind of housekeeping measures," McConnell said after a closed-door luncheon with members of the Senate Republican Conference, referring to Chief Justice John Roberts, who will have the job of presiding over the trial.

Read the full story.