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

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

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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

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Live Blog

McConnell says Trump impeachment trial 'would not lead to a removal' if held today

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw cold water on the impeachment process Tuesday, telling reporters that if a hypothetical Senate trial were held today, the upper chamber would not vote to convict President Donald Trump.

"I will say, I'm pretty sure how it's likely to end: If it were today I don't think there's any question it would not lead to a removal," the Kentucky Republican said. "So the question is how long does the Senate want to take? How long do the presidential candidates want to be here on the floor of the Senate instead of in Iowa and New Hampshire?" (Six senators, who would serve as jurors, are running in the Democratic presidential primary.)

"And all of these other related issues that may be going on at the same time, it's very difficult to ascertain how long this takes," McConnell added. "I'd be surprised if it didn't end the way the two previous ones did with the president not being removed from office."

The Inquiry: Sondland confirms quid pro quo in testimony

White House reaction to Sondland, Volker transcripts

From White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham:

"Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought.  Ambassador Sondland squarely states that he 'did not know, (and still does not know) when, why or by whom the aid was suspended.' He also said he 'presumed' there was a link to the aid—but cannot identify any solid source for that assumption. By contrast, Volker’s testimony confirms there could not have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians did not know about the military aid hold at the time. No amount of salacious media-biased headlines, which are clearly designed to influence the narrative, change the fact that the President has done nothing wrong."

Meadows brushes off Sondland testimony

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, one of Trump's most vocal Republican supporters in the House, brushed off concerns about Sondland's testimony.

"It’s interesting that from your vantage point you’re wanting to focus on Ambassador Sondland instead of on Volker, who was the Ukrainian envoy who actually talked to the Ukrainians who actually had the responsibility when you talk to him," he said.

Sondland changes testimony, acknowledges delivering quid pro quo message to Ukraine

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told House impeachment investigators this week that he now remembers telling a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Ukraine would not receive U.S. military assistance until it committed to investigating the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a person with knowledge of Sondland's testimony.

Sondland's latest testimony represents an update to depositions he gave in October to the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Sondland said that by the beginning of September, he “presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement.”

Sondland also said he now remembered a Sept. 1 conversation with Andriy Yermak, a top Zelenskiy adviser, in Warsaw in which he told Yermak that “the resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.”

Read the full story here.

Impeachment investigators seek testimony from Mulvaney

House impeachment investigators want to depose acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday, Nov. 8.

In a letter sent to Mulvaney Tuesday requesting his testimony, the three committee chairmen wrote that they believe he has "substantial first-hand knowledge and information relevant to the House’s impeachment inquiry."

"Specifically, the investigation has revealed that you may have been directly involved in an effort orchestrated by President Trump, his personal agent, Rudolph Giuliani, and others to withhold a coveted White House meeting and nearly $400 million in security assistance in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue investigations that would benefit President Trump’s personal political interests, and jeopardized our national security in attempting to do so," the chairmen continued. 

The White House previously made it clear it does not intend to comply with the inquiry.

 

GOP senators disagree with Rand Paul's call for outing whistleblower

Some of Sen. Rand Paul's Republican colleagues say they disagree with his call for the media to reveal the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the House impeachment inquiry.

“I believe in personal privacy, particularly as it relates to a whistleblower, and think that would be most unfortunate,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters Tuesday when asked about the Kentucky Republican's remarks.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also said she disagreed with Paul's comments.

“Whistleblowers are entitled to protection under the law," Collins said. "The intelligence community whistleblowers play a very important role, and to try to reveal the name of this individual to me is contrary to the intent of the whistleblower law.

“Now, I do think the whistleblowers should be answering questions, and it’s my understanding that he has agreed to do so if they’re submitted to him even by Republican members, and I would say especially by Republican members," Collins continued, adding, "If there’s information about him that casts doubt over the veracity of what he’s saying, that’s fair game, but I do not support revealing his identity.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said that while he understands why his Republican colleagues are suspicious of the secrecy surrounding the House Democrats' handling of the inquiry, "I think the whistleblower statute is there for a reason, and I think we need to respect the law where whistleblowers are concerned."

"But I just think part of it is the atmosphere around this that the Democrats in the House have created just makes all of this very suspect because of the secrecy of it, and I think the more transparent the process is the better off everyone is," Thune added. "And that’s why ... some of our colleagues are saying the whistleblower, we need to be more transparent, need more information, and a person ought to be able to face his accusers."

Paul called for the media to out the whistleblower in an appearance at President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Lexington, Kentucky, on Monday night, saying, "I say tonight to the media, do your job and print his name."

Whistleblower Protections Caucus co-chairs denounce effort to unmask whistleblower

After Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called on the media and fellow members of Congress to reveal the whistleblower’s name at Monday night's Trump rally, NBC News reached out to the co-chairs of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus for their reaction.

Sen. Wyden (D-Ore.) told NBC News on Tuesday, "I’m co-chair of the Whistleblower Caucus and I believe publicly outing a whistleblower will forever keep others from speaking truth to power. If you are serious about protecting whistleblowers you must do it regardless of who is president."

A spokesman for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says the senator "didn’t watch the rally," adding that Grassley’s comments yesterday before the rally "pretty much covered it."

Grassley had told reporters earlier on Monday that it’s "strictly up to the whistleblower" to decide whether or not to come forward.