Will John Bolton testify?
Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton is willing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, a source familiar tells NBC News, but only under certain conditions. This source tells NBC News that Bolton would be willing to testify publicly under subpoena if the courts direct his longtime associate Charles Kupperman to cooperate with the probe.
Kupperman, who served as Bolton’s deputy, filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to resolve conflicting orders from Congress and the White House, which had ordered him not to appear. Bolton and Kupperman share an attorney.
Oral arguments in the Kupperman case are slated to begin on Dec. 10, a date that would delay the House inquiry. Schiff today told reporters he’s prepared to move forward without Bolton’s testimony.
"We are not going to delay our work,” Schiff said. "That would merely allow these witnesses and the White House to succeed with their goal, which is to delay, deny, obstruct."
More impeachment no-shows expected this week
As Democrats wrap up the private fact-finding portion of their impeachment inquiry, NBC News has learned that most of the witnesses scheduled for closed-door testimony the remainder of this week are not expected to appear as requested.
The following is according to sources familiar and subject to change:
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
- NOT CONFIRMED: Wells Griffith, NSC Senior Director for International Energy and Environment
- NOT EXPECTED TO APPEAR: Michael Duffey, OMB Associate Director for National Security Programs | 9:30AM
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
- NOT EXPECTED TO APPEAR: T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, Department of State Counselor | 9:30AM
- NOT EXPECTED TO APPEAR: Russell Vought, OMB Acting Director | 9:30AM
- NOT EXPECTED TO APPEAR: Rick Perry, Energy Secretary
- NOT CONFIRMED: David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Thursday, November 7, 2019
- NOT EXPECTED TO APPEAR: John Bolton, Former National Security Adviser | 9:30AM
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters today that rather than seeking recourse in the courts, further defiance of congressional subpoenas by administration officials "will only add to the body of evidence on a potential obstruction of Congress charge against the president."
Ousted Ukraine ambassador Yovanovitch says she was told to tweet praise of Trump to save her job
Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told House impeachment investigators last month that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told her she should tweet out support or praise for President Donald Trump if she wanted to save her job, according to a transcript of her testimony made public Monday.
The three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump released two transcripts of the behind-closed-doors interviews they have so far conducted as part of their investigation, as the probe moves to a more public phase.
Read more of Yovanovitch's interview here.
Impeachment haunts the campaign trail as candidates compete against the bigger story
DECORAH, Iowa — Impeachment is rolling into the 2020 presidential primary like a winter storm, threatening to blot out the sun for candidates desperate for attention and sweep several leading candidates off the trail entirely just before the Iowa caucuses early next year.
And there's not a thing the Democratic contenders can do about it.
"You know, a lot of politics is about the illusion of control, when really we're all subject to the winds of history that are blowing around," Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said in response to questions from NBC News aboard his campaign bus.
While the timing of the Democrats' impeachment effort in Washington remains unclear, the House hopes to finish its investigation into President Donald Trump by the end of the year, which could mean that a Senate trial would likely begin in early January — just weeks before Iowa's critical first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 3. A potential trial of Trump is an enormous election wild card that everyone agrees will disrupt the race, even if they don't know exactly how.
Read the full story here.
Amid impeachment drive, the pro-Trump search for dirt on Ukraine and the Bidens goes on
KYIV, Ukraine — While Congress heard closed-door testimony last week about President Donald Trump pushing Ukraine to investigate his opponents, Rudy Giuliani was holding his own private Ukraine meeting in his Manhattan office.
Giuliani, the Trump personal lawyer at the center of the firestorm as Trump faces likely impeachment, met with former Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Telizhenko, who alleges that Ukraine's government conspired with the Democratic National Committee to hurt Trump in 2016.
Far from keeping their heads down, those working in common cause with the president's and Giuliani's campaign to get Ukraine to investigate Trump's political opponents are moving ahead unabated, interviews in Kyiv and Washington with several of those involved reveal.
Read more about the search for Ukraine dirt.
Trump wants whistleblower to do what he wouldn't: Answer questions in person
President Donald Trump said Monday that written answers from the whistleblower to Congress would be unacceptable — although such answers were fine for the president when dealing with former special counsel Robert Mueller.
"The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff," Trump tweeted. "He must be brought forward to testify. Written answers not acceptable! Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist? Where is the informant? Con!"
Trump was responding to news that Mark Zaid, the attorney for both known whistleblowers who came forward with concerns about Trump's conduct toward Ukraine, said the first whistleblower offered to provide written answers to House investigators to protect his or her identity. Zaid told NBC News on Sunday that he had not yet received a substantive response from House Intelligence Committee Republicans about his offer.
Read more here.
Monday's witnesses not expected to show up for testimony
None of the four witnesses scheduled for closed-door testimony Monday in the impeachment inquiry are expected to appear, sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
The include senior National Security Counsel legal adviser John Eisenberg and his deputy, Michael Ellis, top White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney aide Robert Blair, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry's former chief of staff Brian McCormack, who is now an Office of Management and Budget official.
On Sunday night, the House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas for testimony from Blair and Ellis, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry. House Democrats have previously said they will forgo court battles with defiant witnesses and instead consider the stonewalling as grounds for a separate article of impeachment on obstruction of Congress.
Read the full story here.
Rep. Cole defends Trump: 'If there was a quid pro quo, it certainly wasn't a very effective one'
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., defended Trump's conduct towards Ukraine by saying that "if there was a quid pro quo, it certainly wasn't a very effective one."
"Concern is different than rising to the level of impeachment," Cole told NBC's "Meet the Press" when host Chuck Todd asked about allegations Trump tied Ukraine aid to an investigation of the Biden family. "I look at it this way: The aid is there and the investigations didn't happen. So, if there was a quid pro quo, it certainly wasn't a very effective one."
Read the rest here.
NBC/WSJ poll: 49 percent now back Trump's impeachment and removal
Exactly one year out from the 2020 general election, a majority of all Americans — or close to it — support impeaching President Donald Trump and removing him from office, disapprove of his job performance and back his top Democratic rivals in head-to-head matchups.
Those are the findings from the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which was conducted amid the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against the president, after Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, and after the military raid that killed the leader of ISIS.
In the poll, 53 percent of Americans say they approve of the impeachment inquiry regarding Trump’s actions with Ukraine’s president, while 44 percent disapprove.
The results largely break along partisan lines, with 89 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents supporting the inquiry — versus just 9 percent of Republicans who agree.
Then asked if Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 49 percent answer yes, while 46 percent say no.
Read more poll results here.
Trump threatens to expose information about Vindman
Kellyanne Conway says she doesn't know if Ukraine aid was held up over Biden probe
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that she doesn't know whether President Donald Trump held up aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the country's new leadership to probe former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, though she said all that matters is "they've got their aid."
"It's not impeachable," Conway told CNN's "State of the Union" of Trump's conduct toward Ukraine. "And that's where we are now."
"And Dana, let's be fair, Ukraine got the aid," she told CNN's Dana Bash. "As you and I sit here, one presumes they're using that aid. The Ukrainian president said he felt no pressure. He never knew aid was being held up."
Read more here.