The fast-moving impeachment of President Donald Trump, stemming from his dealings with Ukraine, moved to the Senate for trial in January after the House voted a month earlier to adopt two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The Senate voted in early February to acquit the president on both charges.
Trump's impeachment followed weeks of testimony related to his efforts to press Ukraine for investigations into Democratic rivals and hours of fiery debate over the process.
Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Read all of the breaking news and analysis on impeachment from NBC News' political reporters, as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
Trump impeachment highlights
- Trump is acquitted by the Senate on both articles of impeachment, with one GOP defector.
- Senate moves to impeachment trial endgame.
- Senators ask final questions before critical vote on witnesses.
- Senators probe prosecution, defense.
- The president's defense delivers closing arguments.
- Trump's legal team digs in.
- The president's defense begins.
- Democrats make case for obstruction.
- Trump impeached by the House on both articles of impeachment.
- Impeachment inquiry witnesses testify: Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill and others.
Download the NBC News mobile app for the latest news on the impeachment inquiry
Raskin: Yovanovitch was 'set up for a comprehensive smear campaign'
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the Judiciary and Oversight committees, alleged in a CNN interview Tuesday that former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch "was basically set up for a comprehensive smear campaign by Rudy Giuliani and his henchmen" and "she was told by lots of people this was happening to her."
Discussing his takeaways from the depositions of Yovanovitch and former Pompeo aide Michael McKinley, Raskin added that McKinley "tried to get Secretary of State Pompeo to speak out on behalf of Ambassador Yovanovitch, and he refused to do it." McKinley "testified that he could not believe that there was this, you know, campaign of smears and lies against her, and the State Department would not stand up for her. And he said basically he ended up resigning in protest, saying that he had never seen anything like this in 37 years in his service in the State Department."
Yovanovitch's ouster "sets the stage for is all of the financial and political schemes that the president was executing along with Giuliani and his henchmen," Raskin alleged.
"So the president has tried to say, 'Well, this is just about one phone call, and it was a perfect phone call,' Raskin said. 'It was a perfectly unlawful phone call, but it's not just about a phone call. It's about a whole campaign to run a — not a parallel shadow foreign policy, but a perpendicular foreign policy, was working across purposes with Ambassador Yovanovitch, who was leading a campaign against corruption in Ukraine. And in fact, it was the president's deputies who were reviving corruption and trying to exploit the traditional corruption that took place in that country."
Asked about Sen. Rand Paul's demand that the identity of the whistleblower be revealed, Raskin said attempts "to demonize and vilify the whistleblower is a scapegoating tactic that, again, is a distraction from the merits of the case."
"And you'll notice the president's defenders are doing everything they can to distract people from what actually happened there because there's almost complete agreement on it," he said. "Nobody is telling any story other than the president organized this shakedown against the Ukrainian government and then tried to cover it up afterwards."
What transcripts say about Pompeo's State DepartmentNov. 5, 201907:29
OPINION: Trump and Giuliani's impeachment defense pushes America closer to a 'mafia state'
Neither President Donald Trump nor his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani deny the underlying facts of the allegations at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. This seems like a relatively crazy thing to do, given that Democrats are out for blood — but they really have no choice given how much is already public. So instead of denying the facts, Trump’s defense appears to be: Yes, we did it, but there was nothing wrong with it.
The “there was nothing wrong with it” defense does triple duty: It gives Trump’s surrogates something to argue, it muddies the water and confuses people with its sheer audacity, and — most important — it pushes the United States one step closer to becoming what the Hungarian scholar Bálint Magyar calls a “mafia state” to describe the kind of autocracies we see springing up in the former Soviet Union.
We’ve been talking about Trump and Giuliani running a “shadow” foreign policy alongside (and often in conflict with) the official State Department foreign policy. But Masha Gessen, relying on Magyar's work, explains that we are “using the wrong language” to describe what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine. A president, who is the chief foreign policy official in the nation, cannot, by definition, run a shadow foreign policy. What the president can do, however, is destroy the institutions that traditionally conduct foreign policy, in this case, the State Department, staffed by career diplomats.
Read the full opinion piece here.
Trump on Yovanovitch: ‘I don’t know much about her’Nov. 4, 201901:51
OPINION: Why White House lawyers might not be covering for Trump after all
Four witnesses who were scheduled to testify Monday in closed-door depositions before the House Intelligence Committee didn't show up, a move which has intensified claims from Democrats that the White House is trying to cover up the truth relating to President Donald Trump’s now-infamous phone call with the Ukrainian president.
One of those four is a deputy White House counsel named John Eisenberg who currently serves as the legal adviser to the National Security Council. John and I overlapped briefly at the Justice Department and I know him slightly — enough to have a favorable opinion of him, for what it is worth.
When Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — a member of the National Security Council staff who overheard a troubling phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine — properly reported his concerns to Eisenberg, Eisenberg reportedly told Vindman not to discuss that phone call with anyone else.
Now, I think there are at least two plausible explanations for Eisenberg’s advice to Vindman to remain silent. One plausible explanation — and it seems to be where some of the commentary has drifted — is nefarious. By telling Vindman not to speak further about a troubling conversation that he overheard, Eisenberg could be attempting to cover up the president’s misconduct.
But there is a second explanation for Eisenberg’s advice to Vindman that is also plausible, and that also makes sense to me — and that is not nefarious. When a good lawyer learns of potential misconduct (and Eisenberg is, by all accounts, a good lawyer), that lawyer has an obligation to gather the facts and recommend a course of action to his boss (here, the White House counsel) and to his client (here, the Office of the President). Eisenberg, unlike Rudy Giuliani, does not serve Trump personally in his capacity as counsel — an important distinction.
Read the full opinion piece here.
Trump impeachment inquiry invites witness from Pence's officeNov. 5, 201900:56
How worried should a Trump-district Democrat be about impeachment?
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — All politics is local. It’s a maxim that first-term Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., is betting on as he simultaneously gears up for one of the most competitive congressional races in the country — and braces for the House impeachment inquiry to take center stage in Washington.
Cunningham, 37, a former ocean engineer and Charleston-based lawyer who won his seat in 2018 by emphasizing local issues, is one of the dwindling number of House Democrats who have remained openly skeptical about impeaching President Donald Trump.
Although he voted in favor of a House resolution last week that laid out the ground rules for proceeding with the impeachment inquiry, Cunningham cautioned that no one should conflate his vote with support for removing Trump from office. But national Republicans are wagering that the House inquiry, which is likely to force Cunningham to cast a public “yes” or “no” vote on whether to impeach Trump, could cost him his re-election.
Impeachment witness lays out White House campaign against herNov. 5, 201917:16
Volker and Sondland deposition transcripts to be released
The investigative committees are expected to release the deposition transcripts of former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Tuesday, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said.
The move comes a day after House Democrats released the testimony of ousted Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, a former aid to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as the probe moves to a more public phase.
Also on Tuesday, two more officials — National Security Council adviser Wells Griffith and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey — are scheduled to give depositions, although at least one of them — Duffey — is not expected to appear.
Article II - The First Transcripts
Today, the House released transcripts from two witness depositions, officially moving the impeachment inquiry into a public phase. Steve Kornacki caught up with Geoff Bennett, White House Correspondent for NBC News, to talk about the full testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, former Ambassador to Ukraine, and Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State, Michael McKinley.
The two discuss:
- What the full testimony reveals, including Yovanovitch’s accounting of how she learned of the campaign to oust her and details around McKinley’s decision to resign from the State Department
- Why House Democrats chose to release the transcripts now
- How the release of the transcripts affects the timeline of the impeachment inquiry – and what to expect later this week
Indicted Giuliani pal willing to comply with impeachment inquiry, his lawyer says
A Rudy Giuliani associate who was indicted last month for making illegal campaign contributions is willing to provide documents and testimony to House impeachment investigators, his lawyer confirmed to NBC News.
Lev Parnas' lawyer Joseph A. Bondy said, "We will honor and not avoid the committee’s requests to the extent they are legally proper, while scrupulously protecting Mr. Parnas' privileges including that of the Fifth Amendment."
Parnas was originally asked to testify before Congress last month, a request he ignored. He was arrested at the airport on the day he was supposed to be deposed with a one-way ticket to Vienna.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
Dem Rep. says impeachment transcripts likely coming 'within the next five days'
Leading Democrats said Sunday that the public can soon expect the release of full transcripts of witness testimony in the House impeachment probe, as well as the launch of open, televised hearings.
"I think you're going to see all of the transcripts that are going to be released probably within the next five days," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., told CBS's "Face the Nation." "I don't know if they're all going to be released on the same day, but they're going to be very telling to the American people."
Friday's impeachment news roundup
In case you're just catching up on Friday's impeachment news, here's some of what you missed:
- A day after the House adopted procedures for the impeachment inquiry, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said President Donald is prepared to be impeached. Grisham also said Trump might hold a "fireside chat" in which he would read a transcript of the July 25 Trump-Ukraine call, and suggested the White House could cooperate with the inquiry "if things are actually open and transparent."
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she expects the House to begin public hearings this month — the most specific she has been about when lawmakers would have the chance to question witnesses in open session. Pelosi also made clear that Democrats have not yet decided whether they will actually impeach the president.
- Meanwhile, Trump is road-testing a new message on impeachment while the House lines up more witness depositions for next week.
Witness testimony and public hearings: What comes next?
Lawmakers draw battle lines over impeachment probeNov. 1, 201906:41
Grisham: 'We are prepared for impeachment to happen'
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News on Friday that President Donald Trump is prepared to be impeached by the House.
"I mean, we are still obviously hopeful that everybody will come to their senses and realize that the president did nothing wrong," Grisham said. "But we are prepared for an impeachment to happen, yes."
Grisham said when asked about Trump's feelings about the prospect that the president has expressed his thoughts on Twitter, adding that the impeachment inquiry "has been unjust and unfair."
"We released that transcript weeks ago for everybody to see," Grisham said, referring to the White House's detailed notes of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a central focus of the whistleblower complaint that gave rise to the inquiry. "There was no quid pro quo. The Ukrainian government themselves has said they felt absolutely no pressure. Aid was eventually released to the Ukraine. This all stemmed from the president being responsible and not wanting to release money to a country that was known for corruption."
Asked if Trump would hold a televised "fireside chat" and read a transcript of the phone call, as he told the Washington Examiner, Grisham said, "I don't know what the logistics of it would look like just yet," adding when pressed, "I don't have any timing there."
Grisham also suggested the White House might cooperate with the inquiry, but only if the process is transparent.
"If things are actually open and transparent, as purported, I would imagine that we would participate," Grisham said. "But again, if they're going to have different rules and move the goalposts all the time, then that's just not a fair process. In the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty. Right now, the president is being told he that he's guilty by the Democrats and we're having to prove innocence without knowing any information. That's not okay."
President Trump is out on the road testing a new message
Trump to rally base as impeachment inquiry enters new phaseNov. 1, 201906:14
Pelosi sheds a little more light on timeline for public hearings
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday that she expects the House to begin public hearings in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump this month.
“I would assume there would be public hearings in November,” she told reporters and editors during a roundtable held at Bloomberg News in New York.
This was the most specific Pelosi has been in terms of when lawmakers would have the chance to question witnesses in open session. Speaking in a separate interview Thursday on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Pelosi was vague and said that the public hearings would take place "soon."
In the interview with Bloomberg, Pelosi made clear that Democrats have not yet decided whether they will actually impeach the president. According to Bloomberg, she also didn't rule out the possibility that the inquiry would spill into 2020, a presidential election year.
“I don't know what the timetable will be — the truth will set us free,” she said. “We have not made any decisions on if the president will be impeached.”
Pelosi's remarks come a day after the House took an historic vote to reaffirm the ongoing inquiry and set guidelines and rules for the next steps in the investigation.
The House will be on recess next week but closed-door depositions are expected to continue with a number of additional witnesses scheduled to come in. Some witnesses, however, may not show up because of White House efforts to block their testimony.
Country is divided on impeachment, polling showsNov. 1, 201909:20
What's next in the Trump impeachment inquiry, Friday edition
There are no depositions scheduled today.
Looking ahead to next week, Monday could be busy. Four administration officials are scheduled for depositions, though it's not clear that they will all appear as requested. Those officials are:
- John Eisenberg, National Security Council legal adviser
- Michael Ellis, deputy National Security Council legal adviser
- Robert Blair, senior adviser to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney
- Brian McCormack, associate director for natural resources, energy and science in the Office of Management and Budget
Pelosi talks next steps in impeachment inquiry on ColbertNov. 1, 201901:43
Former White House aide testifies of Ukraine call concerns, possible quid pro quo
WASHINGTON — Former Trump administration official Tim Morrison told congressional investigators Thursday that he had been concerned the July 25 phone conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy would have a negative impact on both politics and policy if it were to become public, according to two sources familiar with his testimony.
The former top National Security Council adviser on Russia and Europe — who was on that call, and told investigators Thursday he thought there was "nothing illegal" about the conversation, including the president’s request that Ukraine open an investigation into former vice president and 2020 rival Joe Biden — said that he was aware that the discussion, if it were ever widely known, could spark political controversy in Washington and have an adverse effect on U.S.-Ukrainian relations, according to a review of his opening statement.
And he said his own conversation several weeks after the president's July 25 call with Sondland, a Trump backer, had given him reason to believe that the release of security assistance to Ukraine might be conditioned on a public statement from Ukraine that it was reopening the Burisma probe.
Rep. who missed vote voices his support
Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., who missed Thursday's vote on the impeachment procedures resolution while recuperating from surgery, said in a statement Thursday that he "strongly supports" the measure as a "necessary step" that will ensure transparency and due process.
"Our constituents deserve to hear the many ways the president has betrayed our country and put our national security at risk for his own gain," McEachin said in the statement. "With this vote, we are ensuring transparency, effective public hearings, and due process protections for the president or his counsel.
"While I deeply regret we have come to this, I stand with my colleagues in support of today’s resolution," he continued. "We must hold the president accountable for his misconduct — it is our Constitutional obligation. No one is above the law.”
Rep. Swalwell: Impeachment is a 'solemn responsibility'Oct. 31, 201902:16
Analysis: Nasty House floor fight sets baseline for Trump impeachment
WASHINGTON — For only the fourth time in its history, the House voted Thursday to initiate impeachment against a president of the United States.
As a technical matter, the resolution was a dry set of rules for the public phase of the investigation. But on a political level, the floor fight over it was nasty, brutish and relatively short — just over an hour — ending in a nearly perfectly party-line vote.
The contours of Thursday's debate, and the vote totals on each side, set a baseline from which the two parties will battle over the coming weeks. Democrats now know they still have work to do to force Republicans to cross the aisle by applying public pressure. Republicans, meanwhile, know that most politically vulnerable Democrats are unafraid of the consequences of pursuing impeachment.
2 Democratic defectors join GOP in voting against Trump impeachment resolution
Two Democratic congressmen on Thursday broke with their party to vote against the House resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, a move that ushers in a new and public phase of the investigation.
Here are the two Democrats who defected:
Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey
Van Drew, a freshman member who is up for reelection next year, has consistently opposed impeachment. "Let the people choose," he told NBC News Thursday ahead of his "no" vote. Afterward, he released a statement detailing why.
"Without bipartisan support I believe this inquiry will further divide the country tearing it apart at the seams and will ultimately fail in the Senate. However, now that the vote has taken place and we are moving forward I will be making a judgment call based on all the evidence presented by these investigations," he said. "My hope is that we are still able to get some work done to help the American people like infrastructure, veteran’s benefits, environmental protections, immigration reform, reducing prescription drug cost, and strengthening Social Security."
Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota
Peterson, described as a centrist, represents a rural district that Trump won in 2016 by 30 points — the most Trump-friendly district in the country that also elected a Democratic congressman.
After his "no" vote, Peterson said in a statement that the process "continues to be hopelessly partisan."
"I have some serious concerns with the way the closed-door depositions were run, and am skeptical that we will have a process that is open, transparent and fair. Without support from Senate Republicans, going down this path is a mistake," Peterson said. "Today's vote is both unnecessary, and widely misrepresented in the media and by Republicans as a vote on impeachment. I will not make a decision on impeachment until all the facts have been presented."
House Republicans make it clear they feel Trump has done nothing wrong
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talking to reporters at the GOP House leadership press conference, was asked by a reporter if he would say Trump has done nothing wrong.
“A very clear yes,” he responded. The cadre of House GOP leaders standing behind him yelled in affirmation as McCarthy responded.
Responding to a subsequent question, McCarthy claimed Republicans in Congress will vote on impeachment — if and when articles are formally introduced — "based on the facts."
"Show us the truth. We always vote based on the facts," he said.
Schiff: 'The Founders provided the remedy' for when a president abuses power
Speaking at a House Democrats press conference Thursday, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said the founding fathers "provided the remedy" for a president who "refuses to defend the Constitution" and pursues his or her own personal or political agenda.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Democrats are going to zero in on the substance of the allegations facing Trump regarding his conduct toward Ukraine.
Rep. Jim Jordan: Americans 'will not tolerate this'
Republican House leaders, speaking at their post-vote press conference, continued their criticism of House Democrats, accusing their rival party’s leaders of going against the wishes of the American people
“The American people see this for what it is,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said. “They will not tolerate this.”
Rep. Michael McCaul, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, claimed the Democrats’ procedural approach to the impeachment inquiry “defies historic precedent.”
Jordan on impeachment vote: American people 'will not tolerate this'Oct. 31, 201902:18
GOP House leaders rip Pelosi, Democrats over vote
House GOP leaders lambasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in their post-vote press conference.
Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., ripped Pelosi for being “infatuated with impeachment,” while Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the chair of the House Republican Conference, accused her of prioritizing the impeachment inquiry over working on other items.
There is a “long list” of “things not getting done here” because of the “Democrats obsessions with impeachment,” she said.
Special Report: House votes to pass impeachment resolutionOct. 31, 201905:16
Republicans might say she opted for 'trick'
Grassley says House resolution is 'a day late and a dollar short'
Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley said the House's impeachment resolution is "a day late and a dollar short."
"This entire process has been contaminated from the beginning and the Senate may have a difficult time taking seriously an impeachment founded on these bases," he said in a statement.
Here's his full statement:
"House Democrats announced the opening of impeachment proceedings more than a month ago. So far, this process has been defined by its secrecy, lack of due process and fundamental unfairness. This vote is an implicit admission by House Democrats of exactly that. It’s a day late and a dollar short.
"Democrats’ impeachment proceedings are rooted in animus, a lack of rights for the accused, no transparency and anger at the 2016 election results. Even with this long-overdue resolution, House Democrats are still denying House Republicans the unrestricted right to call their own witnesses, to rebut Democratic witnesses and to have the same right to subpoena witnesses that the Democrats have granted themselves. And the president’s counsel still doesn’t have the right to be present and ask questions of witnesses before the Intelligence Committee, which has been given the role the Judiciary Committee has played in the past. This all stands in stark contrast to previous impeachment proceedings.
"As a result, this will continue to be a purely partisan and political process – a continuation of Democrats’ impeachment obsession that began before President Trump was even inaugurated. This entire process has been contaminated from the beginning and the Senate may have a difficult time taking seriously an impeachment founded on these bases."
Chaos erupts after vote
Appearing to object to the vote on the resolution that had just concluded, Republicans began yelling “point of order," shouting over the Democrat who was presiding in protest of the resolution, whose rules they have strongly rejected. It was a brief chaotic scene on the House floor following a historic vote.
'Unfair, unconstitutional, and fundamentally un-American': White House blasts House resolution
The White House, in a scathing statement, called the House vote Thursday "unfair, unconstitutional and fundamentally un-American."
"The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said. "Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people. The Democrats are choosing every day to waste time on a sham impeachment — a blatantly partisan attempt to destroy the President."
White House issues statement against House vote on 'a sham impeachment'Oct. 31, 201901:54
The statement added that Democrats have "done nothing more than enshrine unacceptable violations of due process into House rules" and accused them of wanting "to render a verdict without giving the Administration a chance to mount a defense."
Trump put it more succinctly: "The Greatest Witch Hunt in American history!" he tweeted moments after the vote concluded.
House approves Trump impeachment procedures over GOP objections
The House passed a resolution on Thursday approving procedures for its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, opening a new and public phase of the investigation.
The vote, 232 to 196, was largely along party lines and Republicans objected, alleging that the Democratic inquiry is a farce that has been improperly conducted behind closed doors. House Democrats are now expected to begin holding public hearings in the next few weeks to present testimony against Trump.
Nancy Pelosi presided over the vote — a rare move for a speaker of the House.
Amash calls on GOP not to excuse Trump's 'misbehavior'
Details from the floor
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, an early supporter of impeachment, gave a side-hug to Pelosi as the House prepared to vote on the impeachment resolution. Pelosi had been mingling with other Democrats on the floor, including House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.
Also present in the gallery was a crowd of tourists watching the vote.
House conducting procedural vote. The vote on the resolution is next.
The House is currently conducting a procedural vote. It will last about 20 minutes and is not the vote on whether to adopt the impeachment resolution that sets up the public phase of the inquiry.
That vote will occur after this vote has concluded and will last about five minutes.
Trump lashes out as House inches toward impeachment resolution vote
McCarthy: Democrats using impeachment to 'undo last election' and 'influence the next one'
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in fiery remarks slammed his Democratic colleagues for using the impeachment inquiry to "attempt to undo the last election" and “influence the next one."
He said Congress was "abusing its power to discredit democracy" and was portraying "the president’s legitimate actions as an impeachable offense."
"Elections have consequences," McCarthy said. "Our fellow Americans used their vote to choose who will work for them."
"We’re one year away from an election," he said moments later. "Why do you not trust the people? Why do you not allow the people to have a voice?"
He ended by saying, "I guess it’s only fitting you take this vote on Halloween" — a line that prompted resounding applause from his Republican colleagues.
More Democrats than Republicans in the chamber
There are way more Democrats than Republicans in the chamber watching the debate ahead of the vote. Several Republicans are laughing, some in a mocking way.
White House working 'nonstop' to shore up GOP support in face of vote
The White House this morning is keyed in on the significant vote happening on the House floor — and aides believe four or five Democrats could cross party lines to vote with Republicans, according to an administration source.
Another White House aide says the administration has been working “nonstop” to shore up Republican support since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the vote: President Trump has met with more than 60 House Republicans face to face over the last two weeks and made numerous phone calls to Republicans, we’re told.
It was also the president who directed acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to meet with 30 Republican members at Camp David almost two weeks ago.
Pelosi defends resolution's rules, responding to GOP complaints they're not fair to Trump
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defended the rules in the impeachment resolution Thursday ahead of the floor vote on the measure, responding to GOP complaints that they're not fair to President Donald Trump and Republicans.
“These rules are fairer than anything that has gone before in terms of an impeachment proceeding,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference.
Pelosi spoke to reporters before the floor vote, which she is expected to preside over — a rare move for the House speaker.
Pelosi declined to answer any additional questions “about what the Republicans say” regarding the resolution. She began her comments by stating that "no one" comes to Congress planning to impeach a president.
But she blasted Trump for acting as if he can do whatever he wants, ignoring the Constitution.
“We will proceed with the facts, the truth,” she said about the impeachment inquiry. “This is a sad day.”
The Republicans who might vote for impeachmentOct. 31, 201902:37
Rep. Norma Torres brings her own graphic
Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., appeared next to a graphic of Trump that refers to his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which he asked Volodymyr for a "favor." That call is at the center of Democrats' impeachment efforts.
Nadler slams Trump, saying his actions 'represent a profound offense against the Constitution'
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., whose committee would oversee the creation of articles of impeachment, used his time to condemn the president and lay out the allegations being made against him.
It is “indefensible for any official to demand that an ally investigate his or her political adversaries,” Nadler said — a reference to the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
If the allegations against Trump are found to be true, he said, it “would represent a profound offense against the Constitution and the people of this country.”
Steve Scalise criticizes inquiry as 'Soviet-Style impeachment'
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., delivered a fierce criticism of the impeachment proceeding as he stood next to a graphic featuring an image of Moscow's Red Square and a hammer and sickle in an attempt to demonize Democrats' efforts as "Soviet-style."
The Squad claps back at Trump tweet
Pelosi to preside over vote
Speaker Pelosi is planning to preside over the House during the vote on the impeachment resolution, a senior Democratic leadership source tells NBC News. This is unusual for the speaker and shows the gravity of today’s vote. It will be worth watching if Pelosi votes today; typically, the speaker does not.
New York Rep. Joseph Morelle: 'Our only goal is uncovering the truth'
Rep. Joseph Morelle, D-N.Y., a member of the House Rules Committee, defended the inquiry in plain language.
"Our only goal is uncovering the truth," he said.
Rebutting Pelosi, McCaul says Constitution doesn't say 'you can do whatever you want to do'
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, offered the first Republican rebuttal to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arguing that “Article One” of the Constitution does not say “you can do whatever you want to do.”
He said that the process of the impeachment inquiry “denies basic fairness” to Republicans and to the American people and slammed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for having conducted a “secret probe outside his committee’s jurisdiction.”
Pelosi holds press conference before impeachment resolution vote
Pelosi speaks during impeachment resolution debate
Standing next to an image of the American flag, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the impeachment inquiry was "no cause for glee or comfort" and was instead occasion to be "solemn and prayerful."
She said the House had to "gather so much information to take us to this next step," a vote on a resolution setting rules for the impeachment inquiry. She then quoted Benjamin Franklin in saying it is Congress' responsibility to uphold the Constitution.
The U.S. is "a Republic, if we can keep it," Pelosi quoted Franklin as having said.
Rep. Adam Schiff: 'I did not take any pleasure' in leading impeachment inquiry
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who has been leading the investigation of the impeachment inquiry into Trump, said somberly that he “did not take any pleasure” in leading the process.
He defended his decisions to hold interviews in a private setting, saying that the “work has necessarily occurred behind closed doors because we have the task of finding the facts” despite efforts by several lawmakers and agencies, including the Justice Department “to obstruct.” He added that the resolution will lead the process into a more open chapter.
“This resolution sets the stage for the next phase of our investigation. One in which the American people will have the opportunity to hear from the witnesses first hand,” he said.
Republicans pivot to national security argument
Two top Republicans pivoted to a national security argument — that Democrats are leaving the nation vulnerable to attack — by allowing the Intelligence Committee to investigate the president.
“[T]hey will be held accountable by history for what they are doing,” House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said. “They have absolutely no right to talk about threats to this nation if they are diverting the full attention, resources and focus of the House Intelligence Committee onto a sham political process.”
Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on that panel, made a similar case. So, as Democrats argue that Trump is threatening the Constitution, expect to hear more about how Republicans believe investigating him imperils national security.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, speaking with flag behind him, prompts loud applause
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., with an imprint of the American flag sitting on an easel behind him, delivered an impassioned speech about the intent of the Founding Fathers and how the Constitution was designed to empower Congress in a situation like this one.
"They didn’t want a dictator, they didn’t want a monarch," he said.
Jeffries, the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, ended his remarks by bellowing, "No one is above the law," prompting a round of applause from his colleagues in the chamber.
One Democratic congressman has personal experience with impeachment
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., who spoke as fellow members of the House Rules Committee discussed Thursday's resolution, has personal experience with impeachment.
Hastings, who served as a federal judge decades ago, was actually impeached himself over a bribery and perjury scandal. In 1988, a Democratic-controlled House voted overwhelmingly to impeach Hastings, and the Senate moved to remove him the following year. Hastings became the sixth judge in U.S. history to be impeached and removed. He was then elected to Congress in 1992 and, six years later voted on President Bill Clinton's impeachment.
Hastings said Thursday that he was supporting the resolution because he "took an oath to defend the Constitution."
Angry Rep. Doug Collins: Judiciary Committee 'has been neutered'
In a fiery speech, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., a member of the House Rules, Judiciary and Oversight committees, yelling from his seat, said “the curtain is coming down on this House” and lamented today as a “dark day.”
He said the House Judiciary Committee, on which he is the ranking Republican, “has been neutered” and accused Democrats of “shredding procedures every day.”
“The resolution before us today is not about fairness, it’s about control,” he said.
Raskin, Jordan offer opposite views on how Democrats have conducted hearings
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a member of the Judiciary and Oversight committees, says during his remarks that Democrats have conducted their hearings in a "scrupulously bipartisan way" and says Trump will be afforded "all the due process" that his predecessors received.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee and a fierce Trump ally, was up next, excoriating his Democratic colleagues for the way in which they have held hearings.
"Trying to put a ribbon on a sham process doesn’t make it any less of a sham," he said.
Three more Democratic holdouts say they'll support rules resolution
Three more Democrats who have not backed the impeachment inquiry have said they will support Thursday's procedural resolution: Reps. Jared Golden, Kendra Horn and Anthony Brindisi.
That means there are only three Democrats who are not expected to vote in support of the resolution: Reps. Jeff Van Drew, Ron Kind and Collin Peterson.
Nunes calls Democrats a 'cult' that is following Schiff 'from one outlandish conspiracy theory to another'
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Thursday that impeaching Trump was the Democrats' plan "from day one" and that adoption of the rules resolution governing the impeachment inquiry simply "gives House approval" to Democrats' "bizarre obsession with overturning the results of the last presidential election."
On Trump's conduct toward Ukraine, Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Democrats simply "don't like the way" Trump "talks to foreign leaders," adding there was "no evidence to support impeachment."
Nunes then called House Democrats a "cult" that was "loyally following" House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., "as he bounces from one outlandish conspiracy theory to another."
Top Republican on Rules Committee wants resolution withdrawn
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the ranking Republican on the House Rules Committee, has asked for the resolution to be withdrawn.
The request was denied, prompting Cole to then request that the House debate the resolution for four hours — not the one hour that has been scheduled.
Doing so, Cole said, “would provide us an opportunity for all members to participate in the process.”
He then criticized the process by House Democrats that has led to today’s vote.
“It's not a fair process, not a transparent process,” he said.
McGovern speaks after introducing resolution
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., opened up floor debate on the resolution to solidify the procedures for the impeachment inquiry.
McGovern, the House Rules Committee chairman, introduced the resolution Thursday morning. Stressing "no one is above the law," McGovern said there is "serious evidence Trump might have violated the Constitution" with regard to his conduct toward Ukraine.
The resolution, he said, was about "transparency" and outlining "due process for the president."
He added that "some on the other side" would never be satisfied with the process, no matter what evidence was outlined.
Trump tweets: 'READ THE TRANSCRIPT'
As the House impeachment vote begins, Trump weighs in, urging followers to read the White House summary of his call with the Ukrainian president that is at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
House begins debate on impeachment resolution
The House began debating at approximately 9:25 a.m. on the impeachment resolution with Speaker Nancy Pelosi presiding in the chair. Debate is expected to last approximately an hour with the time being equally divided back and forth between Republicans and Democrats
Timing on the House impeachment vote today
The House is set to vote Thursday morning on how to proceed with its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump — a move that will put lawmakers on record about where they stand and that Republicans are decrying as a sham.
Debate on the procedures — which include beginning public hearings and the release of some of the information gathered in the ongoing inquiry over the last few weeks — is expected to begin around 9 a.m. ET.
All House Republicans are expected to oppose the resolution, as may a handful of Democrats who are not on board with the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats have set aside one hour for debate on the resolution — 30 minutes for Democrats, 30 minutes for Republicans. The vote on the resolution is slated to begin between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. ET., after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivers her weekly on-camera press conference around 10:15 a.m. ET. If it goes according to schedule, the vote could be completed before noon, but if the GOP minority makes use of parliamentary delaying tactics, the process could take a lot longer.
A few things to watch for tomorrow that could delay the vote timing slightly:
- During the debate time, if Speaker Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speak, they are allowed "magic minutes" which basically means their speeches don’t take away time from the hour debate. In that case, the hour-long debate could be extended slightly.
- Republicans, unhappy about taking this vote, could try to ask for some procedural votes during the debate period. If, for example, Republicans ask to adjourn, the House will have to stop debate, have all members come to the chamber and vote. After that call to adjourn fails (because Democrats are in control), the debate will pick back up again with whatever time was left.
Everything you need to know about impeachment
What is impeachment and how does it work? 10 facts to know.
Must the Senate hold a trial? How does Trump differ from Clinton? Can the president pardon himself? And much more.
Read the story from NBC's Pete Williams, Frank Thorp V and Alex Moe here.
House Dem says vote will be 'solemn and sober'Oct. 31, 201908:22
Poll: Battleground voters oppose removing Trump but support impeachment inquiry
A majority of voters across six battleground states oppose removing President Donald Trump from office, though a majority said they support the House impeachment inquiry, a New York Times/Siena poll on Thursday showed.
By 52 to 44 percent, voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin opposed impeaching and removing Trump. By that same 52 to 44 percent, voters in those states supported the inquiry.
The battleground poll was conducted from Oct. 13 to Oct. 26 and surveyed 3,766 registered voters across the six states. The margin of error was plus-or-minus 1.7 percentage points.
Trump impeachment inquiry update for Thursday
The House was also set to vote Thursday morning on how to proceed with its impeachment inquiry, putting lawmakers on record about where they stand and that Republicans are decrying as a sham.
Also, Timothy Morrison, the National Security Council's senior director for Europe and Russia, is due to be deposed in closed session. There are no plans for an opening statement. Morrison replaced Fiona Hill, who has testified that Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, oversaw a "shadow foreign policy" on Ukraine for the president's personal political gain while shutting out NSC staff and career diplomats.
At 4 p.m., Judge Richard Leon, a senior judge at the U.S. District court for the District of Columbia, hears a case filed on behalf of former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman, who asked a federal court to decide whether he would need to testify. The White House has tried to block his appearance, and Kupperman, who worked under national security adviser John Bolton, filed a lawsuit Friday asking a federal judge to rule on whether he must testify under a congressional subpoena.
The Inquiry: State department officials testify in impeachment probeOct. 30, 201911:44
Article II - With the Gavel Comes the Power - Wednesday, October 30th
Today on Article II, Steve Kornacki talks to Kelly O’Donnell, White House correspondent for NBC News, about the political calculations being made around the House resolution on impeachment.
The two discuss:
- Key takeaways from the resolution
- Why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is choosing to hold a vote on the process now
- Whether the vote will test Democratic unity on impeachment
- Republican criticism of the resolution
- What tomorrow’s vote means for next steps in the impeachment process
The episode also acknowledges testimony underway on Capitol Hill today and looks ahead to the rest of the week.
White House says it is 'false' that Vindman suggested filling in omissions
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham disputed claims that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman tried to edit a White House log of a July call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to include details that were omitted.
"President Trump released a full and accurate transcript of his call with President Zelenskiy so the American people could see he acted completely appropriately and did nothing wrong.
The media is reporting that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman claims he proposed filling in words that were missing in areas where ellipses were shown in the transcript — this is false.
Because Chairman Schiff has kept his sham hearings secret and has excluded the President’s counsel from the room, we cannot confirm whether or not Lt. Col. Vindman himself made any such false claim. What we can confirm is that he never suggested filling in any words at any points where ellipses appear in the transcript."
John Bolton invited to testify in House impeachment inquiry
Former national security adviser John Bolton has been invited to be interviewed next Thursday by House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
Bolton, whose name has emerged repeatedly during the testimony of other key figures being interviewed by the impeachment investigators, has been invited to testify behind closed doors Nov. 7, the sources said.
Bolton has not been issued a subpoena. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he would actually attend his scheduled deposition. If he does, however, he would be the most prominent figure yet to give testimony in the impeachment inquiry.
Meadows blasts impeachment resolution, talks questioning of key witness Vindman
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., blasted the House Democrats' impeachment resolution in remarks to reporters Wednesday.
“[I]t’s so late in the game... , credible witnesses have been poisoned by what has been reported and leaked out," Meadows said. "What Democrats have done is leaked out a narrative that has tainted some of the witnesses that have come.” He added that the resolution “affords us the same opportunities we have now, which is to beg [Intelligence] Chairman [Adam] Schiff for due process, and last time I checked, that doesn’t qualify as due process."
Meadows, a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, also discussed GOP lawmakers' line of questioning during the testimony of White House Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman on Tuesday, denying accusations that Republicans tried to draw out the whistleblower's identity.
“The majority jumped in to ask the witness not to answer the questions that would potentially be a great benefit to the president of the United States, and it has nothing to do with outing the whistleblower. That’s their narrative,” he said.
“In general terms, I can say we were asking the witness who else did the witness talk to in terms of specific items that are important to the investigation, and the witness indicated that there were more than one, and Chairman Schiff refused to allow those witnesses to be identified,” he said.
Asked if the whistleblower’s anonymity should be protected, Meadows said, “Well, not according to statue, he doesn’t. The reason you have a whistleblower statue is so that they can come forward and not be retaliated against. It’s the reason we have the law.”
State Dept.'s No. 2 pinpoints White House for blocking witness testimony
President Donald Trump's nominee for ambassador to Russia told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that the State Department's efforts to prevent witnesses from testifying in the House inquiry have been directed by the White House.
Asked by Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., about the administration's efforts to block witness testimony, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan replied, "I would say that the actions that the department has undertaken, led by the secretary, has been on the advice of counsel — not only State Department counsel, but White House counsel as well, and direction from the White House."
"Why is the department working to prevent employees from testifying before Congress?" Menendez asked.
"Well, we are, as has been laid out in an extensive letter from the counsel to the President," Sullivan replied. "The rationale is laid out there."
When Menendez asked if Sullivan was aware people outside the State Department had sought to undermine then-Amb. Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post in the spring, Sullivan replied, "I was."
"And did you know Mr. Giuliani was one of those people?" Menendez asked, referring to Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
"I believed he was, yes," Sullivan said.
Giuliani has been a central player in Trump's efforts regarding Ukraine. Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators earlier this month that Trump had personally pressured the State Department to remove her, even though Sullivan assured her that she had "done nothing wrong."
Vindman testimony draws direct line on quid pro quo
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Rep. Jordan: The whistleblower 'has a bias against the president'Oct. 30, 201901:33
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."
In Ukraine, leaders struggle to keep their heads down amid U.S. impeachment circus
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 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.
Rep. Jamie Raskin on the resolution outlining the path forward
What to expect from the impeachment hearingsOct. 30, 201905:31
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.
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.
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.
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.
Updated impeachment inquiry deposition schedule
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.”
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?"
'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.
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.”
'This is not normal': Sen. Manchin reacts to Vindman attacks
'This is not normal': Sen. Manchin reacts to Vindman attacksOct. 29, 201912:02
Why the Trump campaign’s viral merchandise is actually priceless
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.”
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.
Internal White House debate stifles release of Pence-Zelenskiy call
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.
Trump calls NSC expert and witness to phone call, Army Lt. Col. Vindman, a 'Never Trumper'
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.'"
White House NSC's top Ukraine expert expected to give evidence in closed-door testimony
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.”
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.
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.
The Inquiry: New reporting undercuts quid pro quo argumentOct. 28, 201912:42
House to vote on resolution laying out next steps in impeachment inquiry
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.”
White House told in May of Ukraine President Zelenskiy's concerns about Giuliani, Sondland
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.
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.
Mitt Romney emerges as standout Trump criticOct. 21, 201905:13
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.
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.
Justice Dept. appeals ruling to hand over Mueller grand jury evidenceOct. 28, 201901:38
Ex-Trump deputy national security adviser Kupperman a no-show for testimony
WASHINGTON — Former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman will not appear for a scheduled deposition Monday before three House congressional committees involved in leading the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, House Oversight Committee ranking member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Monday.
The White House is trying to block Kupperman's appearance, and the ex-deputy national security adviser filed a lawsuit Friday asking a federal judge to rule on whether he must testify under a congressional subpoena.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters it was "deeply regrettable" that Kupperman, a longtime associated of former national security adviser John Bolton, was a "no-show," adding, "He was compelled to appear with a lawful congressional subpoena. Witnesses like Dr. Kupperman need to do their duty and show up."
Kupperman's refusal to appear "may warrant a contempt proceeding against him," Schiff said.
Schiff: Kupperman's failure to appear could warrant contempt proceedingOct. 28, 201911:12
Biden talks Trump allegations, calls president 'an idiot' for Russia comments
Joe Biden said President Donald Trump has "no integrity" when he targets the former vice president's family on the campaign trail.
"I've never discussed my business or their business, my son's or daughter's. And I've never discussed them because they know where I have to do my job and that's it, and they have to make their own judgments," the 2020 candidate said in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday. "He's a grown man. And it turns out he did not do a single thing wrong, as everybody's investigated."
Biden also called Trump is “an idiot” for calling Russia’s election interference a “hoax,” and says it’s clear the president and the Russians are aligned in wanting to keep the former vice president from winning in 2020.
Joe Biden weighs in on impeachment, calling Trump an ‘idiot’Oct. 28, 201901:36
A Kupperman cliffhanger
It’s a congressional cliffhanger: Will former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman appear for his scheduled deposition today?
Kupperman, a longtime associate of former national security adviser John Bolton, has emerged as a key witness in the impeachment inquiry. House investigators believe he has firsthand knowledge of President Donald Trump's decisions regarding Ukraine. The White House is trying to block his appearance, and Kupperman filed a lawsuit Friday asking a federal judge to rule on whether he must testify.
The Democratic chairs of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry said in a letter to Kupperman’s attorney that the lawsuit was "lacking in legal merit" and warned that Kupperman’s “absence will constitute evidence that may be used against him in a contempt proceeding.”
Kupperman’s attorney responded late Saturday in a letter obtained by NBC News. It reads in part, “As stated in the complaint, it would not be appropriate for a private citizen like Dr. Kupperman to unilaterally resolve this momentous Constitutional dispute between the two political branches of our government. … The proper course for Dr. Kupperman, we respectfully submit, is to lay the conflicting positions before the court and abide by the court’s judgment as to which is correct.”
Kupperman’s attorney did not respond to our inquiries about whether his client will appear today.
John Kelly says he told Trump a 'yes man' would get him impeached
President Donald Trump is denying that his former chief of staff, John Kelly, ever warned him that he would be impeached if he hired a lackey to replace the former four-star general.
"John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that," Trump said in a statement after Kelly discussed his warning. "If he would have said that I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does."
Kelly said Saturday that before departing the White House he privately told Trump not to hire a "yes man." "I said, whatever you do, don't hire a 'yes man,' someone who won’t tell you the truth. Don’t do that. Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached," Kelly said at the conservative Washington Examiner Political Summit.
Kelly resigned in January and was replaced by Mick Mulvaney, an acting chief of staff whose tenure is clouded by news conference earlier this month in which his main talking points — that next year's Group of Seven summit would be hosted at Trump's Miami resort and that the president held up aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate a political rival — were essentially walked back.
Diplomat Phillip Reeker offers details on ouster of Amb. Yovanovitch
WASHINGTON — Career diplomat Phillip Reeker told congressional investigators behind closed doors what he knew about the ouster of Amb. Marie Yovanovitch, according to a source with direct knowledge of his testimony in the impeachment inquiry.
Yovanovitch, a well-respected expert on Ukraine, has said that she was fired by the direction of President Donald Trump at the recommendation of Rudy Giuliani.
Reeker told Congressional investigators that he and his colleagues in the European Bureau at the State Department attempted to put out a proactive statement in support of Amb. Marie “Masha” Yovanovich but they were told by Undersecretary David Hale to not issue it, according to a person familiar with his testimony.
Top diplomat testifies in rare Saturday session in impeachment inquiryOct. 26, 201901:54
Giuliani butt dial story inspires ridicule, envy on social media
Rudy Giuliani's role in Trump's effort to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden is serious business and could play a big role in the congressional impeachment inquiry against the president.
But that hasn't stopped journalists, pundits and observers from having a little fun — through a limerick and other jesting tweets — with Giuliani's latest predicament: his inadvertent voicemail messages left on an NBC News reporter's phone by what is colloquially known as a butt dial.
Others expressed jealousy over the call: "Butt dial me," one journalist wrote.
Impeachment hearings depict a quid pro quo that evolved over time
WASHINGTON — Grilled under oath for dozens of hours on Capitol Hill, at least three current and former U.S. officials have all made the same startling admission: A coveted White House visit for the new Ukrainian leader had been explicitly conditioned on his agreeing to investigations that could have helped President Donald Trump’s re-election.
And when Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, was asked point blank, under oath, whether that constituted a "quid pro quo," he did not dispute it, people with knowledge of his testimony said.
As impeachment proceedings march forward, a string of conflicting narratives from Trump, U.S. officials and the Ukrainians has centered on a different question: whether Trump ever overtly linked a freeze in military aid with his demand that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy investigate his political opponents — and when the Ukrainians learned of it. Trump and many Republicans argue that if the Ukrainians were in the dark, any allegation of wrongdoing by Trump falls apart.
Article II: Inside Impeachment — 'The Master Strategist'
On Friday's episode, Article II looks at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy on impeachment. Host Steve Kornacki talks to Frank Thorpe V, producer and off-air congressional reporter for NBC News, about the Senate resolution condemning the impeachment inquiry.
Download the episode here.
Republicans push for the whistleblower to testify in publicOct. 25, 201908:03
Friday's biggest impeachment-related news, so far ...
Friday has seen some major impeachment-related news. Here are some of the biggest stories so far:
- A federal court judge said a formal impeachment inquiry is underway and ordered the Justice Department to turn Mueller grand jury materials over to the House Judiciary Committee.
- The fact that Giuliani was reaching out to the NBC News reporter wasn’t remarkable, but the manner — a butt dial — was. In this faux pas and another, the president's lawyer was heard discussing the need for cash and trashing the Bidens.
- Lawyers for ex-national security adviser John Bolton — who is said to have wanted no part of the Ukraine affair — have been in contact with the House committees leading impeachment inquiry.
Judge says an impeachment inquiry is underway, orders Mueller grand jury docs released
A federal court judge on Friday ordered the Department of Justice to turn over grand jury material referenced in redacted portions of special counsel Robert Mueller's report to the House Judiciary Committee by Wednesday, Oct. 30.
"The Department of Justice claims that existing law bars disclosure to the Congress of grand jury information. DOJ is wrong," wrote Beryl Howell, the chief judge for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Howell also found that despite public protestations from the Trump administration that House Democrats have not actually launched a formal impeachment inquiry, one is underway.
Read the story here.
Katy Tur breaks down the latest developments in the impeachment inquiryOct. 25, 201901:32
Rudy Giuliani butt-dials NBC reporter, heard discussing need for cash and trashing Bidens
Late in the evening on Oct. 16, Rudy Giuliani made a phone call to this reporter.
The fact that Giuliani was reaching out wasn’t remarkable. He and the reporter had spoken earlier that night for a story about his ties to a fringe Iranian opposition group. But this call, it would soon become clear, wasn’t a typical case of a source following up with a reporter.
The call came in at 11:07 p.m. and went to voicemail; the reporter was asleep. The next morning, a message exactly three minutes long was sitting in his voicemail. In the recording, the words tumbling out of Giuliani’s mouth were not directed at the reporter. He was speaking to someone else, someone in the same room.
The call appeared to be one of the most unfortunate of faux pas: what is known, in casual parlance, as a butt dial. And it wasn’t the first time it had happened. ...
Oct. 16 accidental call: Giuliani talks business interest in BahrainOct. 25, 201900:53
Watchdogs at gov't agencies blast DOJ for not referring Ukraine whistleblower to Congress
WASHINGTON — Dozens of inspectors general across the federal government have signed a letter repudiating the Justice Department's legal opinion that the original complaint by a CIA whistleblower about President Donald Trump's conversation with Ukraine's president did not have to be turned over to Congress.
In a strongly worded statement written by the inspector general of the Justice Department, the inspectors general portrayed the opinion by the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel as dangerously wrong and severely damaging to whistleblower protections.
"The OLC opinion, if not withdrawn or modified, could seriously undermine the critical role whistleblowers play in coming forward to report waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct across the federal government," the independent watchdogs said.
Bolton lawyers in contact with House Committees on possible depositionOct. 25, 201908:46
Trump dismisses need for impeachment advisers: 'I'm the team'
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday dismissed the need for additional help in countering Democrats' impeachment efforts despite pleas from outside advisers for a more coordinated response coming from the White House.
In a comments reminiscent of his "I alone can fix it" declaration during his Inauguration, Trump told reporters gathered on the White House South Law that he will be the one leading the fight when it comes to responding to impeachment.
"Here's the thing. I don't have teams, everyone's talking about teams," Trump said. "I'm the team. I did nothing wrong."
Analysis: Republicans' absurd complaints about impeachment inquiry access are historically ignorant
Republican criticism of the ongoing impeachment inquiry process for deposing witnesses in closed-door sessions is absurd — and that was before they held a news conference Wednesday and stormed a secure hearing room, interrupting the testimony of a Pentagon official.
The GOP has cited two alleged shortcomings in the inquiry procedure: Members of Congress who do not serve on the three committees hearing testimony are barred from attending; and the depositions are not being held in a public session.
Both criticisms are baseless, because members of Congress today have a much greater role in obtaining evidence than the Judiciary Committee members had in the Nixon impeachment inquiry in 1974, and the chairman has said that the testimony will, indeed, be heard in public during the investigatory process.
Read former House Judiciary Committee counsel Michael Conway's full analysis here.
Warner calls for Barr to come before Congress over DOJ's probe into Russia investigation
Deputy national security adviser's testimony to bring inquiry within Bolton's orbit
As NBC News has reported, House investigators would like to interview former national security adviser John Bolton as part of their impeachment inquiry. Next week’s scheduled interview with former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman, brings the inquiry closer into Bolton’s orbit.
Scheduled testimony from Tim Morrison, senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, provides House investigators with direct insight from someone who typically would have listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — a central focus of the whistleblower complaint that led to the inquiry.
Multiple lawmakers tell NBC News that House investigators thought it necessary to interview Morrison after top diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor referenced him multiple times during his closed-door session last week.
Here's the updated depositions schedule:
- Due to services honoring the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., no depositions will be held Friday.
- Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, is expected to give a private deposition on Saturday.
- Kupperman is expected to appear in closed session Monday.
- Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director for European affairs at the National Security Council, is expected to appear Tuesday.
- Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, is expected to appear Wednesday.
- Morrison is expected to appear Thursday.
New poll: Americans split down party lines on impeachment
Americans are evenly divided on whether President Donald Trump should be impeached. Forty-nine percent think he should be impeached and removed from office and 49 percent are against it, according to results from a new NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll.
Voters are sharply divided along party lines. Nine in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are against impeachment and 89 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners are in favor of impeachment. Independents who don’t lean toward either party are more split with a 53 percent majority saying Trump should be impeached and 44 percent saying he should not.
American voters divided on impeachment, polling showsOct. 25, 201908:14
John Bolton's lawyers have been in contact with House committees leading inquiry
Former national security adviser John Bolton's lawyers have been in contact with officials on the committees leading the impeachment inquiry, a person close to Bolton has confirmed to NBC News.
Investigators in the inquiry have negotiated with a Bolton lawyer about a date for a closed-door deposition, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing two people briefed on the matter.
Bolton wanted no part of the President Donald Trump's alleged attempts to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate what has been described as a conspiracy theory about interference in the 2016 election, as well as into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, NBC News has reported.
Bolton told top White House official Fiona Hill to report the situation to the top lawyer at the National Security Council, John Eisenberg, according to the person in the room for Hill’s closed-door testimony last week.
Thursday's biggest impeachment-related news
If you're just catching up on the news, here are some of the biggest impeachment-related stories on Thursday you may have missed:
- Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a resolution backed by more than 40 GOP senators excoriating House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, accusing Democrats of violating due process for interviewing key witnesses behind closed doors.
- A probe by Attorney General William Barr into the origins of the Russia investigation has changed from an administrative review into a criminal investigation, a person familiar with the review confirmed to NBC News.
- One stunning moment during a top diplomat's testimony this week may prove pivotal to the congressional impeachment inquiry and even led to gasps in the room, according to one source who was present.